Holdenville, Oklahoma native Clu Gulager was an extremely busy and prolific actor (over 160 TV and movie credits) who worked right up to his death at 93 in August 2022. Even if he never quite graduated to the A list of Hollywood actors, he will always be remembered for starring roles in two iconic TV westerns, The Tall Man (1960-62), as Billy the Kid, and The Virginian (1963-68) as Sheriff Emmett Ryker as well as several cult movies. Among them are his feature film debut opposite Lee Marvin as a pair of sociopathic hit men in the 1964 remake of The Killers, directed by Don Siegel, The Return of the Living Dead (1985), Dan O’Bannon’s macabre zombie comedy, and A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985). Other notable roles include memorable parts in the Paul Newman racetrack drama Winning (1969), Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show (1971) and McQ (1974), a John Wayne cop thriller, but if American audiences had been given an opportunity to see him in the 1974 Swedish film Gangsterfilmen (U.S. title: Gangster Film aka A Stranger Came by Train), they would surely rank it right up there with his intimidating but off-the-wall performance in The Killers, which should have made him a major star.
Remember Big Jim McBob (Joe Flaherty) and Billy Sol Hurok (John Candy) as the hayseed hosts of “Farm Report” on the legendary SCTV comedy series? These farmer-turned-film-reviewers loved movies where people and things blew up and eventually their hog report turned into a talk show where they blew up famous celebrities every week like Meryl Streep, The Village People, Brooke Shields, singer Neil Sedaka or Dustin Hoffman as Tootsie. Well, these guys would love Rod Steiger in Hennessy (1975) because he blows up real good!