Actor “Virginian”, “Return of the Living Dead” was 93 years old – The Hollywood Reporter

Clu Gulager, a real Oklahoma cowboy known for his passions Tall man, Virginian, The last photo show and horror movies, incl The return of the living dead, died. He was 93 years old.

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

Gulager also played the protégé killer Charlie Strom (Lee Marvin) killed by a mob boss (Ronald Reagan) at Don Siegel’s The killers (1964), a racing mechanic alongside Paul Newman in Victorious (1969) and a detective working alongside John Wayne in John Sturges McQ (1974).

He recently appeared on the big screen in such critical favorites as Tangerine (2015) Blue Jay (2016) and Quentin Tarantino Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019).

Gulager’s performance in The killers persuaded Peter Bogdanovich to cast him as Abilene, the Kaddish oilfield foreman who had made love to the Ellen Burstyn character and seduced Jacy Farrow Cybill Shepherd in an abandoned pool hall, in The last photo show (1971).

Part Cherokee, playful Gulager took the stage in September 1960 when he played Billy the Kid alongside Barry Sullivan as Pat Garrett on the NBC show Tall man. Two seasons later, the show was canceled in part because Congress objected to the notorious outlaw Billy being “inaccurately” portrayed as a hero to young viewers.

“But they left Untouchables on, which was very brutal, “Gulager noted in an interview in 2015. “I played a character in” Mad Dog “Coll [in 1959] where I shot a horse in a horse race, killed a little boy in Brooklyn, and cut off the bartender’s fingers. But they left it on because they thought this program was historically accurate.

After a guest appearance on two episodes of NBC Virginian, Gulager 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 portrayed the head of a medical supply warehouse who fights the undead. He said it was a job he refused to accept. “I didn’t really want to do this,” he recalled in 2017. “I thought I was a bit above that. And it turned out that if I was remembered at all, I would be remembered for that … I killed 18 zombies, and then they came back and blew me off!

Gulager appeared in another scary and noteworthy 1985 film, A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge. He later starred in a horror film a bartender armed with a shotgun Feast (2005) and its two sequels directly into the video, then worked in Piranha 3DD (2012). His son John directed these four films.

Clu Gulager with Norman Fell (center) and Lee Marvin in “The Killers”.

Universal photos / fotofest

William Martin Gulager was born on November 16, 1928 in Holdenville, a wooded town about 120 kilometers outside of Oklahoma City. His father, John, was a Broadway actor turned county judge, and his mother, Hazel, worked for the Veterans Administration. His second cousin was Will Rogers.

His dad’s nickname for him came from the clu-clu birds – known in English as martins – that nested in the family home. After graduating from high school and serving with the US Marine Corps, Gulager attended Northeastern State College and Baylor University, where he received a scholarship to study in Paris with the famous actor and mime Jean Louis Barrault (Children of Paradise) before graduation in 1956

He has worked on live TV in New York on programs such as: Omnibus, The Hour of Steel in the United States and Goodyear Playhouse before moving to Los Angeles in 1959. He appeared on Wanted, dead or alive, Have a gun – Will Traveland Laramie and was hired for Tall man after MCA boss Lew Wasserman saw him playing an Elvis-type character on CBS Cottage 90.

“I was a cowboy from Oklahoma. I was riding on the fences [around cattle] in winter and summer I was out in the field looking for rattlesnakes, ‘said Gulager in a 2019 interview. “And then you go on and you get overwhelmed and you want to become an actor. Well, I could play cowboy and it was easy for me to ride a pony and wear a hat.

The head of Future Universal and Columbia Pictures, Frank Price, who produced and wrote for Tall manhired Gulager for Virginian. “I was broke when I got in [that show]”He said in 2014. “I had to ask Frank Price who was running her for a job. He fired the actor from the set and hired me. If I had known he had fired someone, I wouldn’t have accepted the job. “

In 1970, Gulager starred with Lloyd Bridges in the NBC drama San Francisco International Airport, also produced by Price, but only ran for six episodes. He was the winemaker of Chase Gioberti in the pilot of 1981 for Falcon coat of arms but replaced by Robert Foxworth when the show was picked up by CBS.

Gulager said he improvised a lot when creating the neo-noir classic The killers. “I was surprised that actually Lee Marvin allowed me to do all of this,” he noted in an interview with Eddie Muller after the film’s screening at TCM in January 2020. Black Avenue. “But the director wanted me to think of a few things to … [make the character] psychotic, really crazy. So I tried to come to terms with it.

Gulager also appeared at shows such as Dr. Kildare, Luck, Mannix, Hawaii Five-O, Murder, she wrote, Walker, Texas Ranger and MacKenzie from Paradise Cove and in films, incl. The other side of the North (1977) The strength of the One (1979) Until the night (1985) I’m gonna suck you (1988) Willies (1990) i My heroes have always been cowboys (1991).

Directed A day with the boys (1969), who was nominated for the Palme d’Or for the best short film in Cannes – and made by the great László Kovács – and taught acting at a workshop in Hollywood.

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

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

“Clu was as caring as he was loyal and devoted to his craft, a proud member of the Cherokee nation, a rule-breaker, quick-witted and quick-witted, and always on the side of the oppressed,” his family noted. “He was a cheerful, avid reader, affectionate and kind. Loud and dangerous.

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