Harry Dean Stanton Remembered

A look back at some of his iconic roles

As David Lynch said last night “There went a great one.”

The passing of Harry Dean Stanton late last night has left a hole in cinema that will be hard to fill. He was known as a character actor but his mere presence alone often transcended that limited description of his abilities. Despite never been nominated for any of the big industry awards, he found a way into the hearts of film fans that many acclaimed actors would struggle to match.


There will be no end of deserved eulogies over the coming days and weeks coming from all quarters, so rather than doing the same, we thought we’d let the great man do the talking instead. Scroll down to look back on a few of Harry Dean Stanton’s greatest moments on screen in a way he would no doubt prefer to be remembered best.



Cool Hand Luke

Something special happened whenever Stanton picked up a guitar and sung. Similar to his acting prowess there was nothing showy about it. It was simple and heartfelt. And you couldn’t help but be touched.


Repo Man

As the cynical, razor-sharp Bud, it’s a role that shows how easily Stanton could control the screen and snatch the spotlight away from anyone who shared it with him – even those about to step into superstardom.


Paris, Texas

No need for words. Just watch.



Wild At Heart

He was a frequent collaborator with David Lynch and it’s easy to understand why; two outsiders who viewed the world from similar perspectives and were confident and relaxed enough to let others share that for a short while.


The Straight Story

Stanton is hardly in the film and barely says a word when he does appear. But those few lines mean everything to the story and few people could have delivered them with the same emotional honesty.


The Avengers

Cult indies or mega-blockbusters, Stanton could fit in seamlessly anywhere. Sure, the scene is short and sweet but you can bet that there is one actor who learned something that day.


Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction

We put this here as a reminder for those who may have missed or overlooked it on release. Stanton tells his story in his own words and there is nothing much to add. Available to watch on iTunes and Google Play.



Similar to the above, it’s a reminder of a release due to arrive very soon. Starring David Lynch and directed by John Carroll Lynch, Stanton’s penultimate film (Frank and Ava was his last) is due for a US release in only two weeks’ time (it also plays at LFF), and serves as a love letter to his career. It will now, of course, will feel even more poignant given yesterday’s news.


Steven Sheehan

Updated: Sep 16, 2017

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