Bo Hopkins, American Graffiti and The Wild Bunch Star, Dies at 80

Posted 2022/05/29 7 0

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Veteran actor Bo Hopkins has reportedly passed away. Per The Hollywood Reporter, the actor, who was particularly popular in the 1970s with his roles in American Graffiti and many other popular films of the era, died on Saturday at Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys. According to his wife, Sian, Hopkins suffered a heart attack on May 9, contributing to the actor’s death. He was 84 years old.

Well known for often playing an antagonist, Hopkins famously played greaser gang leader Joe Young in the hit 1973 film American Graffiti. He was featured in a particularly memorable scene with Richard Dreyfuss with their characters sabotaging a police car with a hook. In the decades since, Hopkins’ involvement in the film has made him a big star at car shows. As the actor told Shock Cinema in 2012:

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“I go to car shows because American Graffiti is the national anthem of car shows. Graffiti got people out draggin’ and going up, and down streets cruisin’. It got people into cars doing that kind of stuff again. If I told you how many times people have come up to Candy [Clark], Paul [Le Mat] and me at these shows and told us that we’ve changed their lives, you wouldn’t believe it.”

Another one of Hopkins’ most appreciated roles came in the 1969 film The Wild Bunch. In that movie, Hopkins played a gang member who meets his fate during a bank robbery. Some of his other standout films from the 1970s include The Getaway, The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing, The Killer Elite, Posse, A Small Town in Texas, Midnight Express, and White Lightning, among many others. Of switching sides and playing a good guy in the horror sequel From Dusk till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money, which was produced by Quentin Tarantino, Hopkins previously told Shock Cinema:

“Tarantino told me that he loved my work and that he had this part. Well, I got the script and said, ‘Sure, I’ll do this. This is great.’ Well, they didn’t tell me they were going to shoot in South Africa.”

Bo Hopkins Was an Amazing Actor

While he had slowed down with his acting career over the past two decades, Hopkins had appeared sporadically in various films in the early aughts. This includes roles in A Crack in the Floor, Cowboy Up, Don’t Let Go, and The Road Home. His final role came in 2020 for the movie Hillbilly Elegy, a Netflix movie directed by Ron Howard that earned Gleen Close an Oscar nomination and also starred Amy Adams and Gabriel Basso. Hopkins played Papaw Vance, the grandfather of the main character (Basso).

Hopkins’ survivors include his wife, Sian, with whom he’d been married since 1989, as well as his children, Matthew and Jane. We would like to offer our condolences to the family at this difficult time. Rest in peace, Bo Hopkins, as your legacy continues to live on.


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