The ‘Virginia’ and ‘Return of the Living Dead’ actor turns 93 – The Hollywood Reporter

Clu Gulager, the real-life cowboy from Oklahoma known for his thrills The tall man, the virginian, The Ultimate Picture Show and horror movies including The return of the living dead, has died. She was 93.

Gulager died Friday of natural causes at the Los Angeles home of his son John and daughter-in-law Diane, they said. the hollywood reporter.

Gulager also played the protégé of hit man Charlie Strom (Lee Marvin) eliminated by a mob boss (Ronald Reagan) in Don Siegel’s. The murderers (1964), a race car mechanic opposite Paul Newman in Victorious (1969) and a detective who works alongside John Wayne’s character in John Sturges’ mcq (1974).

More recently, she appeared on the big screen in critical darlings like Mandarin (2015), blue jay (2016) and Quentin Tarantino once upon a time in hollywood (2019).

Gulager’s performance in The murderers convinced Peter Bogdanovich to cast him as Abilene, the oilfield foreman who made love to Ellen Burstyn’s character and seduced Cybill Shepherd’s Jacy Farrow in a deserted pool hall, in The Ultimate Picture Show (1971).

Part Cherokee, the playful Gulager burst onto the scene in September 1960 when he played Billy the Kid opposite Barry Sullivan as Pat Garrett on NBC. The tall man. Two seasons later, the series was canceled in part because Congress objected to the notorious outlaw Billy being “inaccurately” portrayed as a hero to young viewers.

“But they left The Untouchables turned on, which was very violent,” Gulager noted in a 2015 interview. “I played a character in that called ‘Mad Dog’ Coll [in 1959] where I shot a horse at a horse race, killed a little boy in Brooklyn, and cut off a bartender’s fingers. But they dropped that because they thought the show was historically accurate.”

After appearing as a guest star on two episodes of NBC the virginianGulager arrived in Medicine Bow, Wyoming for the start of the series’ third season in 1964 as Deputy Sheriff Emmett Ryker. He appeared with James Drury and Doug McClure in over 50 episodes before leaving in 1968.

In The return of the living dead (1985), Gulager played the boss of a medical supply warehouse who fights the undead. It was a job he was hesitant to take, he said. “I didn’t particularly want to do it,” he recalled in 2017. “I thought I was a little bit above that. And it turns out, if you remember me, that’s what I’ll be remembered for… I killed 18 zombies and then they came back and bombed me!

Gulager appeared in another terrifying and remarkable movie from 1985, Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge. Later, he played a shotgun-wielding bartender in the horror film. Feast (2005) and its two direct-to-video sequels, then worked on piranha 3d (2012). Those four films were directed by his son John.

Clu Gulager with Norman Fell (center) and Lee Marvin in ‘The Killers’.

Universal Pictures/Photofestival

William Martin Gulager was born on November 16, 1928, in Holdenville, a wooded town about 75 miles from Oklahoma City. His father, John, was a Broadway actor who became a county judge, and his mother, Hazel, worked for the Veterans Administration. His second cousin was Will Rogers.

His father’s nickname for him was derived from the clu-clu birds, known in English as martins, that nested around the family home. After high school and service in the US Marine Corps, Gulager attended Northeastern State College and Baylor University, where he received a scholarship to study in Paris with famed actor and mime Jean Louis Barrault (the children of paradise) before graduating in 1956.

He worked on live television in New York on shows like General, America’s Steel Hour Y Goodyear Playhouse before moving to Los Angeles in 1959. He appeared in Wanted dead or alive, Have a Gun – Will TravelY Laramie and was hired for The tall man after MCA boss Lew Wasserman saw him playing an Elvis-type character on CBS’ playhouse 90.

“I was a cowboy from Oklahoma. I put up the fences [around cattle] in the winter and in the summer, I was out in the field, looking out for rattlesnakes,” Gulager said in a 2019 interview. “And then later on, you move on and something comes over you, and you want to be an actor. Well, I could play a cowboy and it was easy for me to ride a pony and wear a hat.”

Future Universal and Columbia Pictures boss Frank Price, who had produced and written for The tall manhired Gulager to the virginian. “I was broke when I stepped on [that show]he said in 2014. “I had to ask Frank Price, who ran it, for a job. He fired an actor from the set and hired me. If I had known that he had fired someone, he would not have taken the job.”

In 1970, Gulager starred with Lloyd Bridges on the NBC drama. San Francisco International Airport, also produced by Price, but only lasted six episodes. It was winemaker Chase Gioberti in the 1981 pilot for falcon crest but replaced by Robert Foxworth when CBS picked up the show.

Gulager said he improvised a lot during the making of the neo-noir classic. The murderers. “I was surprised that Lee Marvin would let me do all those things, actually,” he said during an interview with Eddie Muller after a January 2020 screening of the film on TCM. black alley. “But the director wanted me to invent some things to [make the character] a psychotic, really a madman. So I tried to be okay with that.”

Gulager also appeared on shows like Dr Kildare, Bonanza, Mannix, Hawaii Five-O, Murder, she wrote, Walker, Texas Ranger Y The MacKenzies of Paradise Cove and in movies including the other side of midnight (1977), a force of one (1979), into the night (1985), I’m going to give you a blowjob (1988), the dicks (1990) and My heroes have always been cowboys (1991).

The directed a day with the boys (1969), which was nominated for the Palme d’Or for best short film at Cannes —and filmed by the great László Kovács— and taught acting at a workshop in Hollywood.

In addition to John and Diane, the survivors include their son Tom; Tom’s wife, Zoe; and grandson Clu.

He was married to singer and actress Miriam Byrd-Nethery from 1952 until her death in 2003.

“Clu was as loving as he was loyal and dedicated to his craft, a proud member of the Cherokee Nation, a sharp and cunning lawbreaker and always on the side of the downtrodden,” his family said. “He was good-humoured, an avid reader, gentle and kind. Loud and dangerous.

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