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SYFY WIRE obituary

Sid Haig, Rob Zombie's Captain Spaulding and horror icon, dies at 80

By Jacob Oller
Sid Haig Getty

House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil's Rejects, and 3 From Hell’s Captain Spaulding is gone. Sid Haig, a character actor whose career was so long and prolific that his star-making turn in Rob Zombie’s horror trilogy began when he was 64 years old, has died at age 80. According to his wife, Susan L. Oberg, Haig died over the weekend on Sept. 21.

Haig, who made the clown-dressed Spaulding an iconic figure in the horror world, was also a longtime TV villain — genre shows like Batman, Get Smart, Mission: Impossible, Charlie's Angels, Jason of Star Command, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and more felt his day player wrath as a heavy. 

His film career began similarly, with blaxploitation roles and supporting turns in Roger Corman and Jack Hill’s horror, noir, and sci-fi adding up to more than 50 film appearances. George Lucas’ THX 1138 and Sean Connery’s penultimate James Bond outing Diamonds Are Forever are standouts among films like Blood Bath, Galaxy of Terror, and Beyond Atlantis.

After revitalizing his career thanks to House of 1000 Corpses, and teaming twice with Quentin Tarantino (in Jackie Brown and Kill Bill Volume 2), Haig did a run of horror films well-skewed for his newfound fandom, including Hatchet 3, Death House, and Night of the Living Dead 3D

While Haig was meant to star in Zombie’s latest, 3 From Hell, as it continued the story of Spaulding’s Firefly family, the director recently revealed that because of health issues, Haig needed to be replaced in the majority of the film by actor Richard Brake. 

“But three weeks out from shooting, I got a call from Sid Haig,” Zombie said. “He had been in the hospital, and he had just had surgery, and he was now recovering in a rehabilitation facility. I’m like, holy s**t, this is a serious business. So, I went to see him, and he had changed drastically from the last time I saw him. Because Sid, he’s big and burly, and now he’s tiny as a skeleton. So, I was like, oh man. I kind of realized, yeah, he’s in rough shape.”

Haig’s final appearance will be in the upcoming horror film Abruptio.