Wild Bunch and American graffiti actor Bo Hopkins dies at 80

Wild Bunch and American graffiti actor Bo Hopkins dies at 80

Hopkins would work with Peckinpah again in 1972’s “The Getaway” and would continue to cast interesting roles alongside talented filmmakers for the rest of his career. In the 90s, he appeared in Oliver Stone’s thriller “U Turn”, then in Richard Linklater’s “The Newton Boys” a year later. Although Hopkins was often a talented supporting player, he rarely took center stage in major lead roles.

He was always memorable, though, like in movies like 1973’s “White Lightning,” where the actor plays Southern moonrunner Rebel Roy opposite Burt Reynolds. Oddly enough, many of the actor’s most popular roles see him playing colorful characters with distinctive nicknames, like CIA agent Tex in “Midnight Express.” The actor himself went by Bo rather than William, taking the name from his first off-Broadway play, “Bus Stop.”

Like many actors of his era, Hopkins got his start in television and returned to the medium for a number of TV movies as well as recurring roles on some of the hottest shows of the day. Guest spots on ‘Gunsmoke’ and ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ were among the actor’s earliest screen appearances, while he later played geologist Matthew on the soap opera ‘Dynasty’ and appeared as a lawyer in an arc on “The Rockford Files.”

Hopkins’ last on-screen role came in 2020, when he played JD Vance’s grandfather in the film adaptation of the book “Hillbilly Elegy.” In a big full-loop moment, the film was directed by Ron Howard, who appeared alongside Hopkins decades earlier on “The Andy Griffith Show” and “American Graffiti.”

The actor’s cause of death has not been confirmed. According to Variety, he is survived by his wife of 32 years, Sian Eleanor Green; his son, Matthew Hopkins and his daughter, Jane Hopkins.

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