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Harry Dean Stanton dead: Legendary character actor dies at 91

Harry Dean Stanton, one of the most recognisable character actors in cinema, has died of natural causes at the age of 91.

The American star, whose unique look made him an instantly familiar on-screen presence, passed away in Los Angeles leaving behind a list of credits spanning over six decades.

Stanton starred in a whole range of classic films (Cool Hand Luke and Alien to name but a few) until his breakthrough lead role arrived in Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas in 1984 when he was 58.

He also crossed over to television familiar to many as cult leader Roman Grant on HBO drama Big Love which ran from 2006-11 and, most recently, in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks revival. He’d worked with the director previously on films Wild at Heart, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and Inland Empire.

His extensive list of credits include Repo Man, The Last Temptation of Christ, The Pledge and Pretty in Pink in which he played the father of Molly Ringwald’s lead character.

Stanton, whose Hollywood friends included Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson and Sam Shepard – who passed away earlier this year – will posthumously appear in Lucky which is set to premiere at the London Film Festival on 9 October.

Tributes have poured in for the late actor, from fans, friends, and those who worked with him.

A statement was issued by David Lynch via the official Twin Peaks Twitter account. 

Lynch said: “The great Harry Dean Stanton has left us. 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 wherever you are now!!!”

Stephen King wrote: “Harry Dean Stanton had the best line in CHRISTINE: “I’m sellin’ this shithole and buyin’ a condo.” Rest in peace, HD. You were great.”

The official Tribeca Twitter account observed: “Robert Ebert once said: “‘No movie featuring Harry Dean Stanton can be altogether bad.’ That is the power of a truly extraordinary actor.”

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