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Harry Dean Stanton (1926 – 2017), prolific actor with cult following

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By: notable

Published: 11 months ago

Harry Dean Stanton, the actor known for roles in movies including "Repo Man" and "Cool Hand Luke" as well as for the TV show "Big Love," died Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, according to the Associated Press. He was 91.

Born July 24, 1926, in West Irvine, Kentucky, Stanton grew up singing and faced an early decision between music and acting. Acting won, but many years of struggle would pass before Stanton would become a household name.


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His first movie roles came in the mid-1950s: an uncredited part in "The Wrong Man" and turns in "Tomahawk Trail" and "The Proud Rebel" as Dean Stanton. He appeared on several TV shows, including "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." He began attracting notice in higher-profile movies such as "Aliens," "Private Benjamin" and "Escape From New York," but it was with 1984's "Paris, Texas" that he rose to star status.

"Paris, Texas" stars Stanton as a wanderer with amnesia who finds and reconnects with his family. Directed by Wim Wenders, the film proved extremely well-received, winning the Palme d'Or at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival and the BAFTA Award for best director. It holds an impressive 100 percent fresh rating on the movie review site RottenTomatoes.com.

After the success of "Paris, Texas," more notable roles followed for Stanton. He starred in the cult classic "Repo Man" and played a hard-to-love father in "Pretty in Pink." He had roles in "The Last Temptation of Christ," "Wild at Heart," "The Green Mile" and dozens more. In 2006, Stanton took a prominent TV role on the HBO drama "Big Love," playing the megalomaniacal leader of a polygamous sect.

Stanton has been honored with the annual Harry Dean Stanton Film Festival in Lexington, Kentucky. He was the subject of the 2013 documentary "Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction."

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