Tragic Things You Never Knew About Euphoria Star Angus Cloud

Angus Cloud was a once-in-a-generation talent. The 25-year-old was plucked off the street by a "Euphoria" casting agent based purely on his look and vibe. Though he had no prior acting experience, Cloud proved to be a one-in-a-million star with his effortless charm, hypnotic drawl, and spellbinding performance as Fezco ("Fez"), a reluctant high school drug dealer with unforeseen depth. His streetside encounter with an agent for the hit show was so unexpected, Cloud almost ignored the opportunity to read for a part in the series. "I was confused and I didn't want to give her my phone number," he told GQ in 2019. "I thought it was a scam."

What that agent saw in Cloud during their brief interaction proved to be every bit as incredible as she intuitively felt. He showed up on set with no clue about how to act, but with a willingness to follow instructions and pour his laidback energy into a role seemingly destined for him. Cloud stole every scene he was in and brought pure magic to the screen among veteran actors and up-and-coming stars groomed for Hollywood careers since childhood. The world fell in love with his underdog character and his goofy, relaxed energy and friendly demeanor in real life, making his July 2023 death devastating. Cloud was known to struggle with his mental health, especially after being thrust into fame, and his meteoric rise ended up being just as tragic as it was extraordinary.

Acting was taxing on his mental health

Acting is a mentally and emotionally demanding line of work, especially for a drama like "Euphoria," and delivering his moving performance as Fezco was taxing on Angus Cloud's mental health. His approach to bringing Fezco to life was a lot more straightforward than some of his castmates, a few of which he said would write journal entries from the perspective of their character to fully immerse themselves in their role. "I was like, whoa, that is some extra sh*t, but it's actually the basic sh*t [that's draining]," he told GQ.

"[Acting is] a different kind of hard," Cloud explained. "I am not running around sweating, but it's that mental sh*t. You have to stay focused. You have to be on point. You can't call in sick. Acting takes a lot out of you." The actor added: "I'd be drained, but I was just sitting there acting." 

In an interview with Variety, Jennifer Venditti, the casting director for "Euphoria," spoke about how dialed in Cloud was even when he didn't have any dialogue in a scene. "He had this incredible ability for active listening," she said. "One of the scenes that he auditioned for was a big monologue that Rue [Zendaya] had. There was a lot of time where the camera was just on his face listening, and there was so much subtext there, just in his face. You could just watch him listen forever; it jumped off the screen." 

He felt pressured to exceed expectations

Recalling his flight to Los Angeles to begin shooting the show, Angus Cloud remembered feeling anxious about delivering up to expectations. He was just a normal guy with no acting experience whatsoever, and he was about to go work with Hollywood legends like Eric Dane and generational talents like Zendaya. That's an unimaginable amount of pressure to be under, and Cloud admitted he experienced imposter syndrome when filming his first scene alongside Zendaya.

"I was trying to look normal and relaxed and chill," he told GQ, but his inner dialogue was anything but. "I'm like, 'I don't know what I am doing. Why did they bring me over here for this? They should have gotten a real actor for this job,'" Cloud shared.

In an interview with Variety, he expounded on the imposter syndrome he felt not just on the set of "Euphoria" but also while shooting his first movie, "The Line." Of his portrayal of a frat bro sans his signature drawl, Cloud said: "I hope I did a good job. I ain't tryna be like no one-trick pony. But if I did sh*t, then it is what it is." He explained: "I don't know how to act. I just do it. I'm in rooms with people that have been acting their whole life, and I'm like, 'Why am I here?' I got impostor-type sh*t."

He was frustrated by people comparing him to his Euphoria character, Fezco

Because he's so widely known for his happenstance casting and how the agent was drawn to him based on nothing more than his look and energy, people often assume Angus Cloud's persona as Fezco reflected his real-life personality. While he was the first to own how the opportunity fell in his lap — "I got hit by a meteor. I got blessed with the superpower of being lucky. Then some lady said 'Go on TV,'" Cloud said during a conversation with Interview — the actor also put a lot of thought and energy into bringing his character, Fez, to life.

