A TRIBUTE TO Harry Dean Stanton

Harry Dean Stanton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Harry Dean Stanton

Stanton in 2006
Born (1926-07-14)July 14, 1926
West Irvine, Kentucky, U.S.
Died September 15, 2017(2017-09-15) (aged 91)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Alma mater University of Kentucky
Pasadena Playhouse
Occupation Actor, musician, singer
Years active 1954–2017

Harry Dean Stanton (July 14, 1926 – September 15, 2017) was an American actor, musician, and singer.[1] Stanton’s career spanned over 60 years, during which he appeared in such films as Cool Hand Luke, Kelly’s Heroes, Dillinger, The Godfather Part II, Alien, Escape from New York, Christine, Paris, Texas, Repo Man, Pretty in Pink, The Last Temptation of Christ, Wild at Heart, The Straight Story, The Green Mile, Alpha Dog, and Inland Empire. Stanton played a recurring role as an LDS polygamist offshoot leader for the first three seasons of the HBO television series Big Love.

Early life

Stanton was born in Irvine, Kentucky, the son of Sheridan Harry Stanton, a tobacco farmer and barber, and Ersel (née Moberly), a cook.[2] His parents divorced when Stanton was in high school and both later remarried.[citation needed] He has two younger brothers, Archie and Ralph, and a younger half-brother, Stan. The family had a musical background. Stanton attended Lafayette High School[citation needed] and the University of Kentucky in Lexington where he performed at the Guignol Theatre under the direction of British theater icon Wallace Briggs[3] and studied journalism and radio arts. “I could have been a writer,” he told an interviewer for a 2011 documentary, Harry Dean Stanton: Crossing Mulholland, in which he sings and plays the harmonica.[4] “I had to decide if I wanted to be a singer or an actor. I was always singing. I thought if I could be an actor, I could do all of it.” Briggs encouraged him to leave the university and become an actor. He studied at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, California, where his classmates included his friends Tyler MacDuff and Dana Andrews.

Stanton is a United States Navy veteran of World War II. He served as a cook aboard an LST during the Battle of Okinawa.[5]


Stanton appeared in indie and cult films (Two-Lane Blacktop, Cockfighter, Escape from New York, Repo Man), as well as many mainstream Hollywood productions, including Cool Hand Luke, The Godfather Part II, Alien, Red Dawn, Alpha Dog, Pretty in Pink, Stephen King’s Christine and The Green Mile. He was a favorite actor of Sam Peckinpah, John Milius, David Lynch, and Monte Hellman, and was also close friends with Francis Ford Coppola. He appeared (uncredited) as a complaining BAR man in the very beginning of the Gregory Peck film Pork Chop Hill in 1959. He had a very small part in 1962’s How The West Was Won as one of Charlie Gant’s (Eli Wallach) gang, and followed that with a minor but eye-catching role as a poetry-reciting beatnik in the Danny Kaye film The Man from the Diner’s Club in 1963.

His breakthrough part[6] came with the lead role in director Wim Wenders‘ film Paris, Texas (1984). Playwright Sam Shepard, the movie’s screenwriter, had spotted Stanton at a bar in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1983 while both were attending a film festival in that city, and the two fell into conversation. “I was telling him I was sick of the roles I was playing,” Stanton recalled in a 1986 interview. “I told him I wanted to play something of some beauty or sensitivity. I had no inkling he was considering me for the lead in his movie.”[6] Not long afterward, Shepard phoned him in Los Angeles to offer Stanton the part of protagonist Travis,[6] “a role that called for the actor to remain largely silent … as a lost, broken soul trying to put his life back together and reunite with his estranged family after having vanished years earlier.”[7]

Stanton was a favorite of film critic Roger Ebert, who said that “no movie featuring either Harry Dean Stanton or M. Emmet Walsh in a supporting role can be altogether bad.” However, Ebert later admitted that Dream a Little Dream (1989), in which Stanton appeared, was a “clear violation” of this rule.[8]

His television credits were extensive, including eight appearances between 1958 and 1968 on CBSGunsmoke and four on the network’s Rawhide, as well as a cameo as himself on Two and a Half Men (having previously appeared with Jon Cryer in Pretty in Pink and with Charlie Sheen in Red Dawn), and alongside Sean Penn and Elvis Costello. He had been featured since 2006 as Roman Grant, the manipulative leader/prophet of a polygamous sect in the HBO television series Big Love. He also played Henry in an episode of the television series Adam-12.

