A Tribute to Charles Napier (1936-2011)

The world lost one of its all-time greatest character actors/”That Guys” when Charles Napier passed away on October 5, 2011 at the age of 75. Napier’s career dated back all the way to 1968 and he managed to build up one of the more prolific filmographies of all time with nearly 200 credits to his name. Napier was the consummate working actor who was often cast as tough, square-jawed characters and liked to split his time between A-list Hollywood productions and B-movies. He started out his career by acting in numerous films by sexploitation director Russ Meyer, such as Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and Supervixens, and eventually became a favourite of director Jonathan Demme. You’d always anticipate the obligatory Charles Napier appearance in a Jonathan Demme film the same way you’d look forward to Dick Miller’s obligatory appearance in a Joe Dante flick, and one of Napier’s most famous roles was as the guard who gets beaten to death by Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs.

Napier also had numerous TV appearances to his name, including an early role on the infamous “The Way to Eden” episode of Star Trek and was the voice of Duke Phillips on the criminally underrated and short-lived animated series, The Critic. He even provided some of the Hulk’s growling sounds on episodes of The Incredible Hulk! Other notable films Charles Napier acted in include The Blues Brothers, Austin Powers 1 & 2 and Ernest Goes to Jail, but my favourite Napier role is probably as crooked bureaucrat Murdock in Rambo: First Blood Part II. I just love Napier’s look of pure terror during the famous “Murdock… I’m going to get YOU!!!” scene. R.I.P., you will be missed.

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