Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Late Great Sid Haig

Sid Haig, who appeared in numerous movies and episodes of television shows and became a horror movie icon, died on September 21 2019 at the age of 80. The cause was complications from a lung infection following a fall in his home.

Sid Haig was born Sidney Eddie Mosesian in Fresno, California on July 14 1939. His parents were Armenian. His career in entertainment all began because of his size. He was already five foot seven by the time he was nine years old. Because he had grown so fast he tended to be uncoordinated and as a result he took dance lessons. In high school he took to acting. He also took up drumming. He and some friends formed a Country Western group. Eventually he would play drums for the vocal group The T-Birds.

It was not long afterwards that he enrolled at the Pasadena Playhouse. It was while he was there that he noticed people had difficulty pronouncing his name. He then adopted the easier to pronounce "Sid Haig" as his stage name. He made his film debut in directors Jack Hill's short student film "The Host" in 1960. It was in 1962 that he made his feature film debut in The Firebrand. That same year he made his television debut in an episode of The Untouchables, "The Case Against Eliot Ness."

In the Sixties Sid Haig guest starred on several television shows, including The Lucy Show, Batman, Mission: Impossible, Laredo, Star Trek, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Iron Horse, The Danny Thomas Hour, Daniel Boone, Death Valley Days, The Flying Nun, Here's Lucy, Gunsmoke, Get Smart, Here Come the Brides, and Mannix. He also appeared in several movies during the decade, including Blood Bath (1966), It's a Binkini World (1967), Point Blank (1967), Spider Baby or, the Maddest Story Ever Told (1967), The Hell with Heroes (1968), Pit Stop (1969), Che! (1969), and C.C. & Company (1970).

In the Seventies Mr. Haig appeared in such movies as THX 1138 (1971), The Big Doll House (1971), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), Beware! The Blob (1972), The Big Bird Cage (1972), The Woman Hunt (1972), Black Mama White Mama (1973), Emperor of the North Pole (1973), Coffy (1973), The Don is Dead (1973), Foxy Brown (1974), Swashbuckler (1976), and Loose Shoes (1978). On television he had a recurring role on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. He played the primary villain, Dragos, on the Saturday morning children's show Jason of Star Command. He guest starred on such shows as Alias Smith and Jones, McMillan & Wife, Get Christie Love!, The Rockford Files, Emergency!, Delvecchio, Police Story, Police Woman, Charlie's Angels, Switch, and Hart to Hart.

In the Eighties Sid Haig guest starred on such shows as Quincy M.E., Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, The Dukes of Hazard, Bret Maverick, T.J. Hooker, Fantasy Island, The A-Team, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, The Fall Guy, Hill Street Blues, MacGyver, Sledge Hammer!, and Just the Ten of Us. He appeared in such movies as Chu Chu and the Philly Flash (1981), Galaxy of Terror (1981), The Aftermath (1982), Commando Squad (1987), Warlords (1988), Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II (1989), and The Forbidden Dance (1990).

In the early Nineties Sid Haig temporarily retired from acting as he was tired of playing "stupid heavies." He returned to acting with a role as the judge in Jackie Brown (1997). In the Naughts he played what might be his best known role, that of Captain Spaulding in Rob Zombie's movie House of 1000 Corpses (2003). During the decades he appeared in the films Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004), The Devil's Rejects (2005), Night of the Living Dead 3D (2006), Little Big Top (2006), Dead Man's Hand (2007), Halloween (2007), Brotherhood of Blood (2007), and Dark Moon Rising (2009). On television he appeared in the TV movie House of Dead 2.

In the Teens Mr. Haig appeared in the films Creature (2011), Mimesis (2011), The Infliction (2012), The Lords of Salem (2012), The Sacred (2012), Hatchet III (2013), Devil in My Ride (2013), The Penny Dreadful Picture Show (2013), Zombex (2013), Bone Tomahawk (2015), Death House (2017), Razor (2017), Suicide for Beginners (2018), Cynthia (2018), High on the Hog (2019), and Three from Hell (2019).

Many of Sid Haig's roles during his career could be measured in a matter of minutes. Particularly in the early days of his career, he might appear only briefly in any given movie. That having been said, even in the earliest days of his career, it was clear that Sid Haig was a gifted actor. He could take a role and in a brief amount of time make that role seem like a full-fledged character. It was this gift, as much as his size, that made him very much in demand as a guest star on television in the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties. He appeared on everything from Batman to McGyver.

While Sid Haig was known for playing heavies and his best known character (Captain Spaulding) was a homicidal maniac, in real life he was one of the gentlest men one could ever meet. While I never had the honour of meeting Sid Haig, I know many people who did. Every single one of them have said the same thing, that he was one of the nicest, sweetest, and friendliest people they had ever met. He was known to talk to fans as if he had known them his whole life. Sid Haig was both a talented actor and a true gentleman.

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