Long­time char­ac­ter ac­tor Stan­ton, 91

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - OBITUARIES -

LOS ANGELES — Harry

Dean Stan­ton, the sham­bling, craggy-face char­ac­ter ac­tor with the dead­pan voice who be­came a cult fa­vorite through his mem­o­rable turns in Paris,

Texas, Repo Man and many other films and TV shows, died Fri­day at age 91.

Stan­ton died of nat­u­ral causes at Cedars-Si­nai Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Los Angeles, his agent, John Kelly, said. Kelly gave no fur­ther de­tails on the cause.

Never mis­taken for a lead­ing man, Stan­ton was an un­for­get­table pres­ence to movie­go­ers, fel­low ac­tors and direc­tors, who rec­og­nized that his quirky char­ac­ter­i­za­tions could lift even the most or­di­nary script. Roger Ebert once ob­served that no movie with Stan­ton in a sup­port­ing role “can be al­to­gether bad.”

He was widely loved around Hol­ly­wood, a drinker and smoker, and straight talker with a mil­lion sto­ries who was friends with Jack Ni­chol­son and Kris Kristof­fer­son among oth­ers and was a hero to such younger stars and broth­ers-in-par­ty­ing as Rob Lowe and Emilio Estevez.

“I don’t act like their fa­ther, I act like their friend,” he once told New York mag­a­zine.

Al­most al­ways cast as a crook, a codger, an ec­cen­tric or a loser, he ap­peared in more than 200 movies and TV shows in a ca­reer dat­ing to the mid1950s. A cult fa­vorite since the ’70s with roles in Cock­fighter, Two-Lane Black­top and Cisco Pike, his more fa­mous cred­its ranged from the Os­car-win­ning epic The God­fa­ther Part

II to the sci-fi clas­sic Alien to the teen flick Pretty in Pink, in which he played Molly Ring­wald’s fa­ther. He also guest starred on such TV shows as Lav­erne & Shirley, Adam-12

and Gun­smoke, and ap­peared in such movies as The Avengers and The Last Stand.

He be­came fa­mous only late in mid­dle age. In Wim Wen­ders’ 1984 ru­ral drama

Paris, Texas, he earned ac­claim for his sub­tle and af­fect­ing por­trayal of a man so deeply haunted by some­thing in his past that he aban­dons his young son and so­ci­ety to wan­der silently in the desert.

The film won the grand prize at the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val and pro­vided the ac­tor with his first star billing, at age 58.

Stan­ton never mar­ried, al­though he had a long re­la­tion­ship with ac­tress Re­becca De Mor­nay, 35 years his ju­nior. “She left me for Tom Cruise,” Stan­ton said of­ten.

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