Harry Dean Stanton, Enduring ‘Repo Man,’ ‘Alien,’ ‘Twin Peaks’ Actor, Dies at 91

Actor’s career spanned more than six decades

harry dean stanton
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Harry Dean Stanton, who worked in Hollywood for over 60 years, died Friday afternoon, his agent confirmed. He was 91.

The actor passed away at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles from natural causes.

“Stanton was beloved in the entertainment industry and quickly earned a reputation as a true pro among directors and his fellow actors with his meticulous preparation and easygoing, adaptable personality,” his agent John S. Kelly said in a statement to TheWrap.

The Kentucky native’s IMDb page lists almost 200 acting credits, with some of his best known films including “Alien,” “The Green Mile,” “Pretty in Pink,” and “Paris, Texas.”

Before becoming a prolific character actor, Stanton served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, fighting in the Battle of Okinawa.

According to Kelly, Stanton first began acting after appearing on stage in a University of Kentucky production of “Pygmalion.” He then moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in Hollywood.

Stanton worked consistently in television and film beginning in 1957 with his first on-screen film role in “Tomahawk Trail.” He earned a lot of supporting roles in popular television shows such as “Gunsmoke,” “Bonanza” and “The Untouchables.”

He continued to appear in Westerns and other gritty classic films in the 1960s and ’70s, including “Cool Hand Luke,” “The Godfather: Part II” and “The Missouri Breaks.” Many filmgoers recognize him as Brett from the original “Alien,” where he fell victim to a Xenomorph after following a cat deep into the ship.

The 1980s and ’90s saw a big turn in Stanton’s career as he began to be cast against type. For example, he played a suburban dad in the John Hughes classic “Pretty in Pink” and a scientist in “Escape from New York.” The ’80s saw some of Stanton’s biggest roles, which included “Paris, Texas” and the cult film “Repo Man.”

He was often a favorite of director David Lynch, who cast him as a private investigator in “Wild at Heart” and as Carl Rodd in “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.”

“The great Harry Dean Stanton has left us,” Lynch said in a statement released by Showtime. “There went a great one. There’s nobody like Harry Dean. Everyone loved him.”

Despite entering his fifth decade in the business, he only continued to take on more roles. He appeared as the polygamist patriarch Roman Grant in the HBO series “Big Love” and as Balthazar in the Johnny Depp-starring animated film “Rango.”

Stanton also had a memorable cameo in the first “Avengers,” where he played a security guard that confronted Bruce Banner.

He most recently returned to work with Lynch on “Twin Peaks: The Return,” where he reprised his role. His final performance will be in “Lucky,” where he’ll star as a 90-year-old atheist. The film is set to be released later this month. He’ll be starring alongside Lynch.

Stanton also spent his time playing music, playing guitar and singing. For years, he fronted the Harry Dean Stanton Band.

Stanton is survived by family and friends.