"He will be deeply missed by all the lives he has touched."
An unexpected illness has led to the passing of actor, Mark York, at the age of 55. Best known for playing the role of Billy Merchant in The Office, York passed away in the morning on May 19 at the Miami Valley Hospital in Ohio, according to Variety. York was always a fan of the TV and film industry and went on to pursue different acting opportunities, which allowed him to grace several TV shows and films with his onscreen presence. His acting repertoire includes characters on shows like CSI: NY and 8 Simple Rules, as well as roles in films like Artificial Intelligence and Going All the Way, according to his website.
"Even though he has been paraplegic since, 1988, he had such an outgoing, uplifting, positive attitude and personality," said his obituary on Kreitzer Funeral Home's website. "He always tried to look at what he could accomplish and do, not what he couldn’t do. He had experienced many travel opportunities and many dreams for the future. In the past several years, he had been working as an inventor, and had obtained two patents for his inventions."
For York, the life-changing accident that left him paraplegic was like a "new lease on life," according to his website. Following the accident, he went on to receive a triple major in Psychology, Sociology, and Social Work from Anderson University, Indiana. Along the way, the people around him could see how acting piqued his interest, and they encouraged him to give the industry a chance.
“Even though he has been paraplegic since 1988, he had such an outgoing, uplifting, positive attitude and personality.” https://t.co/2jWPT580z0— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) May 25, 2021
"He had done some print modeling and was encouraged by several people to go to California and pursue acting. He loved TV and the film industry. Mark could quote so many lines from movies and tell you who particular actors were in most movies. He spent many years living in California where he had many exciting moments pursuing his acting opportunities," read his Kreitzer Funeral Home obituary.
His most recognizable role of Billy Merchant on The Office first came about when Michael Scott (played by actor, Steve Carrell), invited him for a disability-awareness meeting in the second season of the world-famous sitcom. In the episode, Michael had suffered a mild foot injury and in classic-Michael style, he compares it to Billy's paralysis, according to Metro.
Over the years, York has sat in his wheelchair and appeared in front of the camera to do more than just pursue one of his passions. He wanted casting directors and other people in Hollywood to "see a wheelchair-user in real-life roles such as doctors, lawyers, businessmen, and such," according to his website. "Several casting directors have indicated that what sets York apart most is not a pair of wheels, but his artistic ability," his biography added.
One of the things York loved doing was visiting his mother's house and spending hours playing table games with his mother and his brother, Brian. Although his family may remember him as competitive, they will also cherish how he kept them laughing whenever they were together. His Kreitzer Funeral Home obituary said, "He will be deeply missed by all the lives he has touched."
Cover image source: Kreitzer Funeral Home/Obituary