Harry Dean Stanton, the craggy-faced character actor who for decades filled memorable and often eccentric roles including a prisoner in “Cool Hand Luke” and the creepy polygamist prophet on “Big Love,” has died at age 91.
Stanton died Friday at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles of natural causes, said John Kelly, his agent.
He was a favorite of directors over the years with his gift for portraying offbeat and colorful characters. At the time of his death, he was completing the ‘LUCKY,” a film that parallels Stanton’s own life.
Born in Kentucky, Stanton headed west after serving in the Navy during World War II and broke into acting at the Pasadena Playhouse.
His career, and his credits, were sweeping: “Cool Hand Luke,” “The Godfather: Part II,” “Escape from New York,” “Paris, Texas,” “Pretty in Pink,” “Repo Man.”
Stanton had a fondness for David Lynch, and Lynch had a fondness for him. He was cast as the ill-fated private detective in “Wild at Heart” and had roles in “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me” and the recent reboot of “Twin Peaks: The Return,”
He turned down a role in “Blue Velvet,” however, a part later given to Dennis Hopper.
Stanton was never married, though he had a long relationship with Rebecca De Mornay.
“I might have had two or three (kids) out of marriage,” he once told Associated Press. “But that’s another story.”