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Charles Lewis Napier (April 12, 1936 – October 5, 2011) was an American character actor in film and television, known for his prolific career playing memorable supporting and leading roles in genre cinema, often in the role of a cop, soldier, or authority figure.

Charles Napier
CharlesNapierApr08.jpg
Napier in April 2008
Born
Charles Lewis Napier

(1936-04-12)April 12, 1936
Mt. Union, Kentucky, U.S.
DiedOctober 5, 2011(2011-10-05) (aged 75)
Resting placeBakersfield National Cemetery
Alma materWestern Kentucky University
OccupationActor
Years active1968–2011
Children3

After leaving his Kentucky hometown to serve in the army, he graduated from college and worked as a sports coach and art teacher before settling on acting as a career. Napier established himself in character roles and worked steadily for the next 35 years. He made numerous collaborations with director Jonathan Demme, including roles in the critically acclaimed drama Philadelphia, comedy Married to the Mob, historical horror-drama Beloved, the political-thriller remake The Manchurian Candidate, and the Best Picture-winning psychological horror film adaptation The Silence of the Lambs.

Other notable roles include the short-tempered country singer Tucker McElroy in The Blues Brothers, gruff army Commander Gilmour in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, and bureaucratic CIA officer Marshall Murdock in Rambo: First Blood Part II. He also had numerous voiceover roles in television, most notably the character of Duke Phillips on the prime time animated sitcom The Critic and Agent Zed on Men in Black: The Series.

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Napier was born in Mt. Union,[1] Kentucky near Scottsville. His parents were Sara Lena (née Loafman; 1897–1974) and Linus Pitts Napier (1888–1991).[2] After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the United States Army in 1954, serving with the 11th Airborne Division and rising to the rank of sergeant.

After his service, he attended Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, graduating in 1961 with a major in art and minor in physical education. He wanted to be a basketball coach and his first job was as an assistant coach at his old high school in Allen County, coaching under Allen County legend James Bazzell. Soon after, he gave up coaching, eventually taking jobs with a bridge company and an advertising agency before moving to Clearwater, Florida to teach art at JFK Junior High School.

In 1964, he returned to attend graduate school at Western Kentucky where he was encouraged to pursue acting by instructor D. Russell Miller. Following some success in the local Alley Playhouse, Napier moved back to Florida where he continued to teach as well as act in community theater, eventually moving into Clearwater's Little Theatre as its live-in caretaker. During this time he also pursued painting.[1]

CareerEdit

After a spell in New York Napier moved to California. He acquired an agent and a union card (for a bit part in Mission: Impossible). His movie debut came about by accident. A girlfriend took Napier along when she went to audition for Russ Meyer, who cast Napier as the male lead in Cherry, Harry & Raquel!. In addition to acting and helping with the cameras when setting up shots, he did stunts, make up and driving on the film. After the low budget Moonfire, he worked as a journalist and photographer for Overdrive magazine for a few years; a strike sent him back to Hollywood in 1975 where, at age 39, he was reduced to living in his car in the parking lot of Meyer's office with no money, work or agent. He was summoned to Universal Studios to meet Alfred Hitchcock (who had just seen a print of Supervixens) and Napier was given a one-year contract.[1]

Napier became a prolific character actor, appearing regularly in TV series of the time, and a number of pilots. In 1977, he was cast as frontier scout Luther Sprague in the six-episode NBC western television series, The Oregon Trail. He appeared in two episodes of the 1980s hit TV series The A-Team as Col. Briggs. He also co-starred in two The Rockford Files episodes, and played Hammer in the series B.J. and the Bear in the 1970s. Napier as Wolfson Lucas was teamed with Rod Taylor again for the series Outlaws. He is known among Star Trek fans for appearing on both Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Way to Eden" as musically inclined space hippie Adam, and the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Little Green Men" as General Denning. He also appeared in the pilot episode of Knight Rider in 1982.[3]

