John Ashley, who started as an actor in hot rod and beach party movies and who became a successful producer of such hits as “The A-Team” and “Walker, Texas Ranger,” died Oct. 4 of a heart attack on the set of his new feature film “Scarred City” in New York City. He was 62.
Ashley teamed with Frank Lupo as the executive or co-exec producer of vidpics and adventure series including “Walker, Texas Ranger,” “Lawless,” “Hardball” and “Something’s Out There.”
Born in Kansas City, Mo., and educated in Oklahoma, Ashley began his film career in the late 1950s acting in such films as “Hot Rod Gang” (1958), “How to Make a Monster” (1958) and”Frankenstein’s Daughter” (1959).
Continuing with American Intl. Pictures into the 1960s, he played second leads in several of the studio’s beach party movies, including “Muscle Beach Party” (1964), “Bikini Beach” (1964), and “Beach Blanket Bingo” (1965).
Ashley’s producing career began when he paired with director Eddie Romeo to co-produce such modest films as “Beyond Atlantis” (1973), “Twilight People” (1972) and “Savage Sisters” (1974), most of which starred Ashley and were directed by Romero.
Ashley, along with Romero, also had a hand in coordinating the production of Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” (1979). He then went on to produce 18 films in the Philippines for his own production company.
Ashley later worked with Stephen J. Cannell on several series and telefilms, in addition to his partnership with Lupo. He was recently an in-house producer for TriStar Television.
He is survived by his wife and two sons.