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Prolific Film Actor M. Emmet Walsh Dies From Cardiac Arrest at 88

Phil McCarten/Reuters
Phil McCarten/Reuters

M. Emmet Walsh, who appeared in more than 1oo films in his decades-long career—including alongside Harrison Ford in Blade Runner and Dustin Hoffman in Little Big Man—died in Vermont at the age of 88, his manager confirmed.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Sandy Joseph confirmed the news of the actor’s death from cardiac arrest on Tuesday at a hospital in St. Albans in Vermont, but did not provide further details.

“Walsh’s tremendous body of work includes 119 feature films and more than 250 television productions,” a statement to the New York Post added.

Born in 1935, Walsh began his film career as an uncredited bus passenger in the 1969 Oscar-winning film Midnight Cowboy, with Jon Voight and Hoffman. He followed with Alice’s Restaurant the same year.

His face was splashed across movie screens ever since, alongside Hoffman again in the 1970 flick Little Big Man as well as Escape from the Planet of the Apes in 1971 and 2004’s Christmas with the Cranks.

He will be remembered for his role as Harrison Ford’s boss in Blade Runner and as the brutal private detective Loren Visser in Blood Simple, the Coen brothers’ directing debut. Other notable credits include What’s Up, Doc? with Barbra Streisand, Slap Shot alongside Paul Newman, and The Jerk with Steve Martin in 1979. More recently, he played a small role in 2019 murder-mystery Knives Out.

“I saw it three or four days later when it opened in LA, and I was, like: Wow!” he told The Guardian in 2017 of his role in Blood Simple. “Suddenly my price went up five times. I was the guy everybody wanted.”

He also appeared in a number of TV series across his lengthy career, including All in the Family in 1971, Little House on the Prairie in 1981, Frasier in 2001, NYPD Blue in 2000 and American Gigolo in 2022.

He also appeared in four episodes voicing the character of the Cosmic Own in Adventure Time.

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