Harry Dean Stanton, best known for his roles in HBO’s, “Big Love” and the hit 1980’s films “Pretty in Pink” and “Repo Man” is dead at 91!
The actor passed away in a Los Angeles hospital of natural causes.
Stanton was a native of Kentucky and landed his first TV role in an episode of NBC’s, “Inner Sanctum” which ran for one season in 1954. He landed his first film role in 1956 in Alfred Hitchcock’s, “The Wrong Man” that starred Henry Fonda.
His seven-decades-long career was peppered with uncredited character roles and was also credited as “Dean Stanton” in his early work to avoid confusion with fellow actor Harry Stanton.
He labored for years in obscurity while appearing in episodes of classic television shows such as, “The Rifleman,” “Bonanza,” “The Fugitive” “Petticoat Junction” and “Gunsmoke.” His notable feature film work included, “How The West Was Won,” “In The Heat Of The Night,” “Kelly’s Heroes” and “The Godfather Part II.”
The actor became close friends with Jack Nicholson and was the best man at his 1962 wedding, even living together for a time after his divorce. Nicholson wrote a part for him in the 1965 Western, “Ride the Whirlwind” playing the leader of an outlaw gang.
Stanton’s most high-profile year came in 1984, when his breakthrough lead role came in the film, “Paris, Texas” along with starring opposite Emilio Estevez in “Repo Man” and in “Red Dawn” in a memorable scene with Charlie Sheen and Patrick Swayze.
He then played Molly Ringwald’s father in “Pretty in Pink” and had a role in the controversial film, “The Last Temptation of Christ,” directed by Martin Scorsese. His most high-profile role was as cult leader Roman Grant in the five-season run of the HBO drama, “Big Love.”
The actor is also the subject of two documentaries about his life and career, “Harry Dean Stanton: Crossing Mulholland” and “Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction.” He never married, though claimed to have fathered at least one child.
Stanton stars as the lead in his forthcoming final film, “Lucky,” playing an atheist who comes to terms with his own mortality.