Why Harry Dean Stanton Is The Greatest Character Actor

Harry Dean Stanton is one of the all-time great character actors in American film. Today, he celebrates his 91st birthday with the release of his film Lucky. It’s his first starring role since Paris, Texas in 1984. In fact, he has been a supporting actor in every film appearance except for these two. Fans have seen him featured in Twin Peaks this summer, and his director pal David Lynch also co-stars with him in Lucky.

But true die-hard cinephiles and movie buffs recognize Stanton from many wonderful and offbeat films from the 70s and 80s. He’s one of the most prolific cult movie actors, appearing in Escape From New York, Red Dawn and Repo Man in the 1980s. He’s worked opposite Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman and Paul Newman, to name a few, all of whom won Oscars and achieved superstardom. But Stanton isn’t bitter about not being as rich and famous as he could be. He turned down opportunities to become a huge star because he just didn’t want to work himself to death.

His legacy is notable enough that he has his own special place in movie history. The late Roger Ebert once wrote than any film that featured Harry Dean Stanton “couldn’t be all bad.” This tribute reinforces that claim and combines interviews with Stanton to reveal a man enamored with Eastern thought and philosophy. "It's all a movie," Stanton says about life in this video essay, "And there you are."

/YT, Jul 14, 2017.


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