Stanton also occasionally toured nightclubs as a singer/guitarist, playing mostly country-inflected cover tunes.[citation needed] He appeared in the Dwight Yoakam music video for “Sorry You Asked”, portrayed a cantina owner in a Ry Cooder video for “Get Rhythm”, participated in the video for Bob Dylan‘s “Dreamin’ of You“, and in 2003, appeared in the video for “Stop” by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

During 2010, he appeared on the NBC show Chuck for one episode, reprising his role as a repo man from the 1984 cult film Repo Man. In 2011, the Lexington Film League created a festival to honor Stanton in the city where he spent much of his adolescence. The first Harry Dean Stanton Fest was three days of film screenings including Paris, Texas, Repo Man, Cool Hand Luke, and the premiere of a PBS documentary by director Tom Thurman entitled Harry Dean Stanton: Crossing Mulholland.[3] All screenings were held at the historic Kentucky Theater. Hunter Carson, Stanton’s co-star in Paris, Texas attended the festival and conducted a Q&A following the film.[9][10] The second annual Harry Dean Stanton Film Festival was held over a weekend in May 2012 at the Kentucky Theater and other venues in downtown Lexington. Festival co-producer Lucy Jones[11] visited with Stanton in California and brought back a filmed greeting for the festival, with introductions to the films and talk about films he was working on.[3] In 2012, he had brief cameos in the superhero blockbuster The Avengers, and in the action comedy Seven Psychopaths. He also had a brief role in the Arnold Schwarzenegger action film The Last Stand (2013). Stanton was the subject of a 2013 documentary titled Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction, directed by Sophie Huber and featuring film clips; interviews with collaborators including Wenders, Shepard, Kris Kristofferson, and David Lynch; and Stanton’s singing.[12]

The 2001 parody film Not Another Teen Movie paid tribute to him, along with other ‘teen movie’ icons, by naming the high school’s athletic field “Harry Dean Stadium”[13]

The May 2013 Stanton festival in Lexington included an appearance by Crispin Glover, a co-star with Stanton in Wild at Heart, the 1989 comedy Twister and the Lynch-directed HBO original series Hotel Room in 1993; and a pre-release screening of the Partly Fiction.[14]

In 2017, he was featured in the Showtime limited series Twin Peaks: The Return, a continuation of David Lynch’s 1990-92 cult television series. He reprised his role as Carl Rodd from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.


Stanton died on September 15, 2017, at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 91.[2][15]



