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SYFY WIRE obituary

Nightmare on Elm Street actor John Saxon dead at 83

By Don Kaye
John Saxon

John Saxon, who starred in three movies in the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise as police officer Don Thompson, passed away on Saturday (July 25) at the age of 83.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Saxon died of pneumonia in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Saxon was born Carmine Orrico on Aug. 5, 1936 in Brooklyn, the eldest of three children of an Italian immigrant house painter. Saxon's looks gave him the opportunity to play a range of ethnicities onscreen, ranging from a Mexican bandit in 1966's Appaloosa (which earned him a Golden Globe) to a Middle Eastern tycoon in the original Dynasty TV series.

But horror fans best remember him from his trio of turns in the original 1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street, 1987's A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and 1994's Wes Craven's New Nightmare.

His other horror credits include the first version of Black Christmas (1974), in which he also played a cop, and Rod Serling's Night Gallery series, while his sci-fi resume includes the movies Queen of Blood and Battle Beyond the Stars, as well as the TV movies Planet Earth (a pilot for a series developed by Gene Roddenberry) and Strange New World.

Action fans remember Saxon as the gambler Roper in the 1973 martial arts classic Enter the Dragon, opposite the late Bruce Lee.  

Saxon got his start as a male model after a talent agent spotted him coming out of a movie theater. From there he jumped to acting roles in films as diverse as The Unguarded Moment (1956), Cry Tough (1959), Joe Kidd (1972) and Beverly Hills Cop III (1994).

Saxon was married three times and is survived by his third wife, Gloria, his sons Antonio and Lance, a grandson named Mitchell and a great-grandson named John.

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