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John Saxon (1936–2020), actor who starred in “Enter the Dragon,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street”

by Linnea Crowther

John Saxon was an actor known for roles in films including “Enter the Dragon” alongside Bruce Lee (1940 – 1973) and two of Wes Craven’s (1939 – 2015) “A Nightmare on Elm Street” movies.

Movies and TV

Saxon’s acting career began in the 1950s, with early roles including the films “Running Wild” (1955) and “The Unguarded Moment” (1956). He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance in “The Appaloosa” (1966), playing a Mexican bandit opposite Marlon Brando (1924 – 2004). In “Enter the Dragon,” Saxon played a martial arts competitor with Lee and Jim Kelly (1946 – 2013). He had a prominent role as a police lieutenant in “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984), returning in the franchise’s 1987 third installment to be killed by Freddy Krueger and reprising his role in “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare” (1994). Saxon was also frequently seen on TV, with recurring roles in “The Bold Ones,” “Dynasty,” “Falcon Crest,” and “Melrose Place,” as well as appearing on multiple episodes of shows including “Gunsmoke,” “The Six Million Dollar Man,” “The A-Team,” and “Murder, She Wrote.”

Saxon on why he liked working with Bruce Lee

“[H]e took me seriously. I would tell him I would rather do it this way, and he’d say, ‘OK, try it that way.” —from a 2012 interview with the Los Angeles Times

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What people said about him

Full obituary: Los Angeles Times

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