The director of Citizen's Band, Jonathan Demme, was laudatory about Napier's abilities, and went on to cast him in several films including The Silence of the Lambs and, in what was Napier's favourite role of his career, a judge in Philadelphia. He played the bureaucratic CIA officer Marshall Murdock in Rambo: First Blood Part II. For the 1980 musical-comedy, The Blues Brothers, he portrayed the apoplectic Tucker McElroy, lead singer and driver of the Winnebago for "The Good Ol' Boys."[4]

Napier was in many advertisements. He performed a great deal of voice-over work in Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, The Critic, Men in Black: The Series, Squidbillies, and some of the Hulk's growls on the series The Incredible Hulk. He also provided several guest voices for episodes of The Simpsons.[3]

He had a small role during the sixth season of Curb Your Enthusiasm in 2008 as a barber who assaults and drives Larry David from his shop after David offends him. Napier appeared in the 2009 horror film Murder World alongside Scout Taylor-Compton. His last film role was in the 2009 comedy The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard opposite Jeremy Piven and James Brolin.

Prior to his death in October 2011, Napier published a book about his life and experiences in Hollywood, titled Square Jaw and Big Heart, with Dante W. Renzulli Jr. as co-author. The publisher of the book is BearManor Media of Albany, Georgia (ISBN 978-1-59393-624-2).[3][4]

Personal life and deathEdit

Napier was married twice. His first wife was Delores Wilson. After his divorce, he married Dee Napier.[2] Napier and his wife appeared on the Dr. Phil show in 2003 to discuss his obsession with being famous.[5] According to the Dr. Phil Show website, "Despite appearing in close to 100 films and countless hit TV shows, Charles Napier says he's depressed he's not a big star. His wife, Dee, says that instead of becoming upset when he gets rejected for a part, Charles should be grateful and proud of his 35-year career. She also thinks it's time he started making the family, not the pursuit of fame, his priority."

Napier and his second wife had two children, Hunter and Meghan; he also had a son, Chuck, from his previous marriage.[1]

Napier died on October 5, 2011, after collapsing the previous day.[6] He was 75 years old. The exact cause of death was not released, but Napier had been treated for deep vein thrombosis in his legs in May 2010.[7]

FilmographyEdit

FilmEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1969 The House Near the Prado Unknown1 Swedish drama[8]
The Hanging of Jake Ellis Jake Ellis [9]
1970 Cherry, Harry & Raquel! Harry Thompson [10]
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls Baxter Wolfe Musical melodrama[11]
Moonfire Robert W. Morgan
1971 The Seven Minutes Norman Quandt [12]
1975 Supervixens Harry Sledge [13]
1977 Thunder and Lightning Jim Bob [14]
Citizen's Band Chrome Angel [15]
1979 Last Embrace Quittle [16]
1980 The Blues Brothers Tucker McElroy [17]
Melvin and Howard Ventura [18]
1982 Wacko Chief O'Hara [19]
1983 China Lake Donnelly
1984 Swing Shift Moon Willis [20]
In Search of a Golden Sky T. J. Rivers
1985 Rambo: First Blood Part II Major Marshall Roger T. Murdock [21]
1986 Something Wild Irate chef [22]
1987 The Night Stalker Sgt. J.J. Striker
Body Count Charlie, the Sheriff Released in Italy as Camping del Terrore[23]
Instant Justice Maj. Davis [24]
1988 Married to the Mob Ray, Angela's hairdesser [25]
Deep Space Det. Ian McLemore [26]
1989 Hit List Tom Mitchum [27]
1990 Future Zone Mickland
Miami Blues Sgt. Bill Henderson [28]
The Grifters Gloucester Hebbing [29]
Maniac Cop 2 Lew Brady [30]
Ernest Goes to Jail Warden Carmichael [31]
1991 The Silence of the Lambs Lt. Boyle [32]
Indio 2: The Revolt IMC President [33]
1992 Mean Tricks Brian Hornsby
Eyes of the Beholder Det. Wilson [34]
1993 Return to Frogtown Capt. Delano [35]
Loaded Weapon 1 Interrogator [36]
Philadelphia Judge Lucas Garnett [37]
Body Bags Baseball Team Manager
Skeeter Ernie Buckle [38]
1995 Jury Duty Jed [39]
3 Ninjas Knuckle Up Jack [40]
1996 Original Gangstas Mayor [41]
The Cable Guy Police officer [42]
1997 Steel Col. David [43]
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery Commander Gilmour [44]
1998 Beloved Angry Carny Uncredited[45]
1999 The Big Tease Sen. Warren Crockett [46]
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me General Hawk [47]
2000 Very Mean Men Detective Bailey [48]
Nutty Professor II: The Klumps Four Star General [49]
2001 Down 'n Dirty Capt. Jerry Teller [50]
2002 Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron Roy Voice role[51]
2004 The Manchurian Candidate General Sloan [52]
Dinocroc Sheriff Harper [53]
2005 Lords of Dogtown Nudie [54]
2006 Annapolis Supt. Carter [55]
2008 One-Eyed Monster Montz
Your Name Here Chuck Heston Originally titled Panasonic[56][57][58][59]
2009 The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard Dick Lewiston [60]
Life Blood Sheriff Tillman [61]

