The Gore 4 is sad to report that The Thing’s Richard Dysart, died on April 5 in Santa Monica, CA, at the age of 86, after a long illness. Born in Brighton, MA, Dysart served for four years in the Air Force during the Korean War. Some of his television credits include All in the Family, Baretta, Columbo and Lou Grant. He also voiced the character of Cogliostro in HBO’s animated Spawn. But he was best known to television audiences for his role as Leland McKenzie, the head of the firm on NBC’s L.A. Law. It was this role which nabbed Dysart four Emmy nominations, and for which he won as best supporting actor in 1992.
In film, Richard appeared in a number of memorable movies, such as The Hindenburg, the nature-gone-amok, Prophecy, from 1978, Being There and Clint Eastwood’s Pale Rider. But the Gore 4 will always treasure him most for his role as Dr. Copper in John Carpenter’s The Thing. Fighting against a shape-shifting alien, Dysart’s character appeared in scene after classic scene, perhaps the most memorable being the showstopping ‘Norris head’ sequence. Dysart becomes the second actor from The Thing we’ve lost, following Norris himself, Charles Hallahan, in 1997.