Buddy Duress, Robert Pattinson’s Co-Star in “Good Times”,“ ”Dead at 38 (Exclusive)

The late actor died in November 2023 due to “cardiac arrest from a drug cocktail,” his brother told PEOPLE exclusively

<p>Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage</p> Buddy Duress attends "Good Time" New York Premiere at SVA Theater on August 8, 2017

Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage

Buddy Duress attends "Good Time" New York Premiere at SVA Theater on August 8, 2017

Buddy Duress (né Michael C. Stathis), the actor known for his roles in Good Times and Heaven Knows What, has died. He was 38.

Duress died of “cardiac arrest from a drug cocktail” in November 2023, his brother Christopher Stathis confirmed exclusively with PEOPLE on Tuesday.

Born in Queens, New York, in May 1985. Duress starred in two of the Safdie Brothers’ indie films. His first acting role was in Benny and Josh Safdie's 2014 feature Heaven Knows What.

In a 2017 SSense interview, Duress shared he first met Josh in 2013 after his release from Rikers Island in New York City for drug charges. At the time, Duress was on the run after skipping out on a drug in-patient program. Duress met Josh through a mutual friend and landed the role in Heaven Knows What, but was eventually caught by police. He was then taken back to Rikers Island after the movie was completed and remained in prison when the film premiered at the New York Film Festival in 2014.

"You know, I still look back at it. If I had went to that program, I wouldn’t have been in Heaven Knows What, and I probably wouldn’t be an actor right now. That’s the honest truth. I wouldn’t," Duress told SSense.

Once he was released again, the filmmakers enlisted Duress to write a journal about his time in the prison, and they adapted his stories into their script for Good Time, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Three years after Heaven Knows What, he starred opposite Robert Pattinson in Good Time.

<p>Flinch</p> Buddy Duress in "Flinch"


Buddy Duress in "Flinch"

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After his role in Good Time, Duress starred in several more feature and short films, including 86’d, The Mountain and The Great Darkened Days. Then, in 2019, he was arrested on charges of grand larceny in the third degree and taken back to Rikers, reported the New York Post.

While filming Flinch that same year, Duress was arrested for threatening to burn his mother Jo-Anne’s house down. Shortly after Flinch director Cameron Van Hoy and Jo-Anne bailed out Duress, he was arrested and taken back to Rikers for charges of menacing and criminal possession of brass knuckles and a controlled substance, reported the New York Post.

"Buddy was pure electricity on screen. Working with him was one of the great adventures of my life. He was a kind person who loved making films. Despite any troubles he was going through in life he somehow managed to put them aside when it came time to work. We grew quite close after the production of our film Flinch. I’m heartbroken that his life came to an end as it did,” Van Hoy tells PEOPLE.

Following the 2021 release of Flinch, Duress was also in the short film Alone, as well as feature Funny Pages, and appeared in an episode of The New Rich Family Grudge.

<p>Flinch</p> Buddy Duress in "Flinch."


Buddy Duress in "Flinch."

Related: Paying Tribute to the Celebrities Who Died in 2023

Duress has two more unreleased projects, including a short, Skull, and feature Mass State Lottery directed by Jay Karales. The latter will be released this year.

“Buddy Duress was a once in a lifetime charismatic actor and a genuinely humble man that left an impression on everyone he met. I was extremely fortunate to be able to direct him and get to know him off-set during our time shooting Mass State Lottery," Karales tells PEOPLE.

"What happened is a tragic and frustrating loss of visceral talent. He lived like a cowboy and carrying the weight of that kind of life informed his skills and performances in a way that made him irreplaceable as an actor. He has unfortunately become the John Cazale of our generation," Karales added.

Duress is survived by his mother, Jo-Anne and younger brother, Christopher.

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