Geoffrey Lewis, Actor in Clint Eastwood Movies, Dies at 79

Geoffrey Lewis Dead; Juliette Lewis' Father
Image Courtesy of Getty

Actor Geoffrey Lewis, who appeared in several Clint Eastwood movies and made guest appearances on dozens of TV shows in the ’60s through ’80s, died Tuesday in Woodland Hills, Calif., of natural causes, according to a family friend. He was 79.

The reliable character actor, who often appeared in Westerns, was the father of actress Juliette Lewis. His son Miles said he suffered a heart attack during a workout at the Motion Picture Hospital and had been suffering from Parkinson’s and dementia.

He had roles in Eastwood’s “High Plains Drifter,” “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot,” as Orville Boggs in “Every Which Way But Loose” and “Any Which Way You Can” as well as in “Bronco Billy,” “Pink Cadillac” and “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”

Among his other film credits were Jean Claude Van Damme starrer “Double Impact,” on which Lewis was billed right after Van Damme; horror film “The Devil’s Rejects”; Michael Cimino’s “Heaven’s Gate”; John Milius’ “The Wind and the Lion” and “Dillinger”; “Macon County Line”; George Roy Hill’s “The Great Waldo Pepper,” starring Robert Redford; Stanley Donen’s “Lucky Lady,” starring Gene Hackman, Liza Minnelli and Burt Reynolds; “I, the Jury”; Paul Bartel’s “Lust in the Dust”;’ TV movie “Salem’s Lot”; “Fletch Lives”; “Tango and Cash”; Michael Ritchie’s “Smile”; 1990’s “Disturbed”;  “The Lawnmower Man”; John Badham’s “Point of No Return”; 1994’s “The Dragon Gate”; “The Man Without a Face,” starring Mel Gibson; Charlie Sheen vehicle “Five Aces”; Christopher McQuarrie’s “The Way of the Gun”; “Sunstorm”; “A Light in the Darkness”; “Mind Games” and “Fingerprints.”

His Westerns included “The Culpepper Cattle Co.” and Robert Benton’s “Bad Company” (both 1972); spaghetti Westerns “My Name Is Nobody” and “They Died With Their Boots On”; Irvin Kershner’s “The Return of a Man Called Horse,” starring Richard Harris; “Tom Horn,” starring Steve McQueen; and the feature adaptation of “Maverick.”

Juliette Lewis posted a tribute on Instagram, saying: “He loved us so. I am forever my father’s daughter.”

Lewis received a Golden Globe nomination for his recurring role as Earl Tucker on the 1980 series “Flo,” and appeared in numerous other shows including “Mission: Impossible,” “Mod Squad,” “Kung Fu,” “Barnaby Jones,” “The Waltons,” “Starsky and Hutch,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Lou Grant,” “Little House on the Prairie,” “Alice,” “Laverne & Shirley,” “The Six Million Dollar Man,” “Mork and Mindy,” “Falcon Crest” (in which he recurred as Lucas Crosby), “The A-Team,” “Magnum, P.I.,” “The Golden Girls,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “The X-Files,” “Dawson’s Creek,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and “House M.D.” He starred with Fred Dryer in the brief series “Land’s End” in 1995.

He was also part of Celestial Navigations, a group that put out several albums of Lewis narrating stories to music.

Born in San Diego, he grew up in Rhode Island and moved to California at age 10. He is survived by his wife Paula Hochhalter, Juliette Lewis and children including Miles; Lightfield and Matthew, both actors; and Dierdre, an actress.

 

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  1. Keifus E mathews says:

    I was just watching Bronco Billy and wanted to see what Geoffrey Lewis was up too? To my surprise he has passed away, so sad, I enjoyed watching him act. You should be proud Juliette.

  2. Lydia Delacruz says:

    May he rest in peace. He was a good actor and will be remembered as one. His family members were the lucky ones to be able to spend time and known such human being.

  3. Susan says:

    He’ll be missed what a great dad and actor!

