Was Stallone nemesis in 'Rambo'

Character actor Charles Napier, whose granite jaw and toothy grin earned him roles as bad guys and military types in movies like “Rambo: First Blood Part II,” died Wednesday in Bakersfield, Calif. He was 75.

Napier played the scheming intelligence officer facing Sylvester Stallone in the 1985 “Rambo” sequel, Good Ole Boys frontman Tucker McElroy in 1980 musical comedy film “The Blues Brothers,” the judge in 1993’s “Philadelphia” and Lt. Bill Boyle in 1991’s “The Silence of the Lambs” (the latter two both directed by Jonathan Demme).

The actor appeared in several movies by exploitation director Russ Meyer; one of his first films was Meyer’s “Cherry, Harry and Racquel,” and he also appeared in “The Seven Minutes,” “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” and “Supervixens.” (Napier was also associated producer on “Supervixens.”)

To fans of the “Star Trek” series, however, Napier may be remembered as Adam in the 1969 episode “The Way to Eden.” Decades later he guested on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”

To other viewers he may be best known as the voice of Duke Philips on the animated comedy “The Critic,” starring Jon Lovitz.

On the bigscreen, he played a general at least four times, including in “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me,” “Nutty Professor II: The Klumps” and the “Manchurian Candidate” remake. He made his last film appearance in 2009’s “The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard.”

A steady presence on television for decades, the actor was one of the stars of NBC’s 1976 miniseries “The Oregon Trail” and had recurring roles on “B.J. and the Bear” as Hammer and on “Dallas” as Carl Daggett.

Later in his career he did a great deal of voicework for animated children’s shows, including “Men in Black: The Series” and “Squidbillies.”

Napier was born in Scottsville, Ky., and was a top basketball player in high school and originally wanted to be a basketball coach.

Born in the small town of Mt. Union, Ky., on April 12, 1936, Napier was a high school basketball star before enlisting in the Army in 1954.

After earning a degree in art from Western Kentucky U., he worked at various jobs, then headed to grad school at Western Kentucky. There, in 1964, he decided to try his hand at theater. He appeared in several local plays, including Shakespeare’s “Othello.”

He eventually moved to Los Angeles, where he landed a small role on an episode of “Mission Impossible” in 1967.

The twice-divorced Napier is survived by three children.

(Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Want Entertainment News First? Sign up for Variety Alerts and Newsletters!
Post A Comment 0