Veteran actor Powers Boothe, who portrayed a long list of memorable villains on television and the big screen, has died at age 68.
The Emmy-winning Deadwood and Sin City actor reportedly died in his sleep Sunday (May 14) at his home in Los Angeles, only a month from his 69th birthday. The news of his death was initially announced via Twitter by actor Beau Bridges, and later confirmed by his official representative to various Hollywood trade outlets.
“It’s with great sadness that I mourn the passing of my friend Powers Boothe,” wrote Bridges. “A dear friend, great actor, devoted father & husband.”
It's with great sadness that I mourn the passing of my friend Powers Boothe. A dear friend, great actor, devoted father & husband.
— Beau Bridges (@MrBeauBridges) May 14, 2017
Although he’s best known for his screen roles, Boothe began his career on the stage performing in various Shakespearean productions and making his Broadway debut in the one-act play Lone Star, in which he played a starring role. Just a year later, he caught Hollywood’s attention by winning a Primetime Emmy Award in 1980 for his portrayal of cult leader Jim Jones in the CBS miniseries Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones.
In order to accept his Emmy, Boothe notoriously crossed the picket line of a Screen Actors Guild strike that was ongoing during the ceremony, and became the only nominee that year to accept his trophy in person. In accepting the award, he said of his decision to attend the ceremony, “This may be either the bravest moment of my career or the dumbest.”
Boothe later went on to be nominated for two ensemble awards by the Screen Actors Guild, including his role as disgraced U.S. President Richard Nixon’s Chief of Staff Alexander Haig in Oliver Stone’s 1995 biopic Nixon, and then again as part of the cast of the HBO series Deadwood, in which he played saloon owner Cy Tolliver.
Boothe has a long history of playing memorable characters with questionable morals, with turns as the diabolical Senator Roark in 2005’s Sin City and its 2014 sequel, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. He also played a brief, villainous role in 2012’s blockbuster Marvel Studios superhero film The Avengers, only to reprise the role — that of covert HYDRA leader Gideon Malick — for a multi-episode arc in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television series.
Earlier roles that contributed to his legacy of on-screen villains include a fiery performance as the dastardly Curly Bill Brocius in 1993’s Tombstone, the leader of a group of terrorists in 1995’s Sudden Death, and a sketchy FBI agent in 2001’s Frailty. Boothe was also an in-demand voice actor, and voiced several prominent characters — most of them villains — in various animated series over the years, as well as video games. Most recently, he voiced a character in the 2012 game Hitman: Absolution.
Boothe is survived by his wife, Pam, and two children.