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William Eugene Burrows (November 30, 1945 – June 24, 2019), known professionally by his stage name Billy Drago, was an American television and film actor. Drago's films, in which he was frequently cast as a villain, included Clint Eastwood's western Pale Rider and Brian De Palma's The Untouchables. He also had recurring roles in the television series The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. and Charmed.
William Eugene Burrows
November 30, 1945
Hugoton, Kansas, U.S.
|Died||June 24, 2019 (aged 73)|
(m. 1980; died 2012)
|Children||2, including Darren E. Burrows|
Burrows was born in Hugoton, Kansas, the son of William Franklin Burrows Jr., and Gladys Marie Wilcox (1918–1990) on November 30, 1945. His maternal lineage was of Romany descent and his paternal lineage was Native American. He later took his grandmother's maiden name "Drago" as his stage name to avoid being confused with another actor. Growing up, his parents would drop him off at the movie theater often in their rural town.
After leaving high school he started out as a journalist for the Associated Press, and later became a popular voice on radio that took him first to Canada then to New York City. After a brief stint with a touring theater group, he worked as a stuntman at Boot Hill in Dodge City, Kansas. From there he went on to the University of Kansas. After finishing college, he joined an acting company.
Drago began his acting career in 1979. His early films included No Other Love, Windwalker and the Jeff Bridges vehicle Cutter's Way. He went on to guest star in numerous television series, including Hill Street Blues, Moonlighting, Walker Texas Ranger and Trapper John, M.D..
The role that brought his career international prominence was as the gangster assassin Frank Nitti in Brian De Palma's 1987 blockbuster The Untouchables. Subsequently, Drago appeared in numerous films and television series including The X-Files and a recurring role as outlaw John Bly in The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.
In 1999 he began playing the demon Barbas in the WB series Charmed. Barbas was originally written as a villain of the week (in the episode "From Fear to Eternity"), but proved so popular with fans that he ultimately appeared in five of the show's eight seasons.
Drago was also featured in Michael Jackson's 2001 music video "You Rock My World,” and played a mysterious stranger who gives a boy a special key in the Mike + The Mechanics music video for "Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground)". Other notable projects include Gregg Araki's 2004 film Mysterious Skin, Pale Rider, the 2006 version of The Hills Have Eyes, Low Down, and Takashi Miike's Masters of Horror episode "Imprint", which Showtime chose not to air in the United States due to its "disturbing content."
|1979||The Chisholms||Teetontah / Teetonkah||TV mini-series|
|1979||No Other Love||Brian||TV movie|
|1981||Cutter's Way||Garbage Man|
|1982||Johnny Belinda||Cutter||TV movie|
|1984||Hunter||Roscoe Ganther||Episode: Pen "Pals"|
|1985||Pale Rider||Deputy Mather|
|Moonlighting||Gangster In Leather Coat||Episode: "My Fair David"|
|1986||Hunter||LeClair||Episode: "War Zone"|
|North and South, Book II||'Rat'||TV mini-series|
|1987||In Self Defense||Edward Reeves||TV movie|
|The Untouchables||Frank Nitti|
|1988||Hero and the Terror||Dr. Highwater|
|Freeway||Edward Anthony Heller|
|Dark Before Dawn||Cabalista Leader|
|Friday the 13th: the Series||Edgar Van Horne||Episode: "Read My Lips"|
|1989||True Blood||Billy 'Spider' Masters|
|1990||Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection||Ramon Cota|
|Martial Law 2: Undercover||Captain Krantz|
|1992||Secret Games||Mark Langford|
|Death Ring||Danton Vachs|
|The Outfit||'Lucky' Luciano|
|Deadly Heroes||Jose Maria Carlos|
|Cyborg 2||Danny Bench|
|1993–1994||The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.||John Bly||TV Series, 6 episodes|
|1994||Never Say Die||Reverend James|
|The Takeover||Daniel Stein|
|Mirror, Mirror III: The Voyeur||Anthony|
