The world of cinema and television horror recently lost a trio of actors who had long and accomplished careers with a variety of roles, many in the genre we hold so dear.
On March 30, Robert Z’dar died of cardiac arrest at the age of 64 in Pensacola, Florida. Robert, instantly recognizable for his massive jaw, was best known for playing the virtually unstoppable zombie policeman, Matt Cordell, in the beloved series of Maniac Cop films. He also played a serial killer in the original Night Stalker, gave Sylvester Stallone a memorable pummeling in Tango & Cash and had roles in over 120 films, including a reprisal of his character, Yamashita, in his apparent last film, the sequel, Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance. Robert was a frequent and popular guest on the convention circuit. The Gore 4 will always remember him munching on some chicken wings at a Chiller Theatre in Secaucus, NJ a number of years ago.
On April 2, veteran actor Tom Towles died in Pinellas, Florida from complications following a stroke, at the age of 65. Starting in Chicago theater, Towles first gained notoriety with horror audiences when he played the murderous Otis in the controversial Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, opposite Michael Rooker, in 1986. From there, he went on to various TV appearances in everything from Seinfeld and NYPD Blue to two Star Trek series and Joss Whedon’s short-lived classic, Firefly. In 1990, he played the role of the sniveling Harry Cooper in Tom Savini’s underrated Night of the Living Dead remake. More recently, Towles was cast in Rob Zombie’s films, from House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects, to his Halloween remake.
Lastly, longtime character actor, Geoffrey Lewis, died on April 7 in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, CA. Lewis, father of actress Juliette Lewis, was a frequent player in Clint Eastwood’s films, from High Plains Drifter and Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, to Every Which Way is Loose and Any Which Way You Can. His TV credits are too numerous to mention, by they included such classic series as Gunsmoke, Mission: Impossible and The Six Million Dollar Man. Genre fans will also remember him for his roles in the films, Night of the Comet and The Lawnmower Man, The X-Files’ episode, Tithonus, and also Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects.
The Gore 4 would like to express their thoughts and sympathies to the families and friends of all three of these wonderful actors. And though they will be greatly missed, we’ll continue to enjoy their many memorable roles for years and years to come.