Alien actor Harry Dean Stanton dies at 91

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Sep 15, 2017

Actor Harry Dean Stanton has died at the age of 91, TMZ reports.

According to the site, the actor died peacefully this afternoon at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles.

In a career spanning six decades, Stanton, who was born in Irvine, Kentucky, was known for his roles in sci-fi classics such as Alien (1979) and Escape From New York (1981), as well as The Godfather Part II (1974) and many acclaimed titles.

In addition to his impressive acting resume, Stanton was a United States Navy veteran of World War II and served as a cook aboard an LST during the Battle of Okinawa.

Most recently, Stanton can be seen playing Carl Rodd in the newly revived Twin Peaks. His final performance will be in the movie Frank and Ava (2017), which is currently in post-production.

The son of Sheridan Harry Stanton, a tobacco farmer and barber, and Ersel, a hairdresser, Stanton got his first taste for acting while performing at the Guignol Theatre at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. He was encouraged by the theatre teacher to leave the university – where he was studying journalism and radio arts – to become an actor. He then studied at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, California.

Stanton had his lead breakthrough role in Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas (1984) after he met the film's screenwriter, playwright Sam Shepherd, in a bar in New Mexico. At that point in his career, Stanton already had an extensive list of television credits under his belt, including appearances on CBS shows like Gunsmoke and Rawhide.

Other notable credits include appearing in two Stephen King movie adaptations, Christine (1983) and The Green Mile (1999). His next movie to be released will be Lucky (scheduled for a Sept. 29 release), in which he plays the lead role of a 90-year-old atheist set to go on a spiritual journey. The film is directed by John Carroll Lynch and also stars film director David Lynch.

As well as starring in Twin Peaks, Stanton also worked with Lynch on Wild at Heart (1990) and The Straight Story (1999).

In 2013, Stanton gave an interview to U.K. newspaper The Guardian and he was told how Lynch had praised his acting style, saying he is "always there – whatever 'there' needs to be." Stanton responded: "I guess he was talking about being still and listening. Being attentive even when it's not your line,” he said, before adding: “I just surrender to it in much the same way I surrender to life. It's all one big phantasmagoria anyway. In the end I've really got nothing to do with it. It just happens, and there's no answer to it."

The Hollywood Reporter reports that Lynch made the following comment on the passing of his friend and colleague:

"The great Harry Dean Stanton has left us," Lynch said in a statement. "There went a great one. There's nobody like Harry Dean. Everyone loved him. And with good reason. He was a great actor (actually beyond great) — and a great human being — so great to be around him!!! You are really going to be missed Harry Dean!!! Loads of love to you wherever you are now!!!"