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Character actor Harry Dean Stanton dead at age 91

Character actor Harry Dean Stanton dead at age 91
From CBC - September 15, 2017

Harry Dean Stanton, the shambling, craggy-face character actor with the deadpan voice who became a cult favourite through his memorable turns in Paris, Texas, Repo Manand 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 S. Kelly, told The Associated Press. 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 featuring either Harry Dean Stanton or M. Emmet Walsh 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 palled around 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 do not act like their father, I act like their friend," he once told New York magazine.

Nicholson so liked Stanton's name that he would find a way to work his initials, HDS, into a camera shot.

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 mid-1950s. A cult-favourite since the '70s with roles in Cockfighter,Two-Lane Blacktopand Cisco Pike,his more famous credits ranged from the Oscar-winning epic The Godfather Part IIto the sci-fi classic Aliento 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-12and Gunsmoke.He had a cameo on "Two and a Half Men," which featured "Pretty in Pink" star Jon Cryer, and appeared in such movies as The Avengersand The Last Stand.

'Heartbreakingly stoic' monologue in Paris, Texas

Fitting for a character actor, he only became famous in late 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.

Wiry and sad, Stanton's near-wordless performance is laced with moments of humour and poignancy. His heartbreakingly stoic delivery of a monologue of repentance to his wife, played by Nastassja Kinski, through a one-way mirror has become the defining moment in his career.

"Paris, Texasgave me a chance to play compassion," Stanton told an interviewer, "and I am spelling that with a capital C."

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

Repo Man,released that same year, became another signature film: Stanton starred as the world-weary boss of an auto repossession firm who instructs Estevez in the tricks of the hazardous trade.

Harry Dean Stanton was a wonderful man, kind and full of humor. He was also a great actor. Goodbye, Harry Dean. Rest in peace.

@TheHorrorMaster

Never a dull moment.
Ca not imagine telling him to rest. pic.twitter.com/N2gpgKGBeV

@joss

Was an honor, man. #RIPHarryDeanStanton pic.twitter.com/6pPrQT9ClX

@MrJonCryer

@Tribeca

Love of music

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