  4. romancegirl says:

    Wow! He had a lot of children!

  5. tami perez says:

    I didn’t know Mr Lewis passed,until today,i also wasn’t aware of juliette was his daughter! I loved watching him while growing up in the 70s he was great! I couldn’t believe he also played in the devil’s rejects,awesome Mr Lewis,gd bless u and your family!

  6. dieselestate says:

    What a man. What a life. Ten children. By the look of Mr. Lewis’ list of appearances, this man worked, and worked solidly, throughout his entire life.
    It seems a little sad that a heart attack during a work-out ended such a momentous man.
    All sympathy and empathy to all of Geoffrey Lewis’ family. My mother died suddenly 18 months ago. It wiped me out. I’m still recovering.
    I’d be very interested to learn the Scientology way of death – if anybody wants to enlighten me. I found sharing the same Roman Catholic sensibilities as my Mum, helped me come to terms with her death more constructively. I went through emotions that were soul laceratingly painful. I just don’t know if my psyche has an infinite capacity for reconstruction. There are SO many questions which I need answered.

  7. Sunny says:

    How sad. :( I loved him in all of the movies I saw him in–he seemed like a genuinely nice man. His daughter certainly has inherited his talents–love her as well. So sorry for his family about this–RIP, Geoffery, and thanks for the years of entertainment. God bless.

  8. My sincere condolences to his family. May he rest in peace.

  9. JoeTheFilmmaker says:

    RIP my friend. This was one helluva guy. Very nice, and quite down to earth.

  10. Kevin says:

    Usually I’m very up on Hollywood celeb parents whose kids follow in their footsteps, but I somehow didn’t
    connect on this one. If you look at both photos of Geoffrey and Juliette Lewis together, there is not only an uncanny resemblance in their general physical features, but their facial expressions and body postures as well. About the only way that they could have been more alike is if she had been male, like his frequent co-
    star and longtime friend Clint Eastwood and his son Scott.
    Something else that she definitely inherited from her father was his ability to pull you into any one of his many on-screen performances through those mesmerizing eyes. Even before he would utter so much as a
    single word of dialogue, it was as if he already had your attention with his deft yet subtle placement of a deceptive glance or an earnest stare. They could be working opposite sides of the vampire-movie dynamic
    with dad as a bloodsucker in “Salem’s Lot” and daughter as a vamp slayer in “From Dusk Till Dawn”. Or the
    reverse with Geoffrey as the unconditional friend of a mentally challenged young man being transformed
    into a virtual-world psycho in “Lawnmower Man” and Juliette as a the obliviously giddy real-world psycho
    love interest to a serial killer-husband in “Natural Born Killers”. Just check out those eyes the next time you
    see either of them in a movie or on television and you’ll see exactly what I’m getting at.
    Very regretably we’re losing the rarest of show biz icons-effortlessly gifted and unassumingly classy per-
    formers-in what is more and more becoming a delusional paradise for talentless ass clowns and bottom-feeding predators.
    Deepest condolences to Juliette and the rest of the Lewis family over the loss of this exceptional father,
    gentleman and actor.

  11. Dana Champion says:

    Mr. Lewis,… Geoffrey. So sad to have just learned of his passing, after watching Juliettes tv series
    ” Secrets and Lies”.I worked with Geoffrey for nine months in Mexico on ” Land’s End “. He costarred with Fred Dryer, playing Willis P. Dunleevy. I stood in for him, and doubled for him. Geoffrey directed the episode ” What Are Friends For”. He gave me a line. Thank you, my friend. Geoffrey was a true ” friend”, and a treasure of an actor to work with. Geoffrey also played a trapper in the movie Heavens Gate, where he visited my actual relative ” Nate Champion”. My condolences to the family. Respectfully, Dana.

  12. jonny says:

    Goodbye, young man.
    I’ve been a man that’s loved you since seeing you in Culpepper …in my childhood.
    My deepest condolences to Juliette.
    ( a great actress in her own right. I’ve been smitten for years-but this is about the loss of her Dad.)
    Bless you in this time of loss.

