Bo Hopkins, the actor who appeared in classics like “American Graffiti,” “The Wild Bunch,” “Midnight Express” and “The Getaway,” died Friday. He was 80 years old.
Hopkins’ death was confirmed on the actor’s official website.
“It is with great sadness that we announce that Bo has passed away,” read a statement on the website. “Bo loved hearing from his fans around the world and although he hasn’t been able to answer every email over the past few years, he has enjoyed hearing from all of you.”
The actor was born William Hopkins in Greenville, SC on February 2, 1942. He later changed his name to “Bo” in reference to the character he played in “Bus Stop,” his first off-Broadway play. After his father died when he was just nine years old, Hopkins was raised by his mother and grandmother. He later learned he was an adopted child and later met his birth parents.
He joined the US Army at the age of 16. After his military service, he decided to pursue an acting career and gained experience in summer productions and guest spots on several television episodes.
Well known for playing key supporting roles in a number of major studio films between 1969 and 1979, Hopkins made his feature film debut as “Crazy Lee” in the iconic 1969 western “The Wild bunch”. He was then hired by director Sam Peckinpah for another supporting role as a bank robber in “The Getaway” (1972). Hopkins went on to star in dozens of feature films, such as “White Lightning” (1973), “Posse” (1975), “The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing” (1973), “Midnight Express” (1978), “American Graffiti” (1973) and “The Bounty Hunter” (1989).
In addition to his film work, Hopkins’ television acting credits include guest stars in “The Rockford Files” (1974), “Charlie’s Angels” (1976), “The A-Team” (1983) , “Hotel” (1983) and “Matt Houston” (1982). He was also featured on “Dynasty” in 1981.
Although he started his career playing heavy-handed, easy-to-trigger cowboys or sadistic rednecks, he later moved into more “law-abiding” roles as he got older. In 2020, Hopkins appeared in his latest film, “Hillbilly Elegy,” directed by Ron Howard, his “American Graffiti” co-star.
Hopkins is survived by his wife of 32 years, Sian Eleanor Green; his son, Matthew Hopkins and his daughter, Jane Hopkins.