Brett also struggled with his heart disease (developed as a teenager) and with bipolar disorder (also called manic depression.) He also struggled with being Sherlock Holmes, which he called "the hardest role I've ever played." Despite numerous accolades and thousands of adoring fans, he never quite thought that he'd gotten the role right.
Brett also is one of the best imaginary boyfriends I've ever had. He never leaves the toilet seat up, never takes the last cookie and never bitches if I have a migraine. He's not as high maintenance as my other current imaginary boyfriends Peter Gabriel and Sherlock Holmes. PG is a lovely guy but easily distracted. And Mr. Holmes has a tendency to rabbit on a bit.
I first saw Brett as Mr. Holmes when I was a kid back around 1985. I thought he was Jeremy Irons. (C'mon, admit it -- they look somewhat alike.) I was also distracted by things like school, my parents' divorce and Peter Gabriel. It wasn't until this year that I finally realized that Jeremy Brett and Jeremy Irons were two different people. (Okay -- I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed.) And then I discovered that Brett had died. It was like finding someone and losing them all on the same day.
Soon after this I had a dream about talking to Jeremy Brett about what the afterlife is like. "Oh, it's brilliant!" he said in between puffs on his cigarette. "You live on in people's memories. Whenever they think about you, you're alive in their heads. It's wonderful. You get to meet so many people from all over the world and help them out just by showing up. Come to think of it, it's not too much different from my real life."
Wherever you are, Jeremy, I hope you have a happy and stress-free birthday.