Title Year Role Notes
The Wrong Man 1956 Department of Corrections Employee Uncredited
Tomahawk Trail 1957 Private Miller Credited as Dean Stanton
Revolt at Fort Laramie 1957 Rinty Uncredited
The Proud Rebel 1958 Jeb Burleigh Credited as Dean Stanton
Voice in the Mirror 1958 Hysterical Patient in Psychiatric Ward Uncredited
Pork Chop Hill 1959 U.S. Soldier with BAR Uncredited
The Jayhawkers! 1959 Deputy Smallwood Uncredited
A Dog’s Best Friend 1959 Roy Janney Credited as Dean Stanton
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 1960 Slave Catcher Credited as Dean Stanton
How the West Was Won 1962 Gant Henchman Uncredited
Hero’s Island 1962 Dixey Gates Credited as Dean Stanton
The Man from the Diners’ Club 1963 Poetry-reciting Beatnik Uncredited
Ride in the Whirlwind 1966 Blind Dick Credited as Dean Stanton
In the Heat of the Night 1967 Police officer Credited as Dean Stanton
The Hostage 1967 Eddie Credited as Dean Stanton
A Time for Killing 1967 Sgt. Dan Way Credited as Dean Stanton
Cool Hand Luke 1967 Tramp Credited as Dean Stanton
Day of the Evil Gun 1968 Sergeant Parker Credited as Dean Stanton
The Mini-Skirt Mob 1968 Spook
Lanton Mills 1969 Lanton Short film
The Rebel Rousers 1970 Randolph Halverson Credited as Dean Stanton
Kelly’s Heroes 1970 Willard Credited as Dean Stanton
Two-Lane Blacktop 1971 Oklahoma Hitchhiker Credited as H.D. Stanton
What’s the Matter with Helen? 1971 Malcolm Hays
Cisco Pike 1972 Jesse Dupre Credited as H.D. Stanton
Cry for Me, Billy 1972 Luke Todd
Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid 1973 Luke
Dillinger 1973 Homer Van Meter
Where the Lilies Bloom 1974 Kiser Pease
Zandy’s Bride 1974 Songer
Cockfighter 1974 Jack Burke
Win, Place or Steal 1974 Jack
The Godfather Part II 1974 FBI Agent
Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins 1975 Billy Winston
Rancho Deluxe 1975 Curt
Farewell, My Lovely 1975 Detective Billy Rolfe
The Fortune 1975 Prisoner in Holding Cell Uncredited
92 in the Shade 1975 Carter
The Missouri Breaks 1976 Cal
Renaldo and Clara 1978 Lafkezio
Straight Time 1978 Jerry Schue
Up in Smoke 1978 Police officer Deleted scenes
Alien 1979 Brett
Wise Blood 1979 Asa Hawks
The Rose 1979 Billy Ray
Death Watch 1980 Vincent Ferriman
The Black Marble 1980 Philo Skinner
Private Benjamin 1980 1st Sergeant Jim Ballard
Escape from New York 1981 Harold “Brain” Hellman
One from the Heart 1982 Moe
Young Doctors in Love 1982 Dr. Oliver Ludwig
Christine 1983 Detective Rudolph “Rudy” Junkins
Repo Man 1984 Bud
Paris, Texas 1984 Travis Henderson
The Bear 1984 Coach Thomas
Red Dawn 1984 Tom Eckert
The Care Bears Movie 1985 Brave Heart Lion (voice)
UFOria 1985 Brother Bud Sanders Completed in 1981
One Magic Christmas 1985 Gideon
Fool for Love 1985 Old Man
Pretty in Pink 1986 Jack Walsh
Slam Dance 1987 Detective Benjamin Smiley
Stars and Bars 1988 Loomis Gage
Mr. North 1988 Henry Simmons
The Last Temptation of Christ 1988 Saul/Paul of Tarsus
Dream a Little Dream 1989 Ike Baker
Twister 1989 Eugene Cleveland
The Fourth War 1990 General Hackworth
Wild at Heart 1990 Johnnie Farragut
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me 1992 Carl Rodd
Man Trouble 1992 Redmond Layls
Cruise Control 1992 Roland Short film
Blue Tiger 1994 Smith
Never Talk to Strangers 1995 Max Cheski
One Hundred and One Nights 1995 Hollywood actor Uncredited
Down Periscope 1996 Howard
Playback 1996 Ernie Fontenot
She’s So Lovely 1997 Tony “Shorty” Russo
Fire Down Below 1997 Cotton Harry
Midnight Blue 1997 Eric
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas 1998 The Judge
The Mighty 1998 Elton “Grim” Pinneman
A Civil Action 1998 Land Watcher Uncredited
Tobacco Blues 1998 Narrator Documentary
The Straight Story 1999 Lyle Straight
The Green Mile 1999 Toot-Toot
Sand 2000 Leo
The Man Who Cried 2000 Felix Perlman
The Pledge 2001 Floyd Cage
The Animal 2001 The Hunter Uncredited
Ginostra 2002 Del Piero
Sonny 2002 Henry
Anger Management 2003 Blind Man Uncredited
Chrystal 2004 Pa Da
The Big Bounce 2004 Bob Rogers, Sr.
Dig! 2004 Himself Documentary
The Wendell Baker Story 2005 Skip Summers
Alpha Dog 2006 Cosmo Gadabeeti
Alien Autopsy 2006 Harvey
You, Me and Dupree 2006 Curly Uncredited
Inland Empire 2006 Freddie Howard
The Good Life 2007 Gus
Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project 2007 Private Willard
Being Michael Madsen 2007 Himself
The Open Road 2009 Amon
On Holiday 2010 Josh the Roommate’s Dad
Rango 2011 Balthazar (voice)
This Must Be the Place 2011 Robert Plath
The Avengers 2012 Security Guard
Seven Psychopaths 2012 Quaker
Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction 2012 Himself Documentary
The Last Stand 2013 Farmer Parsons Uncredited
9 Full Moons 2013 Dimitri
The Pimp and the Rose 2014 Harry Short film
Lucky 2017 Lucky


