Actor John Saxon, best known for character roles in Westerns and horror films, has died. He was 83. The actor died on Saturday due to pneumonia in his Murfreesboro home in Tennessee, his wife, actor Gloria Martel confirmed in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
With a career spanning more than six decades, Saxon has over 200 films and hundreds of shows to his credit.
Saxon’s most prominent titles include Enter The Dragon with Bruce Lee in what would be the legendary martial artiste-actor’s first mainstream American movie and last before his death; Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Appaloosa, in which he starred opposite Hollywood veteran Marlon Brando, for which was nominated for the best-supporting actor Golden Globe.
Born as Carmine Orrico in Brooklyn, New York in 1935, Saxon was the eldest of three children of an Italian immigrant house painter. After graduating high school he studied with famous acting coach Stella Adler. Soon Universal Studios signed him on contract and requested he be renamed to John Saxon.
He was also skilled in judo and karate. Though he started working in films from 1954, his first credited role came a year later in the noir crime film Running Wild.
The mid to late 1950s Saxon starred in teen idol roles in films like Rock, Pretty Baby, Summer Love, and The Reluctant Debutante. He also won a Golden Globe in 1958 as most promising newcomer male.
Two years later, Saxon worked with director John Huston in the acclaimed Western The Unforgiven, in which he starred as an Indian in support of lead cast Burt Lancaster and Audrey Hepburn. He also starred in westerns such as Death of a Gunfighter and Joe Kidd, and Raid on Entebbe, the adventure thriller for TV.
On the small screen, his credits include Western series such as Gunsmoke, The Virginian, action drama series Starsky and Hutch, superhero series Wonder Woman, detective drama Magnum P.I., soap opera Melrose Place, among many others.
In 1984, Saxon later reprised his role in slasher movie A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.
He was married three times – Mary Ann Murphy from 1967 to 1979, Elizabeth Saxon from 1987 to 1992 and, since 2008 to Martel.
Saxon is also survived by son, Antonio, and daughter, Dolores.