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Bo Hopkins of 'American Graffiti', 'Wild Bunch' dies: 'Actor to his core'

Hopkins gathered more than 100 film and TV credits to his name over his multi-decade career.

LOS ANGELES — Bo Hopkins, best known for his roles in "American Graffiti", Wild Bunch" and other classics, has died.

The actor's death was confirmed on his official website Saturday.

"It is with great sadness that we announce that Bo has passed away," the announcement read. "Bo loved hearing from his fans from around the world and although he was unable to respond to every email over the last few years, he appreciated hearing from each and every one of you."

Hopkins' wife of more than 30 years told The Hollywood Reporter that he died in a Los Angeles hospital after suffering a heart attack earlier in May. He was 80 years old. 

Hopkins' multi-decade career began in the late 60s with roles in shows like "Gunsmoke", "The Andy Griffith Show" and "The Phyllis Diller Show," according to IMDB.  

According to his online bio, Hopkins' first major cinematic role was in Sam Peckinpah's "The Wild Bunch" -- he played Clarence “Crazy” Lee in the 1969 Western classic. He became a favorite of Peckinpah, playing roles in "The Getaway" and "The Killer Elite". 

In "American Graffiti", Hopkins played Pharaohs leader Joe Young, who convinces protagonist Curt to to hook a chain to a police car to rip out its back axle. 

Hopkins gathered more than 100 film and TV credits to his name over his career. He received a Star on the Western Walk of Stars in 2017.


The actor was born William Hopkins in Greenville, South Carolina. According to Variety, he changed his name to “Bo” after his character in his first off-Broadway play, "Bus Stop." He joined the U.S. Army as a teenager before beginning his acting career. 

His latest film role was in Ron Howard's 2020 "Hillbilly Elegy" alongside Glenn Close. Close shared a photo of the two on Instagram Saturday, remembering Hopkins as an "actor to his core" who "put his heart into every take."

"Just heard that the wonderful Bo Hopkins died peacefully, early this morning, with his devoted wife, Sian, holding his hand," Close wrote. "He was a gentleman and a gentle man. He may have once, during his early days, around the time of AMERICAN GRAFFITI, been one of the bad boys, but I got acquainted and enjoyed the company of a man with a twinkle in his eye and the heart of a knight."

An earlier version of this story stated that Hopkins was 84 years old. 

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