Bo Hopkins, 'American Graffiti,' 'Wild Bunch,' 'Dynasty' Actor, Dies at 80
Bo Hopkins, the rugged actor who made lasting impressions as rollicking rednecks in several classic films — and found new fans on TV's "Dynasty" in the '80s — has died at 80.
A message on his official site announced, "It is with great sadness that we announce that Bo has passed away. 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."
No cause was offered.
Born William Hopkins in Greenville, South Carolina, on February 2, 1942. He served in the Army as a teenager and later decided to pursue acting via summer stock. He changed his name to "Bo" in honor of the character he played in "Bus Stop," his first off-Broadway production.
He made his TV debut on an episode of "The Phyllis Diller Show" in 1966, going on to make guest appearances on "The Virginian" (1967), "Gunsmoke" (1967), "The Wild Wild West" (1967), "The Andy Griffith Show" (1967), and others.
After parts in the features "Dayton's Devils" (1968) and "The Thousand Plane Raid" (1969), he had an impact as Crazy Lee in Sam Peckinpah's classic "The Wild Bunch" (1969).
Continuing to act on TV, other features included "The Getaway" (1972), the George Lucas hit "American Graffiti" (1973), which kicked off a major nostalgia craze (in spite of being shot only 10 years after the events in its story), "The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing" (1973), "White Lightning" (1973), "Posse" (1975), "The Day of the Locust" (1975), the octo-thriller "Tentacles" (1977), "Midnight Express" (1978), "More American Graffiti" (1979), and "The Bounty Hunter" (1989).
For 18 episodes in the '80s, he was Matthew Blaisdel on the nighttime-soap juggernaut "Dynasty" (1981-1987), a fondly remembered part for which he continued making autograph-show appearances for the rest of his life.
Some of his other TV gigs during that period included A-list shows like "Charlie's Angels" (1976), "The A-Team" (1983), and "Hotel" (1983).
Hopkins' final film was "Hillbilly Elegy" in 2020, in which he was directed by his old "American Graffiti" co-star Ron Howard. Upon hearing of his death, co-star Glenn Close remembered him warmly on Instagram, writing, "Just heard that the wonderful Bo Hopkins died peacefully, early this morning, with his devoted wife, Sian, holding his hand. It was a great privilege to work with Bo in HILLBILLY ELEGY. He was an actor to his core and put his heart into every take. He was a gentleman and a gentle man. He may have once, during his early days, around the time of AMERICAN GRAFFITI, been one of the bad boys, but I got acquainted and enjoyed the company of a man with a twinkle in his eye and the heart of a knight. Good night, sweet Bo, May you Rest In Peace. With love, Your Mamaw."
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Hopkins is survived by his wife of over 30 years, Sian Eleanor Green, one son and one daughter.