Billy Drago, who played Frank Nitti in Brian De Palma’s “The Untouchables,” died in Los Angeles on Monday from complications of a stroke, his agent confirmed to TheWrap. He was 73.
Born William Eugen Burrows Jr. in Kansas, Drago took his stage name from his grandmother’s maiden name. After a brief career as a radio host, he joined a theater company that took him to Canada and New York before starting his screen career in 1979 with the TV movie “No Other Love”
Drago had guest TV roles on shows like “Hill Street Blues” and “Walker, Texas Ranger,” and in 1985, he earned a role in Clint Eastwood’s “Pale Rider” as one of six corrupt deputies who meet their end at Eastwood’s gun. But it was in 1987 that Drago got his big break in “The Untouchables,” playing Al Capone’s ruthless right-hand man.
In the following years, Drago’s performance in that film would land him more villainous roles, including one in a 2000 episode of “The X-Files” and as the villainous outlaw John Bly in “The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.” But his most famous TV role was as the demon Barbas in “Charmed,” a role that was only intended for a single episode but was brought back six more times after rave reception from fans.
Later roles include “Tremors 4,” the 2006 remake of “The Hills Have Eyes,” and an appearance on the TV series “Supernatural.”