Local actor and musician Mark Gregg will be missed tomorrow at the San Diego Film Festival's area premiere of The Pacific and Eddy, his feature-length acting debut. Instead he will be remembered in a gathering at the Westin Horton Plaza prior to the Pacific Gaslamp's screening of the locally shot film.
The L.A. Times "Homicide Report" blog says Gregg "was shot by Los Angeles Police officers in front of 1452 N. Martel Avenue in Hollywood at about 1:35 a.m. July 24 , and died at 1:55 a.m." They were responding to Gregg's attack on a roommate at the rental; the unidentified victim, who survived, later commented on the blog that Gregg "broke the knife in me after he stabbed me several times." After the cops and paramedics arrived to treat the victim, Gregg emerged "and headed towards the police presumably with a new, clean knife (which I could not see)," noted the victim. Other witnesses said he was unarmed, but the Times reported that Gregg "ignored orders to drop the butcher knife, and instead raised it, police said," whereupon two officers opened fire. Gregg, who grew up in Solana Beach, would've turned 26 two days ago.
"If he had a beat, he could rap forever," said Isaac Shedd by phone from the Bay Area. Shedd was Gregg's roommate for two years at the North Carolina School of the Arts. "I have some amazing videotapes of him rapping for two hours. And he always had this friggin' saxophone he'd get out and play. And piano... He knew where a piano was within five blocks of anywhere he lived, and he would find a way to go play, all original stuff -- a natural."
Matt Nourse, who remembered Gregg's drama chops from their late-'90s days at Torrey Pines High School, cast him in the film. (The film is Nourse's directorial debut.) Nourse recalls Gregg's enthusiasm for local music -- he was a huge Three Mile Pilot fan -- and noted how much Gregg came to love the music of Nikki Sudden, the underground English indie-glam-rock icon who plays the role of Silhouette in the movie.
"[Mark and Nikki were] both drifter types in the best sense of the expression. Neither of them seemed to worry much about the things that most of us stress out about."
Via e-mail, Gregg's father emphasized his son's trait of having "compassion for the disabled, homeless, and socially isolated."
On the MySpace page Gregg's sister has set up (www.myspace.com/markgreggmemorial), friends and family offer more recollections. Torrey Pines High drama teacher Marinee Payne recalled Gregg as "the perfect Hamlet." Gregg's mother quotes from Hamlet Act 5, Scene 1, in her epitaph on the MySpace page under the lone blog entry "A noble heart": " 'And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.' Love, Mom"...