Growing up in working-class England, Ricky Gervais idolized David Bowie. Then, once 'The Office' became a hit in the U.K., the two struck up a friendship that lasted more than a decade and resulted in one of Gervais' most hilarious moments on television, when Bowie serenaded his schlubby actor character as a "chubby little loser" in a 2006 episode of the BBC/HBO series 'Extras.' A choked-up Gervais spoke with THR just hours after hosting the Golden Globes and learning of Bowie's death.
After the show I saw the tweets and was trying to find out if it were a hoax -- and it wasn't. Our relationship was bizarre and surreal, and I felt so privileged to know him. I never forgot he was my hero, even when he became my friend. I somehow divorced the two concepts in my head. When I talked to people, I talked about this rock star who changed my whole outlook. He put my life in color. He made me believe: You can do anything; you're a working-class kid in Reading; creativity is freedom. Ability is a poor man's wealth. I loved everything he did. He never let me down, even at the end. I've never seen a more dignified ending.