|Drifting School||Thomas King|
|1996||Blood Money||Agent Pierce|
|Mad Dog Time||Wells|
|Blue Devil, Blue Devil||Macintower|
|1997||Assault on Devil's Island||Carlos Gallindo|
|A Doll in the Dark||Keith|
|1999||Soccer Dog: The Movie||Damon Fleming, The Dog Catcher|
|Lima: Breaking the Silence||General Monticito Frantacino|
|1999–2004||Charmed||Barbas||TV Series, 6 episodes|
|2000||The X-Files||Orel Peattie||Episode: "Theef"|
|Very Mean Men||Dante|
|Mirror, Mirror IV: Reflection||Frederick Champion|
|2001||Death Game||'Shakes' Montrose|
|Welcome to America||Crazy Old Man|
|2004||Tremors 4: The Legend Begins||'Black Hand' Kelly|
|Fort Doom||Mr. Fallow|
|2006||Masters of Horror||Christopher||Episode: "Imprint"|
|The Hills Have Eyes||Papa Jupiter|
|Lime Salted Love||Zephyr's Stepdad|
|2007||El Muerto||The Old Indian|
|Moving McAllister||The Lady|
|Zombie Hunters||Dr. Frankfurt|
|2008||Supernatural||'Doc' Benton||Episode: "Time Is on My Side"|
|Copperhead||Jesse Evans||TV movie|
|2009||Dark Moon Rising||Thibodeaux|
|Ghost Town||Reb Halland||TV movie|
|The Ritual||The Man In Black|
|2011||Children of the Corn: Genesis||Preacher|
|Balls to the Wall||Belthagor|
|2013||Night of the Templar||Shauna, The Chef|
|The Dance||The Stranger||Final film role|
- Lemonides, Alex (June 28, 2019). "Billy Drago, a Villain in Movies and on TV, Is Dead at 73". The New York Times. Retrieved June 29, 2019.
- Roffman, Michael (June 26, 2019). "R.I.P. Billy Drago, iconic character actor and The Untouchables villain, has died at 73". Yahoo! News. United States: Oath Inc.(Verizon Communications). Consequence of Sound. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
- Saperstein, Pat (June 26, 2019). "Billy Drago, 'Untouchables' Star, Dies at 73". Variety. Archived from the original on June 26, 2019. Retrieved May 13, 2021.
- "Billy Drago, Actor in 'The Untouchables,' Dies at 73". The Hollywood Reporter. Los Angeles: Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group (Valence Media). June 26, 2019.
- Haring, Bruce. "Billy Drago Dies: Hollywood 'Bad Guy' Character Actor Was 73". Deadline Hollywood. United States: Penske Media Corporation.
- Yasharoff, Hannah (June 27, 2019). "Reports: Billy Drago, actor in 1987 gangster movie 'The Untouchables,' dies at 73". USA Today. McLean, Virginia: Gannett Company. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
- Boucher, Ashley (June 26, 2019). "Billy Drago, Best Known for His Villainous Role in The Untouchables, Dead at 73". People. United States: Meredith Corporation. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
- Williams, Owen (November 18, 2011). "Interview: "I've been killed by great people!" – Billy Drago in conversation". The Void. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
- "Billy Drago Filmography". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. New York City. 2016. Archived from the original on March 7, 2016. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
- Canby, Vincent (June 3, 1987). "The Untouchables (1987) FILM: DeNIRO IN THE UNTOUCHABLES". The New York Times. New York City. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
- Colburn, Randall (June 27, 2019). "R.I.P. Billy Drago, Untouchables villain and prolific character actor". The A.V. Club. Chicago: The Onion, Inc. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
- Christian Long (June 26, 2019). "Effortlessly menacing character actor Billy Drago dies at 73". SyfyWire. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
- Collis, Clark (June 26, 2019). "Billy Drago, star of The Untouchables and Charmed, dies at age 73". Entertainment Weekly. United States: Meredith Corporation. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
- Lemonides, Alex (June 28, 2019). "Billy Drago, a Villain in Movies and on TV, Is Dead at 73". The New York Times. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
- Saperstein, Pat (June 27, 2019). "Billy Drago, 'Untouchables' Star, Dies at 73". Variety. United States: Variety Media, LLC. (Penske Media Corporation). Retrieved June 27, 2019.