Actor Harry Dean Stanton, who crafted characters in classic films such as “Godfather: Part II,” “Cool Hand Luke” and “Pretty in Pink,” died Friday. He was 91.
Stanton passed away at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, TMZ reported.
He recently appeared in the revival of “Twin Peaks,” which was released this summer. He’s also in the yet to be released Frank Sinatra movie “Frank and Ava.”
Stanton, born in Kentucky in 1926, was raised in the Bluegrass State before serving in the Navy in World War II and fighting in the Battle of Okinawa, according to Kentucky Educational Television.
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He later decamped for the West Coast and acted in theater before beginning his screen career in the 1950s with appearances on TV shows such as “Rawhide” and “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.”
Stanton amassed nearly 200 acting credits, according to the Internet Movie Database.
Though rarely in a starring role, he carved out a niche for himself playing odd, often grizzled characters.
The personality fit into the visions of a diverse array of some of the 20th century’s most creative directors, including Francis Ford Coppola, Wim Wenders, John Hughes, Martin Scorsese, Terry Gilliam and David Lynch.
Stanton partnered repeatedly with Lynch through the years in films like 1990’s “Wild at Heart,” 2006’s “Inland Empire” and “Twin Peaks.”
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Though he often played inmates such as Tramp in “Cool Hand Luke” and Toot-Toot in “The Green Mile,” he was a struggling suburban single dad in “Pretty in Pink” and the biblical Saul in “The Last Temptation of Christ.”
His long body of work earned him a legion of fans, including some in his home state, who hold an annual Harry Dean Stanton Fest in his honor.
This year’s festival is slated for later this month and will show “Lucky,” where Stanton plays the titular role alongside Lynch.
“The great Harry Dean Stanton has left us. There went a great one. There’s nobody like Harry Dean,” Lynch said Friday evening, joining a chorus of praise for the actor.
“Everyone loved him. And with good reason,” Lynch said. “He was a great actor (actually beyond great) — and a great human being — so great to be around him!!!”
“Harry Dean Stanton was a wonderful man, kind and full of humor. He was also a great actor. Goodbye, Harry Dean. Rest in peace,” tweeted John Carpenter, who directed Stanton in “Escape from New York.”
The Tribeca Film Festival also shared photos of the actor through the years and recalled a late critic’s praise. ‘Roger Ebert once said, “No movie featuring Harry Dean Stanton can be altogether bad.’ That is the power of a truly extraordinary actor. #RIP,” organizers tweeted.
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