Bo Hopkins, the actor who has appeared in classics like “American Graffiti,” “The Wild Bunch,” “Midnight Express” and “The Getaway,” died Friday. He was 80 years old.
Hopkins’ death was confirmed on the actor’s official website.
“It is with great sadness that we announce that Bo has passed away,” reads a statement on the website. “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.”
The actor was born William Hopkins in Greenville, S.C. on February 2, 1942.. He later changed his name to “Bo” in reference to the character he played in “Bus Stop,” his first off-Broadway play. After his father died when he was only nine years old, Hopkins was raised by his mother and grandmother. He later learned he was an adopted child and went on to meet his birth parents.
He joined the U.S. Army at the age of 16. After his service in the military, he decided to pursue a career in acting and gained experience in summer stock productions and guest spots in several TV episodes.
Well known for playing key supporting roles in a number of major studio films between 1969 and 1979, Hopkins got his start in feature films as “Crazy Lee” in the iconic 1969 western “The Wild Bunch.” He was subsequently hired by director Sam Peckinpah for another supporting turn as a bank robber in “The Getaway” (1972). Hopkins later starred in dozens of feature films, such as “White Lightning” (1973), “Posse” (1975), “The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing” (1973), “Midnight Express” (1978), “American Graffiti” (1973) and “The Bounty Hunter” (1989).
In addition to his work in film, Hopkins’ acting credits in TV include guest-starring on “The Rockford Files” (1974), “Charlie’s Angels” (1976), “The A-Team” (1983), “Hotel” (1983) and “Matt Houston” (1982). He was also featured on “Dynasty” in 1981.
Although he began his career playing heavy, trigger-happy cowboys or sadistic rednecks, he later evolved into more “law-abiding” roles as he got older. In 2020, Hopkins appeared in his final film, “Hillbilly Elegy,” directed by Ron Howard, his “American Graffiti” co-star.
Hopkins is survived by his wife of 32 years, Sian Eleanor Green; his son, Matthew Hopkins and his daughter, Jane Hopkins.