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Herve Villechaize

Herve Villechaize, the diminutive actor whose shout, “The plane! The plane!” opened the ABC series “Fantasy Island,” committed suicide Sept. 4. He was 50.

Villechaize, who left a note saying he was despondent over longtime health problems, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, his publicist David Brokaw said.

Villechaize’s common-law wife, Kathy Self, discovered the actor at their North Hollywood home shortly after the shooting. “She called 911 but unfortunately he was DOA at (North Hollywood Medical Center),” Brokaw said.

Villechaize left a note and a taped message to Self that said he was “basically despondent over his ongoing medical difficulties.”

The 3-foot-11-inch Villechaize played Tattoo, the comical sidekick to Ricardo Montalban’s Mr. Rourke on “Fantasy Island,” which ran from 1978 through 1984.

The actor also appeared in the 1974 James Bond film, “The Man With the Golden Gun,” and more recently made appearances on “The Ben Stiller Show” and “The Larry Sanders Show.”

Montalban said through Brokaw that he was “absolutely shocked” to learn of Villechaize’s death. “I considered his contribution to ‘Fantasy Island’ as one of the keys to the tremendous success that the show enjoyed,” Montalban said.

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