James Karen, ‘Poltergeist’ and ‘Return of the Living Dead’ Actor, Dies at 94

Karen had credits in over 200 films and TV shows

Last Updated: October 24, 2018 @ 3:41 PM

James Karen, who starred in over 200 films and TV shows including “Poltergeist,” died Tuesday at the age of 94.

Karen is best known as Mr. Teague, the infamous real estate developer who built a suburb community over a graveyard, angering the spirits who laid there. In the film’s horrific climax, Steven Freeling, played by Craig T. Nelson, grabs Teague and hysterically yells, “You only moved the headstones!”

Karen also starred in the cult film “Return of the Living Dead,” where he played the manager of a medical warehouse who accidentally releases a gas that raises the dead in a nearby graveyard. He also had roles in films like “All The President’s Men,” “Mulholland Drive,” and “The Pursuit of Happyness,” among many others.

On the TV side, Karen regularly appeared on the soap opera “As The World Turns” and got another role as a head honcho as the network executive Sheldon Davidoff in “The Larry Sanders Show.”

But his most infamous role was in “Little House: The Last Farewell,” the TV film that served as the series finale to “Little House on the Prairie.” In it, Karen played the greedy tycoon Nathan Lassiter, who shocks the people of Walnut Grove by buying up all the town’s land. After his purchase is upheld in court, the townspeople decides to blow up every building in town, scuttling Lassiter’s development plans.

Several actors took to Twitter to pay tribute to Karen.