harry dean stanton alien

Harry Dean Stanton has stolen his last scene.  He was 91 years old when he died, of natural causes.  

His theatrical career stretched out over six decades.  Stanton was an actor and a musician, loved by fans and respected by his colleagues.

IMDB called Harry Dean Stanton “a true gem among character actors, and with an on-screen presence capable of adding that something extra to any production.”  Hollywood Reporter referred to him as “the character actor with the world-weary face who carved out an exceptional career playing grizzled loners and colorful, off-beat characters.”  No matter whether he was guest-starring as the villain in a black-and-white western or a beatnik reciting poetry or St. Paul or the security guard who informed Dr. Banner that he had a condition, Stanton had a knack for stealing every scene he was in.

Harry Dean Stanton acted on TV and in films, in every genre imaginable over the course of his 63-year career.  Naturally, this included science fiction and horror.

  • 1979 ** Alien ** Brett
  • 1981 ** Escape from New York ** Brain
  • 1983 ** Christine ** Detective Rudolph Junkins
  • 1984 ** Red Dawn ** Tom Eckert
  • 1992 ** Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me ** Carl Rodd
  • 2009 ** Alice ** Caterpillar
  • 2012 ** The Avengers **  Security Guard
  • 2017 ** Twin Peaks ** Carl Rodd
Harry Dean Stanton as Carl Rodd in TWIN PEAKS {image via Showtime}

“He was only in, I think, six episodes of the new season of Twin Peaks on Showtime, but his scenes were one of the highlights of the series.”  Gary Baum Wilkes, SCIFI.radio DJ

Before 1984, Harry Dean Stanton was one of those actors whose face was familiar, but you might not remember his name.  In 1984, the character actor finally got the starring role he he had long deserved, Travis Henderson in Paris, Texas. Since then he continued switching back and forth between supporting roles and starring roles, both TV and movies, playing such parts as Roman Grant in Big Love,  Toot-Toot in The Green Mile, Rip Van Winkle in Faerie Tale Theatre, and Lucky in Lucky.  Lucky is his second to last film, and will be released September 29, 2017.  

Movie reviewer Jennie Kermode suggested that the six Stanton films every fan must see are Paris, Texas, Repo Man, Alien, Wild at Heart, Escape from New York, and Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction.

He was the subject of two documentaries, Harry Dean Stanton: Crossing Mulholland (2011) and Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction (2012).

Harry Dean Stanton was born in West Irvine, Kentucky, July 14, 1926.  During WWII he served in the United States Navy as a cook aboard the Landing Ship Tank USS LST-970.  His ship participated in the Battle of Okinawa.  After the war, he returned to Kentucky and attended the University of Lexington.  He dropped out of college to pursue a theatrical career.  His first TV appearance was in 1954, in Inner Sanctum, and his first movie role was an uncredited cameo in Revolt at Fort Laramie in 1957. His final movie role will be Sheriff Lloyd in Frank and Ava, which is currently in post-production.

Harry Dean Stanton died of natural causes on September 15, 2017, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.


Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress ”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.