Ben Woolf, an SBCC graduate well known throughout Santa Barbara and more recently across the country for his role in the latest season of American Horror Story, died Monday at age 34. He succumbed to injuries he sustained the previous Thursday when an SUV’s side mirror clipped him as he jaywalked across a Hollywood street.
Woolf studied early childhood development at City College and was a preschool teacher when he wasn’t acting in films and TV shows. He recently played Meep, a dwarf who only speaks one word, on American Horror Story: Freak Show.
Diagnosed with pituitary dwarfism, Woolf stood 4’4″ tall and weighed 65 pounds. He spoke openly about difficulties he experienced as a child and as an adult of feeling alienated in image-conscious Los Angeles.
CNN obtained a family statement about Woolf’s death, which reads: “We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from all over the world for our beloved Ben. He touched so many hearts in his 34 years. His memory will live on within each of us and within his work.”
American Horror Story co-creator Ryan Murphy called Woolf “one of the most inspirational people I’ve ever met.” A number of his cast members have taken to Twitter to express their sadness, leaving messages like “Rest in peace Ben Woolf. There never was a sweeter guy. You will be missed.” and “God broke our hearts to prove to us, He only takes the best. Rest in peace little angel. #RIPBenWoolf”
When the Freak Show season began last year, FX interviewed a number of its actors. In his segment, Woolf talks about his struggles with dwarfism and his passion for teaching. “We’re all freaks in our own way,” he says. Watch the clip below.