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1968 Mission: Impossible First Guard Episode: "The Play" (S3, E9)
1969 Star Trek Adam Episode: "The Way to Eden" (S3, E20)
1971 Mission: Impossible Thug / Roland Episodes: "Run for the Money" (S6, E13) "Cocaine" (S7, E6)
1975 Starsky & Hutch John Brown Harris Episode: "Texas Longhorn"
Kojak Marty Vaughan Episode: "My Brother, My Enemy" (S3, E3)
The Streets of San Francisco Norderman Episode: "No Place to Hide: (S4, E3)
Baretta Whitey Episode: "Double Image" (S2, E6)
The Rockford Files Billy Webster / Mitch Donner Episodes: "2 Into 5.56, Won't Go" (S2, E10), "New Life, Old Dragons" (S3, E18)
1976 Baa Baa Black Sheep Major Red Buell Episodes: "Flying Misfits, part 2", "Best Three Out of Five"
Delvecchio Alt Episode: "Hot Spell"
1978 Starsky & Hutch Sheriff Joe Tyce Episode: "Satan's Witches" (S3, E17)
1979, 1981 The Incredible Hulk John Blake / Bert Episodes: "The Slam" (S3, E4), "Triangle" (S5, E5)
1981 Walking Tall Vernon Larkin Episode: "The Protectors of the People"
The Dukes of Hazzard Digger Jackson Episode: "Bye, Bye, Boss" (S3, E20)
Private Benjamin General Thrustmore Episode: "Benjamin to the Rescue" (pilot)
1982 Strike Force Richard Trallis Episode: "Deadly Chemicals"
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Marshal Episode: "The Man in the White Hat"
The Blue and the Gray Maj. Harrison Miniseries[62]
Knight Rider Carney Episode: "Knight of the Phoenix (Part 1 & 2)" (pilot); uncredited[citation needed]
Dallas Carl Daggett Episode: "Where There's a Will" (S6, E2)
Simon & Simon Gibson Episode: "Mike & Pat" (S2, E2)
CHiPs Klane Episode: "Something Special" (S6, E6)
1983 Tales of the Gold Monkey Tex Episode: "High Stakes Lady"
Dallas Carl Daggett Episode: "A Ewing is a Ewing" (S6, E16), "Crash of '83" (S6, E17)
The A-Team Burt Cross Episode" "Labor Pains" (S2, E8)
The Dukes of Hazzard Pete Episode: "Targets: Daisy and Lulu" (S6, E8)
Gun Shy Carlton Episode: "Pardon Me Boy, Is That The Quake City Choo Choo?"
1984 Night Court Mitch Bowers Episode: "Hi Honey, I'm Home"
Whiz Kids Douglas Blackthorne Episode: "May I Take Your Order Please?"
The A-Team Colonel Briggs Episode: "Fire!" (S3, E4)
1985 Street Hawk John Slade Episode: "Hot Target"
1986 Murder, She Wrote Hank Sutter Episode: "Death Stalks The Big Top (Parts 1 & 2)" (S3, E1&2)
Outlaws Wolfson Lucas Contract Role
1988 The Incredible Hulk Returns Fouche Post-series movie[63]
War and Remembrance Lt. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith Miniseries based on the novel of the same name[64]
1989 Paradise Guest Episode: "A Gather Of Guns" (S2, E1)
1991 L.A. Law Detective John Foley Episode: "The Beverly Hills Hangers" (S5, E15)
