Harry Dean Stanton, the star of movies like Repo Man and Pretty In Pink, is reported to have died at the age of 91 in Los Angeles of natural causes. Stanton was known as an exceptional character actor who often played loners and otherwise enigmatic figures, and Hollywood has responded with a huge outpouring of messages for him.
Stephen King remembers Stanton as having one of the most brilliant lines in his film Christine and posted on Twitter that he will miss the actor.
“Harry Dean Stanton had the best line in CHRISTINE: I’m sellin’ this s*ithole and buyin’ a condo. Rest in peace, HD. You were great.”
John Carpenter remembered Harry Dean Stanton as a particularly funny man and memorialized him on his Twitter feed as well.
“Harry Dean Stanton was a wonderful man, kind and full of humor. He was also a great actor. Goodbye, Harry Dean. Rest in peace.”
As Stanton recently played Carl Rodd in Showtime’s newest incarnation of Twin Peaks, it also makes sense that David Lynch would wish to share his fond memories of the star. Lynch recalls Harry Dean as not only an amazing actor, but also a truly wonderful person to be around and sent him his love.
— Twin Peaks (@SHO_TwinPeaks) September 15, 2017
Harry Dean Stanton’s long Hollywood history includes the notorious time when he once lived with Jack Nicholson in a Laurel Canyon home in the 1960s. The pair first got to know each other after Monte Hellman’s 1966 film Ride in the Whirlwind, a film which Nicholson also wrote, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Stanton had always looked back wistfully on the experience of acting with Nicholson, once commenting that he learned everything possible about “acting natural” from working on that movie set.
Of this movie, Harry Dean Stanton recalled that he learned to really just play himself in future films based on guidance he received from Jack Nicholson when Nicholson was trying to pitch the script and get Stanton to play a part he had written for him.
“Harry, I’ve got this part for you. His name is Blind Dick Reilly, and he’s the head of the gang. He’s got a patch over one eye and a derby hat. Then he says, ‘But I don’t want you to do anything. Let the wardrobe play the character.’ Which meant, just play yourself. That became my whole approach.”
Harry Dean Stanton’s most recent roles besides Twin Peaks include his acting performance as the dark and menacing cult leader Roman Grant on HBO’s Big Love, which was on from 2006 to 2011, along with his latest film Lucky, which Variety reports is about a character who is an atheist and striving to understand his own mortality. This film will be released on September 29.
When describing a role Stanton had in Paris, Texas, Roger Ebert likened his performance to that of dark and mournful poetry, words which could be said to sum up most of Harry Dean Stanton’s long acting career.
“Stanton has long inhabited the darker corners of American noir, with his lean face and hungry eyes, and here he creates a sad poetry.”
The entertainment world mourns the loss of Harry Dean Stanton, a man who can never be replaced.
[Featured Image by Jason Merritt/Getty Images]