Actor Clu Gulager, veteran of classic Western and Horror films, has passed away of natural causes at the age of 93. Born William Martin Gulager in Holdenville, Oklahoma, USA. He worked as a cowhand on his uncle’s ranch before starring in westerns on television. He passed away August 5, 2022 of natural causes at the age of 93.

Gulager made his reputation as a leading man in westerns. He played Billy the Kid in The Tall Man and Emmett Ryker in The Virginian in the 1960s. He began a new career as a horror star in the 1980s. He played Dwight Fairchild in The Initiation (1984). Gulager will be best remembered for his portrayal of Burt Wilsonin the 1985 horror-comedy  The Return of the Living Dead ( 1985), and Mr. Walsh in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. He was Lt. Ed Flynn in The Hidden(1987). Gulager played Mason Rand in Hunter’s Blood (1986). He was Stanley Burnside in From a Whisper to a Scream(1987).

Clu Gulager and Lange Nightmare on Elm Street , August 23, 1995 {Photo by New Line/}

William Martin Gulager served in the United States Marine Corps from 1956-1948. He used his G.I. Bill of Rights to attendfirst Northeastern State College in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, then Baylor College in Waco, Texas, where he studied acting. He married actress Miriam Byrd-Nethery (Anne Sawyer in Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)). They had two sons, John and Tom. Miriam and Clu were married for fifty years, a long, happy marriage by Hollywood standards. She predeceased him in 2003.

His nickname Clu, was Cherokee. Clu-clu birds are the Cherokee name for martins, his middle name. He was an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, and first cousin once removed to the great Will Rogers (1879-1935)

Both Tom and John Gulager are actors. John is a cinematographer and director, as well as an actor. He directed his father in Feast, Feast II: Happy Seconds, Feast 3: The Happy Finish (2009 ) and Piranha3D (2012)

Clu Gulager won the Bronze Wrangler Award in 1966 for his TV western work. He was nominated for a Saturn Award in 1986 for Hunter’s Blood. Gulager wrote and directed A Day with the Boys (1969) for which he was nominated for the Palme d’Or for Best Short Film in 1970.

Clu Gulager’s legacy is more profound that most realize; he frightened and entertained tens of thousands of fans. He is survived by his sons and their families.


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’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.