LOS ANGELES – US actor and musician Harry Dean Stanton, who starred in the cult film “Paris, Texas,” by Wim Wenders, died on Friday at age 91 in a Los Angeles hospital, his agent confirmed.
Stanton, a long-time and highly praised artist, leaves behind a brand new film, “Lucky,” which will be released in the United States later this month and which according to critics contains one of the best interpretations of his career.
Harry Dean Stanton was born in 1926 in West Irvine, Kentucky, and served as a cook for US troops in World War II.
Upon his return to the United States, Stanton studied at the University of Kentucky before moving to California to launch his acting career.
For years he accumulated countless character roles, which in the end would become his specialty, but he had to wait until the 80s, when, already a veteran actor, he got leading roles which earned him great recognition from the public.
The German director Wim Wenders signed him to star in “Paris, Texas,” which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for his thoughtful and melancholy reflection from a man who wanders through the desert without remembering who he is.
“Paris, Texas” featured a script by the recently deceased Sam Shepard and a memorable soundtrack by Ry Cooder.
With a sharp and mysterious face and a powerful presence on the screen, Stanton participated in other films, with more or less secondary roles, such as Ridley Scott’s “Alien” (1979); John Carpenter’s “Rescue in New York” (1981); “Pretty in Pink” (1986), written by John Hughes; and Martin Scorsese’s “Last Temptation of Christ” (1988).
As a supporting actor, Stanton also became a favorite of other prestigious filmmakers such as Paolo Sorrentino (“A Place to Stay,” 2011), Francis Ford Coppola (“Godfather II,” 1974) and “Heart Beat,” 1981), Sam Peckinpah (“Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid,” 1973) or Frank Darabont (“The Green Mile,” 1999).
And David Lynch was one of the directors who required his services assiduously.
Stanton starred in his films “Wild Heart” (1990), “Twin Peaks: The Journal of Laura Palmer” (1992), “A True Story” (1999) and in the “Inland Empire” (2006) which was released the same year.
In 2012, the documentary “Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction” by Sophie Huber was presented, reviewing the career of an actor who may not have shone as a big Hollywood star but whose work and talent were highly respected within American cinema.
Stanton, who was friends with Jack Nicholson and Bob Dylan, also excelled in the world of music as a reputed guitarist and singer.
US author Stephen King reacted on his Twitter account with: “Harry Dean Stanton had the best line in CHRISTINE: “I’m selling’ this shithole and buyin’ a condo.” Rest in peace, HD. You were great.”