  13. binthere222 says:

    Proof that you don’t need star billing to be a great actor. Willing to play the gravelly tough guy or the slapstick comedian, he will be remembered. Love you Juliette.

  14. greg palouian says:

    I always liked your father in every thing he appeared in I think they called him the man with the rubber face,so sorry for your loss Juliette Lewis ,n I always loved your acting ability also

  15. Shelley Byers says:

    yes he was a very good actor he played a lot of good movies with Clint Eastwood going to mis him.

  16. Mary says:

    I didn’t realize he was her dad. I liked him in all the Orangutan movies and in Night of the Comet. Plus many many more.

  17. Pat says:

    I am so sad to hear of his passing. He will be truly missed. RIP

  18. Joe Maiorana says:

    I am extremely sorry to hear this news. I had lost touch with Geoff over the years, but in the 50’s at SBVC we were close acquaintances. On Saturdays, he, Tom Bass and I used to get a bottle of wine and take off for parts unknown, i.e., the mountains, the beaches, the desert, the Indio Date Festival, or just about any open country. We both went out for football at SBVC and were the two smallest guys on the line. (I’ll admit now we were too small.)

  19. Gary Adamson says:

    Many a movie was made better because of Geoffrey Lewis.

  20. Mary Banks says:

    Geoffrey, has always been a favorite actor of mine, it is sad to learn of his passing but the good Lord, may need an Angel that can make people laugh in Heaven👼 one of my favorite movies was called ” Wild Hearts” with Richard Thomas he will be missed. Prayers to the Family.. God Bless🙏

  21. I always liked this guy. Was one of those likeable Hollywood types that was in a lot of movies that watched since childhood. I did not know that Juliette was his daughter. RIP dude. You will be missed.

  22. Atomic Fury says:

    God bless him. He made so many memorable characters possible, like Ricky Z.

  23. Paul Francis. says:

    out of the box,Geoff. nobody like you. Remember you in ‘Dillenger’.

  24. My heart goes out to you and your family during this difficult time. Your Dad was a wonderful actor and obviously a fine man. I particularly remember him from ‘Midnight in the garden of good and evil’. He kept a straight face as the flies buzzed around him. I can see where you get your talent from! I send good thoughts and prayers to your family as you bid farewell to your beloved father.

  25. Che Lopez says:

    So sorry for your loss! <3
    I had no idea he was your Dad. I always liked him too!

  26. Glendon says:

    I met Geoffrey Lewis once. Don’t recall where but I believe it was at Celebrity Center Intl.(Scientology). My son and his youngest daughter were close friends at Taft High School in Woodland Hills. He and I had a brief conversation and I’ll never forget those blue, intense compassionate and friendly eyes staring at me while we talked. Sorry to see you go pal. RIP

  27. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1111418308884953&substory_index=0&id=703854326308022 says:

    So sorry did not know Juliette was his daughte love her also. R.i.p.🙏

  28. Dalton Jones says:

    one of my favorite actors. He will be sorely missed. Heartfelt sympathy to the family

  29. Lynda Lewis Larocque says:

    Geoffrey Lewis will always be loved and missed. Always enjoyed watching his performances. Our deepest sympathy to all his family and may GOD comfort them as only God can. He had a great last name ” LEWIS ” ! I use to wonder if somewhere down the line we were related. Any Canadian connections, but there are a lot of Lewis relatives in the States.

  30. A wonderful actor that I have always admired and enjoyed the talent of. I haven’t seen anyone or the article mention that he was on Dallas for years! RIP Geoffrey Lewis, this world has lost a great actor and I’d bet a good man in general! Thoughts and prayers for his friends and family!

  31. judie36 says:

    He was also on Designing Women. Loved him except on Salems Lot, he scared the c**p out of me. My heart goes out to his family.

