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Helen Mirren mourns stepson Rio Hackford: ‘He shared his life’s journey with so many’

A man in a suit posing with his arm around a shorter woman with white hair
Actors Rio Hackford and Helen Mirren attend the 2015 premiere of “Trumbo” in Beverly Hills.
(Jason LaVeris / FilmMagic)
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Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford released a joint statement Tuesday mourning actor and bar owner Rio Hackford, who died Thursday at age 51.

The son of director Taylor Hackford and stepson of actor Mirren was known for his work in films such as “Jonah Hex,” “Raising Helen,” “Swingers” and “Fred Claus.” He most recently appeared in the Hulu series “Pam & Tommy,” as well as Disney+’s “The Mandalorian.”

In a statement to People magazine, Hackford and Mirren confirmed that Rio Hackford died of uveal melanoma, “a very aggressive and rare form” of eye cancer.

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The “Dolores Claiborne” director and the “Queen” actor told People they “are both inspired by the life of our son and stepson, Rio Hackford, and heartbroken by his loss.”

“His life showed us how to live in generosity and community,” they said. “He shared his life’s journey with so many who now mourn him, and at the same time, celebrate their fortune in knowing him.”

In addition to “Pam & Tommy” and “The Mandalorian,” Rio Hackford had recurring TV roles on “American Crime Story” and “Treme.” He also collaborated with Mirren on her comedy documentary series “When Nature Calls.”

On top of his acting career, Rio Hackford made a name for himself as a business owner on the nightlife scene in New Orleans, San Francisco and Los Angeles. In 2011, Hackford assumed ownership of Monty, a trendy dive bar in Westlake.

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“We would beg everyone reading this to get their eyes tested at least once a year, which might save their loved ones from this cancer,” Mirren and Taylor Hackford continued in their statement.

In 2007’s “Fred Claus,” Rio Hackford starred opposite Vince Vaughn as Leon. Vaughn — who also worked with the late performer on 1996’s “Swingers” and other projects — told Rio Hackford’s father and stepmother he was “as loyal and funny as anyone could be.”

“Rio was the best ever,” Vaughn added in a tribute shared with Mirren and Taylor Hackford, according to People. “Truly one of a kind.”

On Instagram, screenwriter D.V. DeVincentis remembered his friend as “a superfan of enumerable scenes” who was “simply obsessed with movies.”

“Worthy experience isn’t everywhere. But Rio knew the closest to you at any given moment, and keeping track of these precious possibilities for you was his most fluent language of love,” DeVincentis added. “Rio was the apex curator of experience, it was his oxygen, his life.”

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