1992 The Golden Palace Mr. Smith #1 Episode: "Camp Town Races Aren't Nearly As Much Fun As They Used To Be"
1993 Renegade Brackett / Sgt. Douglas Raines Episodes: "Fighting Cage (Parts 1 & 2)", "Windy City Blues" (S2, E10)
1994–1995 The Critic Duke Phillips 23 episodes; voice role
1994 Coach Buzz Durkin Episode: "Head Like a Wheel" (S6, E25)
1995 Murder, She Wrote Denver Martin Episode: "The Dream Team" (S11, E18)
Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Sailin' Whalen Episode: "Target: Jimmy Olsen!" (S2, E19)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine General Denning Episode: "Little Green Men" (S4, E8)
1996 Pacific Blue Tyrone Justice Episode:"Genuine Heroes" (S2, E9)
The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest Hinkle Episode: "Without A Trace" (S2, E13)
1997 Jumanji Capt. Ishmael Squint Episode: "Eye of the Sea" (S2, E2)
Superman: The Animated Series General Hardcastle Episode: "The Prometheon" (S2, E3)
George & Leo Dutch Episode: "The Housekeeper"
1997–2001 Men in Black: The Series Agent Zed 53 episodes
1998 Party of Five Video Guy Episode: "Here and Now" (S4, E15)
Jumanji Captain Ishmael Squint Episode: "The Ultimate Weapon" (S3, E9)
Second Chances Craig Hardy Miniseries[65]
1999 Walker, Texas Ranger Warden Episode: "Fight or Die" (S8, E90)
2000 Superman: The Animated Series General Hardcastle Episode: "Legacy (Parts 1 & 2) (S4, E2&3)
God, the Devil and Bob Reverend Nat Potterson 4 episodes; voice role
Roswell Hal Carver Episode: "Summer of '47" (S2, E40)
Buzz Lightyear of Star Command Cooley Episode: "Haunted Moon"
2001 Diagnosis Murder Johnny McNamara Episode: "Sins Of The Father (Parts 1 & 2) (S8, E12&13)
The Practice Judge Abraham Betts Episodes: "Awakenings", "Gideon's Crossover" (S5, E15/16)
The Legend of Tarzan Ian McTeague Episode: "Poisoned River (Part 2)"
2001–2005 The Simpsons Warden / Officer Krackney / Grant Conner 4 episodes; voice role
2002 Son of the Beach Charles Foster Brooks Episode: "Three Days of the Condom" (S3, E4)
2003 The Mummy Jack O'Connell Episode: "Like Father Like Son" (S2, E4)
2004 Justice League Unlimited General Hardcastle Episode: "Fearful Symmetry" (S3, E6)
2005 The 4400 Reverend Josiah Episode: "Wake Up Call (Parts 1 & 2)" (S2, E1&2)
The Batman Killgore Steed Episode: "The Laughing Cats" (S3, E7)
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Warren Matthews Episode: "Still Life" (S6, E10)
2005–2006 Squidbillies The Sheriff Recurring voice role
2006 Monk Sheriff Bates Episode: "Mr. Monk Bumps His Head" (S4, E11)
2007 Curb Your Enthusiasm Bert's Dad Episode: "The Lefty Call" (S6, E4)
2008 Cold Case Hal Chaney Episode: "Shore Leave" (S6, E5)
2011 Archer Dr. Spelts Episode: "Stage Two" (S2, E8)

