Updated: 6/21/2012: Yahoo! has confirmed the news of Lynch’s passing. See update below.
This has yet to be confirmed, but I have received word from several notable sources that veteran actor Richard Lynch, best known for playing a wide array of heinous villains in a film and television career spanning nearly four decades, has died at the age of 76. At the moment there are no details as to the cause of his death, but we will keep you updated as we get information.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Lynch was born on February 12, 1936, as one of seven children in his family. Beginning in 1958 Lynch served in the United States Marine Corps for four years, ending his military career at the rank of Corporal. Following his stint in the Marines, Lynch returned to New York to study acting under the legendary acting teachers Uta Hagen and Lee Strasberg. He became a lifetime member of the prestigious Actors Studio in 1970 and had appeared in many stage productions on and off Broadway, including William Shakespeare’s Richard III and Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge. Lynch made his feature acting debut in 1973’s Scarecrow alongside Gene Hackman and Al Pacino. Throughout the 1970’s the actor built up his resume with appearances in films like The Seven-Ups, The Happy Hooker, God Told Me To, and Deathsport and television shows such as Starsky and Hutch, Battlestar Galactica, and Buck Rogers.
Lynch was often cast as heavies due to his distinctive face, which was scarred as a result of the actor setting himself on fire accidentally while tripping on LSD in New York’s Central Park in 1967. For the remainder of his career he would continue to appear in numerous low-budget sci-fi, horror, and action movies. In 1979, Lynch played the title role in the well-received TV movie Vampire, which had been intended to be a pilot for a weekly series that was picked up. It was a rare leading role for the actor. The next three decades would bring more villain roles for Richard Lynch including William Peter Blatty’s brilliant insane asylum satire The Ninth Configuration, Albert Pyun’s action-fantasy cult classic The Sword and the Sorcerer, the Chuck Norris Commie-basher Invasion U.S.A., and the psychological horror Bad Dreams. He also played Sidney Poitier’s corrupt FBI partner in the spy drama Little Nikita. Throughout the 90s and 00s he took on major and minor roles in several low-grade genre movies; one of the highlights from this period was the Mystery Science Theater 3000 classic Werewolf.
Towards the end of his life Lynch made a brief appearance as Michael Myers’ school principal in Rob Zombie’s controversial remake of Halloween and most recently reunited with the director for the upcoming horror feature The Lords of Salem. He had also become a fixture on the horror convention circuit and delighted in regaling fans with colorful anecdotes from his long and storied acting career.
Regardless of the quality of the film Richard Lynch always brought his A-game to every role and usually stole his every scene. He was an actor with genuine screen presence. Needless to say the man will be sorely missed.
RIP – Richard Lynch 1936 – 2012
UPDATE: 6/21/2012: We reported this story on 6/19; on 6/20 Yahoo! confirmed the report. According to their report, Lynch’s body was found on Tuesday 6/19 at his home in Palm Springs, CA by Lynch’s friend, actress Carol Vogel. Vogel found him on his kitchen floor. No investigation will be done, as Lynch’s body was sent right to a funeral home.