  32. richard sheppard says:

    TO Juliette Lewis, I was Geoff’s assistant/driver on Lands End, and he treated me better than anyone in Hollywood. I know your loss is great. my condolences to your family. GORDO

  33. Brita says:

    This was a great actor…always loved his natural style..acting without acting. Wonderful!

  34. I remember him well, he was a very good actor and played his parts very well….I’m sure he will be missed. Sympathy and prayers to the family.

  35. Preston says:

    Loved his talent he will be missed. Sympathy & Prayers to the family.

  36. stevoreno says:

    He was one of those great character actors you recognize even if you don’t know his name. Always good in everything I saw him in. RIP.

  37. boonmcbwen says:

    i never realized he was juliettes father…rip geoff, you did good work

  38. Tom Cockrell says:

    I always liked this guy. He always seemed like someone you’d like to have over to just watch TV with or go shoot pool with. Something tells me he was actually just a nice guy.

  39. Roy Malone II says:

    I liked every movie he was in! He had his own light and style about him! God bless him and his family, and may he rest in peace!

  40. Ghengis Khan says:

    I always liked that guy. No matter the show or the role. Whenever he appeared on screen I just had to smile. I never knew him personally but every time I saw him in something it was like seeing n old friend.

  41. Geoffrey Lewis, such a beautiful guy, and so talented. A true working actor and one who always brought life to the characters he played. So sorry to hear this. Heartfelt wishes to all his family. ‘We never really die, only move on.’

  42. Alexandra Mackenzie says:

    I was so fortunate to have the pleasure of knowing Geoffrey when we worked together in the TV series Land’s End in Mexico. He gave me rides to the set and spoke so highly of Juliette! We would joke around between takes when in a scene together. The world will miss such a nice special person! I know I will.

  43. pam mader says:

    so sorry she lost her father. God has a plan for him, for all of us. I loved his movies her did with Clint-Right turn Clyde is the best line. I will miss him as an actor. again I am so sorry for her loss. R I P Geoffrey and God bless the family.

  44. nancy capers says:

    Juliette and Lightfield…Your father was a giant talent and had a huge heart. Such a special soul. I knew him from the Scn. and acting world of 30 years ago. Can’t imagine your loss. Be gentle with yourselves…

  45. Nick says:

    Loved that guy! His ‘Celestial Navigations’ cd’s are an amazing example of what a huge talent he was…way more than a great character actor.RIP Geoffrey. Condolences to his family.

  46. Mark Rodriguez says:

    To Juliette Lewis: I was shocked to read that your father,the great Geoffrey Lewis,who was Philo Bedoe’s best friend,Orville had passed. I love his character and his movies with Clint Eastwood and Clyde the orangutan,even the one that played ma. That’s all I would remember. May God keep him in His sight and Juliette,I love you in Cape Fear,The Other Sister and Kalifornia with that good looking Brad Pitt whom I am envy about and I like your latest show Secrets and Lies and I really do know that Ben is innocent of murdering the little boy. Most of all,I’m sorry about your father. Mark Rodriguez from Houston Texas.

  47. Sander Curtis says:

    To Juliette Lewis: I only met your father and you once at your Woodlands Hills home; my ex-wife, Layne, and your stepmother were high school friends in San Jose, where they both played the cello. Your father was a kind, gentle and unassuming man. I will always remember him as a rich voiced story teller. My sincere condolences.

  48. Eric Medler says:

    I was so into ‘Celestial Navigations’ and Geoff’s ability to transplant me into those stories that I named my son after Geoffrey Lewis. My son is now 22 and his name is Geoffrey Medler. Thank you, Geoff, for sharing your gifts with me and your name with my boy. My hope for love and joy go out to those who hold you near and deer.

    -Eric Medler

  49. Michael says:

    Also played as the gallaghers on little house on prarie

  50. JIM says:

    WOW, WHAT A RESPECTFUL MAN IN HOLLYWOOD. R.I.P. MR. LEWIS

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