Whether he was preaching the repo code on an empty road in the middle of the night, talking murder investigations while drinking damn fine coffee on Twin Peaks, braving the shadows of the Nostromo or dealing with teen angst and prom dress shopping in Pretty in Pink, if you have a pulse and watch TV or have ever seen a movie, then you know Harry Dean Stanton.
The legendary character actor, who left us today at 91, showed his many faces in films like Alien; Alpha Dog; Christine; Cool Hand Luke; Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; Escape From New York; Paris, Texas; Pretty in Pink; Repo Man; The Godfather Part II; The Green Mile; and most recently Lucky, as well as TV series such as Twin Peaks and the controversial LDS polygamist drama Big Love. He rode into Gunsmoke, Rawhide and Bonanza in the '50s and '60s. He even voiced Brave Heart Lion in The Care Bears Movie. Meaning, this man could do anything and everything.
Not many actors can disappear into a character quite like Stanton could. He merged himself with memorable personas like Bud, Brain, Tramp, Travis Henderson, and Carl Rodd in a way that he wasn't just playing the character, but was the character.
I shamefully admit that my first memories of Stanton are from Pretty in Pink, but what else would you expect from a girl who grew up during the '80s and '90s? Andie's dad tried, he really did, and Stanton was just so sincere in this role you couldn't help but want to hug him a million times over even when his daughter was having an angsty moment. Then I finally got old enough to watch Alien and saw a much darker side of him before Brett was forever silenced by a xenomorph.
The Twitterverse has paid Stanton a poignant tribute with everything from Joss Whedon's testament to the film and TV icon to Stephen King's unforgettable quoting of his character in Christine. Rest in power, Travis.
And I just couldn't leave this out...