G. D. Spradlin

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G. D. Spradlin
Gd-spradlin-1-sized.jpg
Born Gervase Duan Spradlin
(1920-08-31)August 31, 1920
Pauls Valley, Oklahoma[1]
Died July 24, 2011(2011-07-24) (aged 90)
San Luis Obispo, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Oklahoma
Occupation Actor
Years active 1964–99
Political party
Democrat
Spouse(s) Nell Spradlin
(?–2000; her death),
Frances Hendrickson
(2002–2011; his death)
Children 2 daughters
Signature GDSpradlin.png

Gervase Duan "G.D." Spradlin (August 31, 1920 – July 24, 2011) was an American actor. Known for his distinctive accent and flinty voice, he often played devious authority figures. He is credited in over 70 television and film productions, and performed alongside actors including Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, and George C. Scott.

Early life[edit]

Spradlin was born in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. His parents both worked as schoolteachers. Spradlin obtained his bachelor's degree in education from the University of Oklahoma. He was a member of the Delta Chi Fraternity. He then served in the United States Army Air Force during World War II, where he was stationed in China.[1]

Following World War II, Spradlin returned to the University of Oklahoma, where he completed a law degree in 1948.[1] He first began his career as an attorney working in Venezuela and then became an independent oil producer forming Rouge Oil Company.[1] Before he turned to acting he was active in local politics campaigning for John F. Kennedy in 1959. He joined the Oklahoma Repertory Theatre in 1964.[2]

Career[edit]

A notable break for Spradlin resulted from his work in television in the 1960s. Fred Roos had cast Spradlin in such television shows as I Spy (as the immediate superior of Pentagon spies Kelly Robinson and Alexander Scott in the episode "Tonia") and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.. Spradlin portrayed Commander Maurice E. "Germany" Curts, Communications Officer, U.S. Pacific Fleet, in an uncredited role in Tora! Tora! Tora! in 1970. He was also in the late Sixties counter -culture film Zabriskie Point (1970). He worked with Jack Webb on the series Dragnet, playing multiple roles from a safecracker to a low-level con man.[3]

When Roos co-produced The Godfather Part II, he recommended Spradlin to play the role of a corrupt U.S. Senator from Nevada, Senator Pat Geary.[2] Among his film credits are One on One (1977) (as an authoritarian basketball coach) and Apocalypse Now (as the general who assigns Martin Sheen's character to the search mission).[2] He played the head football coach B.A. Strother in North Dallas Forty (1979), General Durrell the commandant of the "Carolina Military Institute" in the 1983 movie The Lords of Discipline, a conspirator in the attempted assassination of a state governor in Nick of Time, Ed Wood and The Long Kiss Goodnight, as the President of the United States.[3]

In 1984 Spradlin played a villainous Southern sheriff in Tank. In 1986, he starred in the miniseries Dream West. In 1988, he played Admiral Raymond A. Spruance in the miniseries War and Remembrance. In 1989, Spradlin played a small role in the film The War of the Roses as a divorce lawyer, with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner.[1]

Spradlin retired from acting after his last film, Dick (1999), in which he played Ben Bradlee.[1] He reprised his role as Pat Geary in Electronic Arts' video game adaptation of The Godfather Part II in 2009.

Spradlin also played the role of Bishop Dyer in a TV adaption of the 1912 novel "Riders of the Purple Sage".

Death[edit]

Spradlin died of natural causes at his cattle ranch in San Luis Obispo, California, on July 24, 2011, at the age of 90. His first wife, Nell, with whom he had two daughters, died in 2000. He was survived by his second wife, Frances Hendrickson, whom he married in 2002.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g McLellan, Dennis (July 26, 2011). "G.D. Spradlin dies at 90; veteran character actor". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 27, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Martin, Douglas (July 27, 2011). "G.D. Spradlin, Prolific Character Actor, Dies at 90". The New York Times. p. B17. Retrieved July 27, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Wilonsky, Robert (July 27, 2011). "A Fond Farewell to G.D. Spradlin, Once the Coach of the North Dallas Bulls". Unfair Park (Dallas, TX: Dallas Observer). Retrieved July 27, 2011. 

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