It’s true that this year I’ve had to write a memoriam or two for those we’ve lost within our genre, although none has been more difficult to compose than this missive concerning the loss of one of my best friends: screenwriter, producer, and pilot Geza Decsy.
My relationship with Geza stretched across eighteen years – professionally, philanthropically and personally. Professionally, we had not only labored dutifully (along with my often co-screenwriter Jack Ulrich) together to get our “survival horror” feature Alluvial (which Geza had optioned and was attached to direct) off the ground, but also to support each other’s individual careers within the Hollywood industry.
Geza’s own would eventually lead him to the production entity Home Media Bridge on the lower lot of Universal Studios, where he’d not only produce several genre features (Paul Hough’s The Human Race, the Booth Brothers’ Dead Still, Gnome Alone, and Nocturna, to name a few) while moving many others into development, but also (and finally) receive a coveted parking placard outside the HMB bungalow (which was clearly visible to anyone riding the park’s tram, which he got a kick out of). He had worked relentlessly hard to get there, and it was something he didn’t take for granted. Wandering New York Street on the back lot with him following our lunches at the commissary, he’d often say while looking at the building facades that stretched above us, “I’ll never get sick of this. It’s just magical.”
Philanthropically, Geza worked also tirelessly to support local L.A. women struggling with breast cancer via his charitable work with Dread Central’s fundraising team The Horror Starlets (whose members have included actresses Cerina Vincent, Ashlynn Yennie, Carlee Baker, Sarah Butler, Kristina Klebe, and more), serving as the team’s official photographer and cheerleader from its very inception. Frankly, without his skills, the organization’s impact may have not been what it was. He did this tirelessly as well, with an infectious smile and a laugh that made those around him simply beam.
Personally… I’m afraid it’s either impossible to effectively encapsulate, or perhaps I’m just too near this tragedy. What I can say is that Geza was a momentous, kind, selfless, and driven man. The kind of guy that would pick up the bar tab when you told him not to (this would become a running joke because he’d always pick it up) and the kind of man that was always there to offer support, whether to lend an ear through difficult times or to offer sage advice or assistance on any number of projects, shared or otherwise.
And while we certainly bonded over our respective love of cinema and story (as these were the things most important to him), we also did so over our mutual interest in aviation. Geza’s, more pronounced than my own, would see him earn a pilot’s license in 2008, and shortly after I would fly with him out of Van Nuys Airport in a small Cessna. Circling downtown LA with him at night and flying over the Santa Monica Pier as the Pacific stretched out below, his happiness in the cockpit recalled that of my late grandfather’s, with whom I’d similarly spent hours in light aircraft during my youth. Geza’s joy was palpable, and he was a damned good pilot.
On Sunday, December 6, 2015, less than thirteen hours since we last traded in conversation which focused on future plans at my birthday party in Hollywood, Geza lost his life in a tragic aviation accident in Apple Valley, CA, when the L-39 aerobatic jet in which he was a passenger crashed on takeoff, killing him and pilot/Red Bull Air Race champion Mike Mangold.
Compounding this sense of loss, Geza had been set to wed his loving fiancée of nine years, Jessica Vilar, on February 20th of 2016 at the The Palm Springs Air Museum (in fact, a portion of their wedding invitations were mailed out less than forty-eight hours before his death).
The hole in my heart I cannot quite articulate, though its depth I suppose has direct correlation with just how deeply Geza touched those around him. His compassion and selflessness, coupled with his sharp wit and that hearty laugh, made you simply just want to be around him, and for those of us lucky enough to have called him our friend, our loss is quite simply profound.
I guess we’ll never have that hundred dollar burger, Geza.