Legendary character actor, Harry Dean Stanton, has died. He was 91. The actor who ballasted generations of independent and cult films took his last breath in an LA hospital on Friday, reported Variety. Stanton appeared in scores of films including cult classics "Paris, Texas", "Alien", "Repo Man and "The Straight Story". He had a high-profile role as manipulative cult leader Roman Grant on HBO polygamy drama "Big Love," which ran from 2006-11, and recently appeared as Carl Rodd in the "Twin Peaks" revival on Showtime. His most recent film, "Lucky," about an atheist who comes to terms with his own mortality, is set to release in the US on September 29. Stanton was born in 1926 in rural Kentucky, the son of a tobacco farmer.
After serving as a navy cook in the Pacific theatre during the second world war, he studied journalism at college before dropping out to attend acting classes at the Pasadena Playhouse in 1949. In the following two decades, Stanton secured a string of tiny roles in TV shows and low-budget films, including "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin", "Gunsmoke" and "Johnny Ringo". One of his more memorable appearances in this period was as a singing convict in the 1967 Paul Newman project, "Cool Hand Luke", in which he performed the gospel song "Just a Closer Walk with Thee". Other than a walk-on role in "The Godfather Part II", commercially successful films kept avoiding Stanton, which changed after Ridley Scott cast him as a crew-member of the Nostromo in the sci-fi shocker "Alien", overcoming Stanton's own reluctance to take on a "monster movie". The same period also saw what was regarded as Stanton's most emblematic role, the near mute Travis Henderson in Wim Wenders' Palme d'Or winning "Paris, Texas". The movie marked his first as a leading man. He was 58 at that time. The film, however, could not transform Stanton into a leading man and he continued featuring in supporting roles. He played St Paul in Martin Scorsese's "The Last Temptation of Christ", Toot Toot in Stephen King adaptation "The Green Mile", and began a profitable relationship with Lynch, appearing in "Wild at Heart", "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me" and, latterly, "The Straight Story" and "Inland Empire". Stanton continued to work steadily through the 1990s and 2000s, averaging two or three films a year.. Despite a number of relationships, notably with Rebecca DeMornay in the early 1980s, Stanton never married, and is not known to have had any children.
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