Wheels in Repose (courtesy of CTV)

So by now I’m sure you’ve all heard the distressing news: The actor who played “Wheels” on the various Degrassi series died 5 years ago and no one noticed. I read this news earlier this morning and to be honest, it depressed me for several hours.

Now, I’m aware that Degrassi wasn’t necessarily the most popular show worldwide, but it definitely was a Canadian cultural icon (for good or for bad) and it’s somewhat surprising that this wasn’t announced somewhere at the time it happened. The story about the fact the family only just found out as well is just painful.

I remember my friend Julia and I watching a lot of old Degrassi episodes a few years back and googling the cast members on a whim. When we googled Neil Hope, nothing showed up (not even an obituary!). And damn, we were shocked! Wheels being one of the most unintentionally hilarious characters on the show, we thought for sure there would be something out there about him. Hell, there was a whole webpage devoted to “Heather and Erica- The Erotic Twins” (which is, um, weird).

When I was in the hospital with a burst appendix, Julia brought me the official Degrassi “Wheels” book to cheer me up. Upon learning that he died alone in a rooming house, I feel really bad about constantly turning that book facedown whenever a nurse or doctor was coming in.

At any rate, I felt like posting this, mainly just so that there’s something else in the search results out there that’s not a depressing news article.

Cheers to you Neil/Wheels, you had strong thighs.

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