Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Late Great Powers Boothe

Powers Boothe died June 1 2017 at the age of 68. He appeared in such films as The Emerald Forest (1985), Tombstone (1993), Nixon (1995), and Sin City (2005), and on such TV shows as Philip Marlowe Private Eye, Deadwood, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Powers Boothe was born on a cotton farm near Snyder, Texas. In high school he played football and took part in school plays. He surprised many when, in his senior year, he quit football to concentrate on acting. He attended Southwest Texas State University where he received a bachelor degree and then received a masters degree at Southern Methodist University.

After graduating from Southwest Texas State University, Powers Boothe joined the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's repertory company. He played roles in  Henry V, Othello, and Troilus & Cressida. In 1974 he appeared in Richard III at the Lincoln Centre in New York City. In 1977 he made his film debut as part of the cast of Richard III in the film The Goodbye Girl. In 1979 he appeared on Broadway in Lone Star & Pvt. Wars.  He appeared in the films The Cold Eye (My Darling, Be Careful) (1980) and Cruising (1980). On television he had a recurring role on the TV show Skag and played Jim Jones in the TV movie Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones (1980).

The Eighties saw Powers Boothe's film career take off. He was one of the leads in Walter Hill's Southern Comfort (1981) and the lead in John Boorman's The Emerald Forest (1985). He also appeared in the films A Breed Apart (1984), Red Dawn (1984), Extreme Prejudice (1987), Sapphire Man (1988), Voyager: The Grand Tour (1990), and Stalingrad (1990). On television he played the title role in the HBO TV series Philip Marlowe, Private Eye. He also starred in the two part TV movie Family of Spies (1990).

In the Nineties Powers Boothe appeared in such films as Rapid Fire (1992), Tombstone (1993), Sudden Death (1995), Nixon (1995), U Turn (1997), and Men of Honour (2000). On television he appeared in the mini-series Joan of Arc and the two part TV movie Attila.

In the Naughts Mr. Boothe was a regular on the TV shows Deadwood and 24. He was the voice of Gorilla Grodd on the animated series Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, as well as the voice of Lex Luthor in the straight-to-video animated film Superman: Brainiac Attacks. He appeared in the films Frailty (2001), Sin City (2005), The Final Season (2007), and MacGruber (2010).

In the Teens Powers Boothe appeared in the mini-series Hatfields & McCoys and To Appomattox, and had recurring roles on the TV shows Nashville and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. He guest starred on the TV show Moonbeam City and was a guest voice on the animated series Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated and The Looney Tunes Show. He appeared in the films Tattoo (2011),  Marvel's The Avengers (2012), Straight A's (2013), and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014).

During his career Mr. Boothe also provided voices for several video games, including Area 51, Turok, Ben 10 Ultimate Alien: Cosmic Destruction, and Hitman: Absolution.

Powers Boothe was an incredibly talented actor. Indeed, while various news outlets have noted the many villains he played in his career, I remember him best for his heroic roles. He was the cynical Texan Corporal Hardin in Southern Comfort; Bill Markham, the father seeking his son in the Amazonian Rainforest in The Emerald Forest; and, of course, Philip Marlowe in the HBO series of the Eighties. That having been said, Powers Boothe made for a very good villain in several films and TV shows. Perhaps no politician on film was as evil as Senator Roark in Sin City and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. As Cy Tolliver on Deadwood, Powers Boothe played a formidable rival to the show's primary villain Al Swearengen. On Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  He played Gideon Malick, one of the leaders of the criminal organisation Hydra. Such was Powers Boothe's talent that he played historical figures convincingly. He played Alexander Haig in Nixon, Curly Bill Brocius in Tombstone, Jacques d'Arc on Joan of Arc, and Jim Jones in Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones. Powers Boothe was convincing in almost any role offered him, whether he was playing a hero, a villain, or something in between.

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