Actor Bo Hopkins, who appeared in “American Graffiti” and “The Wild Bunch,” died Saturday morning, his wife said. He was 84.
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Hopkins died at a hospital in Van Nuys, California after suffering a heart attack on May 9, his wife Sian Hopkins told The Hollywood Reporter. His death was also reported by TMZ.
Hopkins was known for playing villains and villains, most notably as Joe Young in the 1973 film “American Graffiti,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“I go to auto shows because ‘American Graffiti’ is the national anthem of auto shows,” Hopkins said in a 2012 interview with Shock Cinema Magazine. “‘Graffiti’ Dragging people out and driving up and down. It got people driving cars that do stuff like that again.
“If I told you how many times people have come up to Candy (Clark), Paul (Le Mat) and I on these shows and told us we’ve changed their lives, you wouldn’t believe it.”
Hopkins also played villains in three Sam Peckinpah-directed films—as Clarence “Crazy” Lee in The Wild Bunch (1969), as a bank robber in The Getaway (1972), and as a weapons expert in The Killer. Elite” (1975), according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Hopkins was finally able to play a “do-gooder” role when executive producer Quentin Tarantino cast him as Sheriff Otis Lawson in 1999’s From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money.
William Mauldin Hopkins was born on February 2, 1938 in Greenville, South Carolina, according to South Carolina’s online birth records.
His father worked at a local mill and died of a heart attack at the age of 39 in front of his wife and son, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He moved in with his grandparents when his mother remarried the next year. As a 12-year-old, Hopkins learned he was adopted, the website reported. He eventually met his biological mother and bonded with his half-siblings.
“I don’t know how my mother and grandmother put up with me,” Hopkins once said. “Later I went home and took her to see ‘The Wild Bunch.’ and my second film “The Bridge of Remagen”. And then everyone who said I was going to jail said they always knew Billy would make something of himself.”
Hopkins made his screen debut in a 1966 episode of The Phyllis Diller Show.
“After the Phyllis Diller thing, I did a Gunsmoke episode, then The Andy Griffith Show, where I played Goober’s helper,” Hopkins recalled. “George Lindsey always said he was the one who started my career.”
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