Title Year Role Notes
Inner Sanctum 1954 Andrew Episode: “Hour of Darkness”
Suspicion 1957 Bill Episode: “Four O’Clock”
The Walter Winchell File 1957 Country Boy Episode: “Country Boy”
The Court of Last Resort 1958 Unnamed character Episode: “The Jacob Loveless Case”
Panic! 1958 Jerry Episode: “Patrol”
Decision 1958 Simeon Dawson Episode: “The Tall Man”
The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin 1958 Clint Dirkson Episode: “Decision of Rin Tin Tin”
Man with a Camera 1958 Jerry Episode: “Six Faces of Satan”
The Texan 1958–1959 Chad Bisbee / Frank Kaler 2 episodes
Rescue 8 1958–1959 Landers / Skeets, Young Bum 2 episodes
Zane Grey Theater 1958–1961 Various 4 episodes
Walt Disney Presents 1959 Drew Griswold Episode: “The Griswold Murder”
Bat Masterson 1959 Jay Simms Episode: “Deadline”
The D.A.’s Man 1959 Barbo Episode: “The Triangle”
The Rifleman 1959 Clemmie Martin Episode: “Tension”
The Lineup 1959 Alfie 2 episodes
Lock-Up 1959 Tommy Fuller Episode: “Writ of Terror”
Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse 1959 Rafe Daniels / Gordon 2 episodes
The Lawless Years 1959–1961 Various 4 episodes
Have Gun – Will Travel 1959–1962 Slim Wilder / Stoneman 2 episodes
Laramie 1959–1963 Various 4 episodes
Rawhide 1959–1965 Various 4 episodes
Gunsmoke 1959–1968 Various 8 episodes
The Man from Blackhawk 1960 Sonny Blakey Episode: “Diamond Cut Diamond”
Johnny Ringo 1960 Frank Brogger Episode: “The Gunslinger”
Alfred Hitchcock Presents 1960 Lemon Episode: “Escape to Sonoita”
The Untouchables 1960–1961 Moxie / Picolo / Newspaper Seller 3 episodes
Gunslinger 1961 Stacey Episode: “Zone”
The Roaring 20’s 1961 Fingers Episode: “The Red Carpet”
The Law and Mr. Jones 1961 Harry Walker Episode: “The Enemy”
Bonanza 1961–1963 Stiles / Billy 2 episodes
Cain’s Hundred 1962 Hood #1 Episode: “The Plush Jungle: Benjamin Riker”
Checkmate 1962 The Singer Episode: “The Heart Is a Handout”
Stoney Burke 1962 Dell Tindall Episode: “Point of Honor”
Combat! 1962 Pvt. Beecham Episode: “A Day in June”
Big G 1963 Nick Crider Episode: “Nobody Dies on Saturday”
Daniel Boone 1964–1969 Crane / Jeb Girty 2 episodes
The Fugitive 1965 Randy Episode: “Moon Child”
A Man Called Shenandoah 1965 Quince Logan Episode: “The Debt”
The Big Valley 1966 Swain Episode: “By Force and Violence”
Vacation Playhouse 1966 Dayton Skagg Episode: “Frank Merriwell”
The Dangerous Days of Kiowa Jones 1966 Jelly Television film
The Wild Wild West 1967 Lucius Brand Episode: “The Night of the Hangman”
The Guns of Will Sonnett 1967 J.J. Kates Episode: “Meeting at Devil’s Fork”
Cimarron Strip 1967 Luther Happ Episode: “Till the End of Night”
The Andy Griffith Show 1967 Proprietor Episode: “Howard’s New Life”
The High Chaparral 1968 Johnny Faro Episode: “Gold Is Where You Leave It”
The Virginian 1968 Clint Daggert Episode: “Ride to Misadventure”
Mannix 1968 Dean Hill Episode: “Who Will Dig the Graves?”
The Name of the Game 1968 Joe Joe Episode: “Pineapple Rose”
Adam-12 1969 Henry Fletcher Episode: “Log 22:…So This Little Guy Goes Into a Bar, and…”
Petticoat Junction 1969 Ringo Episode: “One of Our Chickens Is Missing”
The Intruders 1970 Whit Dykstra Television film
The Legendary Curse of the Hope Diamond 1975 President Warren G. Harding Television film
Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman 1976–1977 Jake Walters 4 episodes
Flatbed Annie & Sweetiepie: Lady Truckers 1979 C.W. Douglas Television film
Young Maverick 1979–1980 Pokey Tindal 2 episodes
The Oldest Living Graduate 1980 Mike Television film
Laverne & Shirley 1982 Johnny Velvet Episode: “Star Peepers”
I Want to Live! 1983 Emmett Perkins Television film
Saturday Night Live 1986 Himself (host) Episode: “Harry Dean Stanton/The Replacements
Faerie Tale Theatre 1987 Rip Van Winkle Episode: “Rip Van Winkle”
The Ransom of Red Chief 1987 Sam Television film
The French as Seen By… 1988 Slim Television short
The Jim Henson Hour 1989 Chancey Bellow Episode: “Monster Maker”
Payoff 1991 Hook Television film
Hostages 1992 Frank Reed Television film
Hotel Room 1993 Moe Episode: “Tricks”
Against the Wall 1994 Hal Television film
Dead Man’s Walk 1996 Shadrach 3 episodes
Two and a Half Men 2004 Himself Episode: “Back Off Mary Poppins”
Big Love 2006–2010 Roman Grant 37 episodes
Alice 2009 Caterpillar 2 episodes
Chuck 2010 Harry Episode: “Chuck Versus the Anniversary”
Mongo Wrestling Alliance 2011 Baron Kleberkuh (voice) 2 episodes
Getting On 2013–2015 Leonard Butler 3 episodes
Twin Peaks 2017 Carl Rodd 5 episodes

Video games

Title Year Role Notes
Alien: Isolation 2014 Brett (voice)

Music videos

Title Year Performer(s) Notes
A Whiter Shade of Pale 1985 Procol Harum
“Get Rhythm” 1987 Ry Cooder
“Stop” 2003 Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

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