Rarely a leading man, the Kentucky native was memorable in ‘Paris, Texas,’ ‘Repo Man,’ ‘Alien’ and ‘Big Love.’
Harry Dean Stanton, the character actor with the world-weary face who carved out an exceptional career playing grizzled loners and colorful, offbeat characters in such films as Paris, Texas and Repo Man, has died. He was 91.
Stanton, who also was memorable in Cool Hand Luke (1967), Two-Lane Blacktop (1971), Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979), John Carpenter’s Escape From New York (1981) and John Hughes’ Pretty in Pink(1986) — in fact, what wasn’t he memorable in? — died Friday afternoon of natural causes at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, his agent, John Kelly, told The Hollywood Reporter.
Stanton was eerily creepy as evil polygamist and self-proclaimed Mormon prophet Roman Grant on HBO’s Big Love, and he partnered regularly with David Lynch, appearing in the director’s Wild at Heart (1990), Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992), the 1993 miniseries Hotel Room, The Straight Story(1999) and Inland Empire (2006). (He said he turned down a meeting with Lynch about playing Dennis Hopper’s part as a serial killer in Blue Velvet.)
Stanton was great pals with actor Jack Nicholson, and they roomed together in a Laurel Canyon house on Skyline Drive in the early 1960s. (Nicholson moved in after sharing a place with screenwriter Robert Towne.) They first appeared together in Monte Hellman’s Ride in the Whirlwind(1966), which Nicholson also wrote, and Stanton always said he learned about “acting natural” from that experience.
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