Bo Hopkins, star of classic films such as American Graffiti and The Wild Bunch, has passed away age 84 on Saturday, May 28 at Valley Presbyterian Hospital in California.
Although no cause of death was revealed the star reportedly suffered a heart attack on May 9. A statement on Hopkins’ website confirmed his passing.
“It is with great sadness that we announce that Bo has passed away,” the statement read.
“Bo loved hearing from his fans from around the world and although he was unable to respond to every email over the last few years, he appreciated hearing from each and every one of you.”
Hopkins was born on February 2, 1938 in Greenville, South Carolina. Following a somewhat troubled childhood and a stint in the military, Hopkins pursued his interest in acting at the Desilu Playhouse
His first major film role was in the western classic, The Wild Bunch where he starred alongside notable Hollywood heavyweights such as Ernest Borgnine and William Holden. He went on to portray the intimidating leader of the Pharaoh’s in the iconic 1973 film American Graffiti, a role he is widely recognised for to this day.
In a 2012 interview with Shock Cinema magazine Hopkins said “American Graffiti is the national anthem of car shows” while reflecting on the iconic film.
“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,” he said.
Hopkins became well known for his supporting roles in a number of major studio productions such as 1972’s The Getaway with Steve McQueen and 1975’s The Killer Elite alongside James Caan.
He also made a number of notable appearances in a number of popular television shows including Charlie’s Angels, Fantasy Island, The Rockford Files, and Murder She Wrote.
Hopkins received his Star on the Western Walk of Stars on April 23, 2017.
Following the news of Hopkins’ passing, tributes poured in from the entertainment community.
American actor and director Ron Howard, who starred alongside Hopkins in American Graffiti, said Hopkins was an “authentic actor and more importantly a terrific guy”.
RIP Bo Hopkins. I acted with Bo and directed him as well. He was an honest and authentic actor and more importantly a terrific guy who spoke the truth with kindness and integrity. Those of us who knew Bo can count ourselves lucky. https://t.co/TkzZrN4IUs
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) May 29, 2022
Journalist Bilge Ebiri called Hopkins “an unforgettable screen presence”.
Bo Hopkins was an unforgettable screen presence, as if James Dean had been reincarnated as an unhinged character actor. I loved him. Rest In Peace. https://t.co/QIegJsovPb
— Bilge Ebiri (@BilgeEbiri) May 28, 2022
Film critic Sean Burns said Hopkins’ appearances in The Rockford Files were his “favourites”.
RIP Bo Hopkins, the last of The Wild Bunch and leader of The Pharaohs. His Rockford Files episodes were always my favorites. pic.twitter.com/b5FanGESbj
— Sean Burns (@SeanMBurns) May 28, 2022
Hopkins is survived by his wife Sian and his children Matthew and Jane.