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Lead actor Charles Napier may have been billed under another name.[66]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d "The Official Charles Napier Website". Illumina Productions. Archived from the original on 11 May 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Charles Napier profile". Film Reference. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Charles Napier: Overnight success at 50 Roger Ebert June 30, 1985, Retrieved September 26, 2014
  4. ^ a b "Charles Napier obituary". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. October 28, 2011. Retrieved October 28, 2011.
  5. ^ "Dr. Phil about Charles and Dee (2003)".
  6. ^ Slotnik, Daneil E. (October 6, 2011). "Charles Napier, Actor Who Played Tough Guys, Dies at 75". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
  7. ^ THR Staff (October 5, 2011). "'Blues Brothers' Actor Charles Napier Dies at 75". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
  8. ^ "The House Near the Prado". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  9. ^ "The House Near the Prado". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  10. ^ "herry, Harry & Raquel!". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  11. ^ "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  12. ^ "The Seven Minutes". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  13. ^ "Supervixens". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  14. ^ "Thunder and Lightning". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  15. ^ "Citizen's Band". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  16. ^ "Last Embrace". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  17. ^ "The Blues Brothers". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  18. ^ "Melvin and Howard". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  19. ^ "Wacko". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  20. ^ "Swing Shift". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  21. ^ "First Blood Part II". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  22. ^ "Something Wild". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  23. ^ "Body Count". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  24. ^ "Instant Justice". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  25. ^ "Married to the Mob". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  26. ^ "Deep Space". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  27. ^ "Hit List". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  28. ^ "Miami Blues". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  29. ^ "The Grifters". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  30. ^ "Maniac Cop 2". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  31. ^ "Ernest Goes to Jail". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  32. ^ "The Silence of the Lambs". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  33. ^ "Indio 2: The Revolt". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  34. ^ "Eyes of the Beholder". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  35. ^ "Return to Frogtown". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  36. ^ "Loaded Weapon 1". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  37. ^ "Philadelphia". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  38. ^ "Skeeter". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  39. ^ "Jury Duty". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  40. ^ "3 Ninjas Knuckle Up". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  41. ^ "Original Gangstas". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  42. ^ "The Cable Guy". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  43. ^ "Steel". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  44. ^ "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  45. ^ "Beloved". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  46. ^ "The Big Tease". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  47. ^ "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  48. ^ "Very Mean Men". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  49. ^ "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  50. ^ Rotten Tomatoes - Charles Napier
  51. ^ "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  52. ^ "The Manchurian Candidate". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  53. ^ "Dinocroc". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  54. ^ "Lords of Dogtown". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  55. ^ "Annapolis". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  56. ^ Rechtshaffen, Michael (July 23, 2008). "review: 'Your Name Here'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  57. ^ Jacks, Brian (May 17, 2007). "Bill Pullman Is Kind Of, But Not Really, Philip K. Dick". MTV News. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  58. ^ Koehler, Robert (July 7, 2008). "Review: 'Your Name Here'". Variety. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  59. ^ Brunton, Richard (May 18, 2007). "Philip K. Dick film changes to William J. Frick". Filmstalker. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  60. ^ "The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  61. ^ "Life Blood". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  62. ^ "The Blue and the Gray". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  63. ^ "The Incredible Hulk Returns". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  64. ^ "War and Remembrance". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  65. ^ "Second Chances". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  66. ^ "The House Near the Prado". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 28, 2016.

Bibliography

  • Paul, Louis (2008). "Charles Napier". Tales From the Cult Film Trenches; Interviews with 36 Actors from Horror, Science Fiction and Exploitation Cinema. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. pp. 180–185. ISBN 978-0-7864-2994-3.

External linksEdit