To borrow vernacular from Donald Trump, playing “really bad hombres” was the forte of Powers Boothe, who died at his home in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 14th. He was 68.
Born in Texas and a graduate of Southwest Texas State University, Boothe began his career as an actor on the stage. He made his New York stage debut in a production of “Richard III.” Interestingly he made his major motion picture debut in 1977’s The Goodbye Girl as a member of the company putting on a production of “Richard III” where Richard Dreyfuss was playing the lead.
Three years later he electrified television audiences in Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones, playing the cult leader who murdered more than 900 of his followers. His performance earned him an Emmy Award for Best Actor in a Made for TV Movie or Miniseries. When the awards ceremony was held in 1980, the Screen Actors Guild was on strike. Boothe chose to cross the picket line to attend the ceremony in what he described as “…either the bravest or dumbest move of my career.”
He portrayed military officers on a number of occasions. The fighter pilot shot down during World War III in the original Red Dawn. A Russian general in 1990’s Stalingrad. He played retired General Alexander Haig in 1995’s Nixon. In 2000’s Men of Honor he was the Navy Captain who gave Cuba Gooding, Jr., a chance to attend the Navy’s Diving School.
But what Powers Boothe will be best remembered for are the villains he played. In 1993’s Tombstone, his take on Curly Bill Brocius received rave reviews. He played a vicious saloon owner in television’s Deadwood in the mid 2000s. And of course, he gave us the epitome of the corrupt politician in the two Sin City films.
Powers Boothe married Pam Cole in 1969 and they were still together when he died on Sunday. He is survived by Ms Cole and their two children.