Does the name Gavin Packard ring any bell? For some, even for many – maybe it doesn’t, but if you were an ardent follower of Bollywood films in the late ’80s and ’90s, then you will instantly recognize the muscular charismatic personality who played the baddie in numerous Hindi and Malayalam films. Despite being such a known face in Bollywood his final days were spent in isolation, poverty, and unknownness before he breathed his last on this very same day – 18th May 2012 at the age of 48.
The news of his demise is still fresh to me, and I also remember sharing a post about him after his unfortunate passing. Like many Bollywood bad guys who have suffered the same fate, Gavin Packard was yet another victim of unfortunate circumstances when he had no work in the industry or money. He succumbed to death due to respiratory failure few days after he suffered a fatal bike accident at Kalyan, Mumbai where he spent his final days with his younger brother Daryl Packard.
Gavin was known for his impeccable physique and was also one of the pioneers of fitness renaissance in Bollywood. The actor of Irish descent had trained the likes of Sanjay Dutt and Sunil Shetty during their early career days. Sadly, neither of them stood by him during his rainy days, although it is proclaimed that Sanjay Dutt is the godfather to Packard’s daughters. None of this was shown in the so-called Sanjay Dutt biopic Sanju. Both Dutt and Shetty considered him to be one of the finest fitness experts in the industry.
Gavin worked in super hit films such as Tridev, Thanedaar, Sadak, Mohra, and Karan Arjun to name a few. He was a part of almost every major action film that was released during that period. His last film was released in 2002, ten years before his death. Gavin unabashedly criticized the film industry and those he befriended during his heydays for turning a blind eye on him when he needed the most. His last photograph lying on a hospital bed asserted the story of his misery and pain because he didn’t even have the money for his proper treatment.
His two daughters, Erika Packard, and Kamille Kyla Packard survive Gavin. Erika is an upcoming model in her own right. Both the daughters often post about their father on their respective Instagram account. Gavin was divorced before his death.
Gavin’s story is another reminder of the many who have perished despite spilling their blood to make our Heroes look good on screen, while they remained true heroes in their real lives. Today, seven years after his death things haven’t improved a bit, and we have witnessed the same in recent times. Is it too much to care about people who have contributed so much to the industry? Or is it just a sad fate destined for many who do not have the luxury to become celebrities.
Let us take a moment to appreciate Gavin Packard, and others alike, for their immense contribution towards the film industry, and also for making our childhood memories with all those incredible muscles flex.