From‘Pink’ to ‘Paris, Texas’, Stan­ton im­prints his style

The Nation - - WORLD -

HARRY Dean Stan­ton, whose griz­zled looks and ac­claimed act­ing ta­lent earned him a pro­lific Hol­ly­wood ca­reer play­ing mainly sup­port­ing roles, died at a Los An­ge­les hospi­tal yes­ter­day. He was 91.

He “passed away from nat­u­ral causes” at Cedars-Si­nai med­i­cal cen­tre, ac­cord­ing to his agent John S Kelly.

De­spite over 150 tele­vi­sion and film ap­pear­ances span­ning six decades, in­clud­ing roles in “Alien”, “The Green Mile, “Pretty in Pink” and “The Avengers”, Stan­ton was not a house­hold name – though his weath­ered, droop­ing face is in­stantly recog­nis­able.

One of his rare lead­ing roles came in the 1984 road movie “Paris, Texas” where his turn as a fa­ther suf­fer­ing from am­ne­sia helped di­rec­tor Wim Wen­ders win the 1984 Palme D’Or. A close friend of Hol­ly­wood lu­mi­nar­ies Jack Ni­chol­son, Sean Penn and Mar­lon Brando, the drinker and smoker worked with David Lynch on TV’s “Twin Peaks”.

“The great Harry Dean Stan­ton has left us. There went the great one,” the film­maker Lynch wrote in a state­ment posted on Twit­ter.

“Ev­ery­one loved him, and with good rea­son. He was a great ac­tor – ac­tu­ally be­yond great. And a great hu­man be­ing,” Lynch went on.

Stan­ton’s more re­cent work in­cludes play­ing po­lyg­a­mist pa­tri­arch Ro­man Grant in TV’s “Big Love” and a voice role in an­i­mated fea­ture “Rango” with Johnny Depp.

One of his last ap­pear­ances, “Lucky”, the spir­i­tual jour­ney of an athe­ist also work­ing with David Lynch, will be re­leased in late Septem­ber in the United States. Late American film critic Roger Ebert raved that “No movie fea­tur­ing ei­ther Harry Dean Stan­ton or M Em­met Walsh in a sup­port­ing role can be al­to­gether bad.”

A pas­sion­ate mu­si­cian, he also founded the eclec­tic “The Harry Dean Stan­ton Band” known for its mix of mari­achi, jazz and other gen­res. A har­mon­ica player, he liked to sing the blues with Bob Dy­lan and Kris Kristof­fer­son, and the mari­achi reper­toire which he played un­til the end of his life in a warm, whim­per­ing voice.

Born July 14, 1926 in Ken­tucky, Stan­ton was the el­dest of three chil­dren of a hair­dress­ing mother and a to­bacco-grow­ing Bap­tist. Stan­ton, whose roles were of­ten strange mixes of ten­der­ness and re­serve, was the epit­ome of cool, ac­tress Olivia Wilde said on Twit­ter.


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