Beloved character actor Harry Dean Stanton, who appeared in more than one hundred films, including many with director David Lynch, has died in hospital in Los Angeles, at the age of 91.
Famous for his weather-beaten visage and and haunting presence, Stanton inspired the late film critic Roger Ebert to come up with the famous ‘Stanton Walsh Rule‘, which holds that:
“No movie featuring either Harry Dean Stanton or M. Emmet Walsh in a supporting role can be altogether bad.”
Stanton was born in 1926 in rural Kentucky, and served in the Pacific during the second world war, then studied journalism before dropping out of college to attend acting classes.
He worked steadily in film and television in the ensuing decades, but his visibility increased with a series of breakthrough roles in the 1970s and 1980s.
During that era, Stanton appeared in Ridley Scott‘s Alien, John Carpenter‘s Escape From New York, Alex Cox‘s Repo Man and John Hughes‘ Pretty In Pink, amongst many others.
His first leading role came in 1984 in Wim Winders‘ Paris, Texas, which won the Palme d’Or prize at that year’s Cannes Film Festival.
More recently, Stanton appeared in the HBO series Big Love, playing Juniper Creek prophet and polygamist leader Roman Grant.
He was a favourite of cult director David Lynch, appearing in such films as Wild At Heart, The Straight Story, Inland Empire and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.
He reprised his latter role as trailer park owner Carl Rodd in several episodes of the recent Showtime series Twin Peaks: The Return.
Tributes have poured in from his friends and colleagues including Pretty In Pink co-star Jon Cryer, and Olivia Wilde, who appeared alongside him in Alpha Dog:
RIP to the legendary Harry Dean Stanton. Impossible to cover his legacy in brief but here's a few favs: 'Alien', 'Paris Texas', 'Repo Man'. pic.twitter.com/tKglu0Bemv— edgarwright (@edgarwright) September 15, 2017
Harry Dean Stanton was the definition of cool. On Alpha Dog, he wouldn't leave a room w/o saying, "Love ya. Mean it." Such a great guy. RIP— olivia wilde (@oliviawilde) September 15, 2017
Reports indicate that Stanton died of natural causes in hospital. Rest in peace.
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