RIP Harry Dean Stanton
Last week, we lost a very beloved actor. At least in my mind he's beloved. Harry Dean Stanton was one of those actors who seemed like he was everywhere. Even though you may not have known his name. Too bad too, because he left a memorable image to all of the roles he took up. Whether they were leading roles, supporting roles or just a walk-by cameo, Harry Dean Stanton always gave us something memorable every time he went in front of a camera. Not only was he great performer, but he served our country during World War II where he achieved the rank of lieutenant.
My first exposure of to Harry Dean Stanton was seeing him in David Lynch movies. I was a big fan of Lynch ever since I was introduced to his work with "Mulholland Drive." I was way too young to see that movie originally, but it opened myself to all things Lynch. Harry Dean Stanton may not have appeared in "Mulholland Drive," but he did appear in "Wild At Heart," "The Straight Story," "Inland Empire," and "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me." Lynch loves using the same actors in his movies, so its no surprise that Lynch kept coming back to Stanton. Stanton was great in all of those movies, and no matter how much screen time he got, he was always great.
Even if you are not a Lynch fan, and I wouldn't blame you if you weren't, then you probably saw Stanton is "Alien," where he played Brett. Or maybe you saw him in "Red Dawn" as Tom Eckert. You may have also seen him in "Escape From New York" with Kurt Russell or "Death Wish" with Charles Bronson or "Christine" with that killer car. You may remember him as the FBI agent in "Godfather Part II" or Willard in "Kelly's Heroes" and he was Saul in "The Last Temptation of Christ." The guy has been acting for many years, and he was constantly memorable, constantly pushing himself as a performer, constantly making himself something different in every role. One character doesn't look the same in one movie or the other.
I could spend all night discussing Stanton's work in "Paris, Texas" or "Cool Hand Luke" or "Repo Man" or "The Pledge" or "Anger Management" or "Alpha Dog" or "You Me and Dupree" or "Seven Psychopaths" or "Two-Lane Blacktop" or "Pretty In Pink" or "Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas" or "A Civil Action" or "The Green Mile" and on and on and on. I mean to fully appreciate the career of Harry Dean Stanton would be to have a five month film festival. He got so much accomplished and created so many friends I can only see in the movies. He will be missed.