When a TikTok of a then barely 20-year-old Angus Cloud bussing the table of a group of rowdy birthday brunchers went viral in 2022, most of us had already fallen in love Fezco, aka Fez, the lovable drug dealer Angus played on HBO’s cult hit, Euphoria. Angus was waiting tables at a now shuttered chicken and waffles restaurant in Brooklyn that served as the backdrop to the viral vid and the caption read, “Wow 4 years ago Fez was my waiter at my birthday brunch in Brooklyn.”
The video was from 2018, the same year Angus’ life would be forever changed by a chance encounter. Walking down Mercer Street in Manhattan on a warm summer night, Angus was approached by veteran casting scout Eléonore Hendricks who saw him and, according to an interview Hendricks did with BBC News, said she knew he had “something so distinct and special from the moment she spotted him.”
Hendricks was right, because the moment Angus graced our screens we immediately had a new best friend, little brother, big brother, or (for many like me) a new crush. In the post-pandemic world where fans began to reject the fakes and phonies of Hollywood and had no qualms about taking to social media to call them out, Angus Cloud represented the authentic celebrity we wanted and needed. Both Angus and the character he played on the show were people we wanted to root for. Two underdogs, two hustlers, two misunderstood souls.
Angus never planned to be a celebrity, which made you want to root for him even more.
Born Conor Angus Cloud Hickey on July 10, 1998, to an Irish-American family living in Oakland, he was the firstborn and only son. He attended Oakland School for the Arts, which coincidentally is the same performing arts school his Euphoria costar Zendaya attended. But his concentration in technical theater was behind the scenes, building sets and lighting the stage.
After high school Angus bought a one-way ticket to NYC to visit friends with no concrete plans to return. He ended up living in Bushwick and getting a job at the aforementioned “chicken and waffles joint,” as he called it. If Angus had fulfilled his original life vision, he would have moved to Ireland, where the majority of his family was, to live and work for a while. But exPat life wasn’t in the stars for Angus — a blessing for the rest of us because we got Fez.
The first time Fez was introduced to us in the pilot episode of Euphoria, I was convinced his character was some type of experimental method acting, created to give viewers the most authentic TV watching experience. I had deduced that the casting agents had discovered Angus, maybe in a skatepark, as the resident low-level dealer in his circle. I thought they decided how raw it would feel to turn Angus’s real life persona into a character for their series that revolved around jaded, complex high schoolers in suburbia. I fully believed his character was being played by the real-life version of himself. But it turns out I was wrong — Fez isn’t the TV version of Angus, but Angus brought life to Fez in ways that connected deeply with viewers.
In a 2019 interview with GQ, Angus said when he got the role of Fez, he decided he wasn’t going to try to suddenly teach himself how to act. He said he realized they had cast him to act like himself so why act like somebody else? Angus’ slowed speech and the scar across the left side of his head became signature features of Fez. And while the real life story of why Angus spoke that way and how he got the scar (falling into a construction pit that caused a traumatic brain injury that required emergency surgery) was different from Fez’s backstory (getting bashed in the skull with the bat), it didn’t matter to the audience. His affected drawl and the scar are parts of what brought empathy and humanity to the character — as well as the man who played him.
Angus was still waiting tables just weeks before Euphoria premiered, unaware it would become the biggest hit HBO’s second biggest show of all time. But even after the success of the first season catapulted Angus into stardom, he stayed humble, low-key and fiercely protective of his privacy. The same endearing personality traits he brought to his character made him an instant fan favorite.
On February 27, 2022, fans of the show couldn’t have imagined anything more devastating than the final scene with Fez and his brother Ashtray in the season 2 finale of Euphoria. But when alerts began pinging phones in the real world that the recently turned 25-year-old actor was found dead from a suspected overdose on July 31, 2023, it was a heartbreak nobody was prepared for.
In a society where celebrity worship is often mocked because “those people don’t know you and don’t care about you,” it felt those sentiments were non-existent with the death of Angus and the world collectively weeped for the non-Hollywood kid we wanted to see “win” at Hollywood.
In one of the last interviews he had with Vulture, Angus talked about crying. And his words are something all of us could carry with us. He said, “Tears are good; I recommend. I feel bad for people who can’t cry, you know? ’Cause I feel like that shit builds up, and it’s like a release. After I cry, I usually feel a bit better. Especially if it’s one of those where you just been trying to hold it in, thug it out, and just act like everything’s good for weeks and weeks. Then somebody gives you a proper hug and is like, ‘Are you okay?’ And you’re just like, ‘No.’ I’ve been acting like I’ve been okay this whole time, but no, I’m not.”