Jerry Edward Messing, the Freaks and Geeks actor best known from the treasured “Fedora Guy” Internet meme, is reportedly fighting for his life on a ventilator after contracting Covid-19.
According to TMZ, the actor, who lives with his parents in Tampa, Fl., started feeling sick a couple of days ago, which transitioned into having shortness of breath. When Jerry was really struggling to breathe just a day later, his father James noticed that his oxygen levels were dangerously low.
On Monday night, Jerry Edward Messing and his family were transported to the hospital in an ambulance, where he was connected to a ventilator after testing positive for Covid-19.
Jerry’s father James told TMZ that both Jerry and his mother received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and were in the process of waiting before they could get the second. James tested negative after arriving at the hospital, but Jerry’s mother’s results still remain pending.
Paul Freig, creator of the show Freaks and Geeks, sent his support for Jerry Edward Messing on Twitter, writing, “Sending all my love and positive energy to Jerry Messing, a wonderful talented guy.”
“He was such an important part of Freaks & Geeks in his role as the always upbeat Gordon Crisp,” Freig wrote. “Here’s to a full recovery, my friend.”
Along with his appearance on Freaks and Geeks as the character “Gordon Crisp,” Jerry Edward Messing has starred as “Pugsley Addams” in the Addams Family Reunion film, “William Van Landingham III” on Mr. Show with Bob and David, and Artie Ryan on a couple episodes of Disney Channel’s Even Stevens.
As “Gordon Crisp,” James Edward Messing was most famous for his line, “I love love love it!” He played a sort of tragic high schooler, who was always just a little too odd to want to have around. Some of his other big moments on the show included funny bits of teaching the main characters how to get girls.
In 2013, however, a decade after his last prominent acting role, a photo of Jerry appeared on Reddit featuring the child star wearing a fedora hat and smiling at the camera. An outtake from a photo shoot the actor once took part in as a tribute to the Blues Brothers, the photo went viral as Jerry was re-dubbed the “Fedora Guy.”
“There was extra film left in the roll so I decided to do that one for the fun of it,” Jerry later told BuzzFeed. “I’m certainly not thrilled with the communities the photo has come to represent, but it isn’t something I can really do anything about so I don’t let it bother me.”
At the time, Jerry was attending Florida International University to study psychology, and got those headshots just in case he ever wanted to re-enter acting.
Despite his face becoming associated with most of the “toxic” places on the internet, such as men’s rights activist forums, 4chan, and those mocking his neck beard or weight, Jerry’s lack of a life online largely kept him out of seeing it everyday.
“For me, internet use has been 80% gaming use and 20% socializing on a personal basis with long-distance friends,” Jerry explained, so he didn’t really know that his old photo has been turned into the “Fedora Guy” meme until a year after its wide circulation.
From there, Jerry found out that his photo was being used as social media avatars, plastered with text of “nice guy” on huge posters, and even masterfully rendered with sauce and cheese onto a pizza.
At this time, visitors and fans aren’t allowed to see Jerry as he battles the virus.