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Bo Hopkins, who had key roles in films including ‘American Graffiti,’ dies in Van Nuys

Bo Hopkins, who had key roles in films including ‘American Graffiti,’ dies in Van Nuys

Veteran actor Bo Hopkins, known for roles in such films as “American Graffiti” and “The Wild Bunch,” is being remembered as someone who often played bad guys on screen but was a good guy in life.

Hopkins died Saturday, May 28, at Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys after suffering a heart attack on May 9, his wife, Sian, told The Hollywood Reporter. He was 84.

He had more then 100 film and TV acting credits, including the 1972 film “The Getaway” with Steve McQueen and “Midnight Express” in 1978. Hopkins was a particular favorite of director Sam Peckinpah.

He also had recurring roles in “Dynasty” and “The Rockford Files” and appeared in many other TV shows in the 1970s and ’80s.

“RIP Bo Hopkins,” actor and director Ron Howard tweeted Sunday. “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.”

Howard co-starred with Hopkins in the 1973 film “American Graffiti” and directed him in his final film, “Hillbilly Elegy,” which was released in 2020.

In “American Graffiti,” according to USA Today, Hopkins portrays Joe Young, the leader of The Pharaohs gang.

Author Emily Jane O’Dell also tweeted a remembrance.

“Bo Hopkins, Hollywood legend & my very best bud in LA, has sadly passed away,” she said. “He will be dearly missed by those of us who loved him so much. Grateful for all the time we spent together & all he taught me. He was an amazing friend & a one-of-a-kind human & actor. Love you Bo! #RIP.”

Hopkins, a native of South Carolina, was born William Hopkins but changed his first name to Bo after he played a character with that name in his first off-Broadway play, “Bus Stop.”

Actor-comedian Matt Oswalt told his Twitter followers they likely knew Hopkins’ face even if they didn’t know his name.

“His IMDB page is like a CVS receipt of great character actor parts,” Oswald tweeted.

Hopkins is survived by his wife of 33 years and two children.


Press Enterprise