Brion James, who played Leon the murderous replicant in “Blade Runner” and appeared in character roles in more than 100 other movies, died Aug. 7 at UCLA Medical Center after suffering a heart attack in his Malibu home. He was 54.
The 6-foot, 3-inch James had key roles in such motion pictures as “Corvette Summer” (1978); “48 HRS” (1982) and “Another 48 HRS” (1990) as Nick Nolte’s partner; “The Player” (1992); and “The Fifth Element” (1997).
James regarded his role as a studio executive in Robert Altman’s “The Player” as a career turning point that led to a wider variety of roles. But the actor remained in greatest demand for thrillers, many of which went straight to video.
In the classic science fiction film “Blade Runner,” James was one of the four replicants pursued by former police officer Harrison Ford. He challenged Ford with the line: “Wake up … time to die!”
James also appeared in a variety of TV movies and guested on such series as “The Waltons,” “CHiPs,” “Little House on the Prairie,” “The Dukes of Hazzard,” “The A-Team,” “Matlock,” “Miami Vice” and “Walker, Texas Ranger.”
A native of Beaumont, Calif., James majored in theater at San Diego State College and studied acting in New York with Stella Adler.
He is survived by two brothers.
A memorial service is planned for next month, according to director Philippe Mora, who helmed several of James’ films.