Cloud told Variety: "It does bother me when people are like, 'It must be so easy! You get to go in and be yourself.' I'm like, 'Why don't you go and do that?' It's not that simple." He asserted: "I brought a lot to the character. You can believe what you want. It ain't got nothing to do with me."

Euphoria casting director Jennifer Venditti also expressed frustration about Cloud's often minimized performance. She told the outlet: "People just think, 'Oh, he just shows up. He's just this lazy stoner.' Like, no." She explained: "I've been doing this for a while, in terms of working with non-actors, and a lot of people can't do it. It's not just showing up and being yourself on camera." Venditti warmly added: "I'm really proud of him. Angus doesn't get enough credit."

Being recognized as 'famous' was difficult for him

Considering how he went from being a normal guy working at a restaurant in New York City to skyrocketing to fame as one of the most beloved characters in one of this generation's most popular, celebrated television shows, it's easy to understand why Angus Cloud felt uncomfortable with his overnight celebrity status. He told Interview the "biggest mindf**k" of being a Hollywood actor was "people knowing me and recognizing who I am." Cloud admitted: "That sh*t f**ks with my mind for sure. I'd rather people didn't recognize me." He added: "I'm not mad at them because they do, but I'd rather they didn't. I just want to have regular interactions with people. I don't want to be treated special."

Sharing his own perspective, Cloud said: "I prefer to meet somebody who was famous and not know who the f**k they were, and just have a regular interaction with them and then maybe I'll figure out, 'Oh man, they're in a movie? That's cool.'"

As a teenager, he suffered a traumatic brain injury

In 2013, Angus Cloud suffered a traumatic head injury that left him with minor brain damage and a long, arcing scar over the left side of his skull. He told Variety that he and some friends were wandering around downtown Oakland, and he separated from the group after it had gotten dark. Walking along a street, Cloud fell into a construction pit that he hadn't seen in the darkness of night. He recalled: "I woke up 12 hours later at the bottom. I was trapped."

Cloud continued: "I eventually climbed out after — I don't know how long. It was hella hard to climb out, because my skull was broken, but my skin wasn't, so all the bleeding was internal, pressing up against my brain. But they wasn't gonna find me down there." He poetically added: "I found myself. Or God found me, whatever you want to call it."

After digging himself out of the 10-foot-deep hole with broken fingers, Cloud said he didn't feel pain but his vision was blurry. He tried to tell his mom what had happened but couldn't form a full sentence, and after he threw up blood when she gave him a glass of water, they headed to the hospital. "That's what the scar's from," Cloud told the outlet. "They cut my head open, they put some screws and a plate over where I broke my skull and — sh*t, sealed me back up, and that was that."

He struggled to cope with the loss of his father

Angus Cloud's tragic death on July 31, 2023, came a week after his father's funeral. "It is with the heaviest heart that we had to say goodbye to an incredible human today," a statement released by the 25-year-old's family read (via The Washington Post). "As an artist, a friend, a brother and a son, Angus was special to all of us in so many ways." The devastating announcement continued: "Last week he buried his father and intensely struggled with this loss. The only comfort we have is knowing Angus is now reunited with his dad, who was his best friend." 

The actor was reportedly in Ireland for his father's memorial service the week before his tragic death (via People). Cloud honored his dad on Instagram with a tribute post on July 11 simply captioned: "miss u breh." The short line accompanied a photo of his dad in an all-red sweatsuit, shooting a smile at the camera.

He battled depression and addiction

In a brief statement shared with ABC News following Angus Cloud's death, "Euphoria" creator and director Sam Levinson revealed the young actor battled addiction and depression. "There was no one quite like Angus. He was too special, too talented and way too young to leave us so soon," Levinson eulogized. The statement continued: "He also struggled, like many of us, with addiction and depression. I hope he knew how many hearts he touched. I loved him. I always will. Rest in [peace] and God Bless his family."

Levinson's mention of Cloud's struggle with addiction and depression echoes part of the statement released by his family following his death. "Angus was open about his battle with mental health and we hope that his passing can be a reminder to others that they are not alone and should not fight this on their own in silence," the statement read (via The Washington Post).

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.