John Saxon dies: ‘Enter The Dragon’ actor was 83

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John Saxon dies: 'Enter The Dragon' actor was 83
John Saxon dies: 'Enter The Dragon' actor was 83

“A Nightmare on Elm Street” star John Saxon is dead at age 83, his wife Gloria announced Sunday.

Saxon, who appeared in nearly 200 movies and TV shows, died Saturday of pneumonia in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The Brooklyn native appeared in three “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies as police officer Donald Thompson, the cop father of Heather Langenkamp’s character Nancy. His character was killed by Freddy Kreuger’s skeleton in the third film of the horror franchise, but he returned to play a heightened version of himself in Wes Craven’s “New Nightmare” in 1994.

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He also notably competed in a martial arts tournament in “Enter the Dragon,” Bruce Lee’s final movie, in 1973.

THR notes that Saxon, an Italian-American actor born Carmine Orrico, also played characters with different ethnicities, including a Golden Globe-nominated role as a Mexican bandit opposite Marlon Brando in “The Appaloosa” (1966), a Middle East tycoon named Rashid Ahmed on “Dynasty” in the ‘80s, and as a Puerto Rican in “Cry Tough” (1959).

His long list of credits also include the soap opera “Falcon Crest,” “The Bold Ones,” “Melrose Place,” “The Six Million Dollar Man,” “Starsky and Hutch,” the cult classic “Black Christmas,” 1979′s “The Electric Horseman,” Clint Eastwood’s “Joe Kidd,” Eddie Murphy’s “Beverly Hills Cop III” and 1996′s “From Dusk Till Dawn.” He won a Golden Globe Award for “Most Promising Newcomer” in 1958′s “This Happy Feeling.”

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“I always loved seeing John Saxon in a movie or TV show,” director Peyton Reed wrote on Twitter. “His first impression on me was a strong one: playing Steve Austin’s old pal Major Frederick Sloan AND the robot that replaces him in the ‘Day of the Robot’ episode of ‘The Six Million Dollar Man.’ So good.”

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“He had strength and charm, which was a great combination. His strong presence allowed him, with ease to command every role he portrayed. Black Christmas, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Tenebrae and countless more…Rip the great John Saxon,” horror movie actress Barbara Crampton tweeted.

Survivors include Saxon’s wife, his son Antonio, and his sister Dolores.

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