Charles Napier (actor)
Napier in April 2008
April 12, 1936|
Mt. Union, Kentucky, U.S.
|Died||October 5, 2011
Bakersfield, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Blood clots|
|Resting place||Bakersfield National Cemetery|
|Alma mater||Western Kentucky University|
|Spouse(s)||Delores Wilson (?–?)
Dee Napier (?–2011); (his death)
|Parent(s)||Linus Pitts Napier,
Sara Lena (nee Loafman) Napier
Charles Lewis Napier (April 12, 1936 – October 5, 2011) was an American character actor, known for his prolific career playing memorable supporting and leading roles in genre cinema, often in the role of a cop, soldier, or authority figure.
After leaving his Kentucky hometown to serve in the army, he graduated college and worked as a sports coach and art teacher before settling on acting as a career. Napier established himself in character roles and worked steadily for the next 35 years. He has made numerous collaborations with director Jonathan Demme, including roles in the critically-acclaimed drama Philadelphia, comedy Married to the Mob, historical horror-drama Beloved, the political-thriller remake The Manchurian Candidate, and the Best Picture-winning psychological horror film adaptation The Silence of the Lambs. Other notable roles include Tucker McElroy as The Blues Brothers, Marshall Murdock in Rambo: First Blood Part II, Lew Brady in Maniac Cop 2, and Commander Gilmour in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.
Napier was born in Mt. Union, Kentucky, the son of Sara Lena (née Loafman; 1897–1974) and Linus Pitts Napier (1888–1991). After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the United States Army in 1954, serving with the 11th Airborne Division and rising to the rank of sergeant.
After his service, he attended Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, graduating in 1961 with a major in art and minor in physical education. He wanted to be a basketball coach and his first job was as an assistant coach at his old high school. Soon after, he gave up coaching, eventually taking jobs with a bridge company and an advertising agency before moving to Clearwater, Florida to teach art at JFK Junior High School.
In 1964, he returned to attend graduate school at Western Kentucky where he was encouraged to pursue acting by instructor D. Russell Miller. Following some success in the local Alley Playhouse, Napier moved back to Florida where he continued to teach as well as act in community theater, eventually moving into Clearwater's Little Theatre as its live-in caretaker. During this time he also pursued painting.
After a spell in New York Napier moved to California. He acquired an agent and a union card (for a bit part in Mission: Impossible). His movie debut came about by accident. A girlfriend took Napier along when she went to audition for Russ Meyer, who cast Napier as the male lead in Cherry, Harry & Raquel!. In addition to acting and helping with the cameras when setting up shots, he did stunts, make up and driving on the film. After the low budget Moonfire, he worked as a journalist and photographer for Overdrive magazine for a few years; a strike sent him back to Hollywood in 1975 where, at age 39, he was reduced to living in his car in the parking lot of Meyer's office with no money, work or agent. He was summoned to Universal Studios to meet Alfred Hitchcock (who had just seen a print of Supervixens) and Napier was given a one-year contract.
Napier became a prolific character actor, appearing regularly in TV series of the time, and a number of pilots. In 1977, he was cast as frontier scout Luther Sprague in the six-episode NBC western television series, The Oregon Trail. He appeared in two episodes of the 1980s hit TV series The A-Team as Col. Briggs. He also co-starred in two The Rockford Files episodes, and played Hammer in the series B.J. and the Bear in the 1970s. Napier as Wolfson Lucas was teamed with Rod Taylor again for the series Outlaws. He is known among Star Trek fans for appearing on both Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Way to Eden" as musically inclined space hippie Adam, and the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Little Green Men" as General Denning. He also appeared in the pilot episode of Knight Rider in 1982.
The director of Citizen's Band, Jonathan Demme, was laudatory about Napier's abilities, and went on to cast him in several films including The Silence of the Lambs and, in what was Napier's favourite role of his career, a judge in Philadelphia. He played the bureaucratic CIA officer Marshall Murdock in Rambo: First Blood Part II. For the 1980 musical-comedy, The Blues Brothers, he portrayed the apoplectic Tucker McElroy, lead singer and driver of the Winnebago for "The Good Ol' Boys."
Napier was in many advertisements. He performed a great deal of voiceover work, including some of the Hulk's growls on 1970s television series The Incredible Hulk, Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, The Critic, Men in Black: The Series and Squidbillies. He also provided several guest voices for episodes of The Simpsons.
He had a small role during the sixth season of Curb Your Enthusiasm in 2008 as a barber who assaults and drives Larry David from his shop after David offends him. Napier appeared in the 2009 horror film Murder World alongside Scout Taylor-Compton. His last film role was in the 2009 comedy The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard opposite Jeremy Piven and James Brolin. Prior to his death in October of 2011, Napier published a book about his life and experiences in Hollywood, titled "Square Jaw and Big Heart", with Dante W. Renzulli Jr.as co-author. The publisher of the book is BearManor Media of Albany, Georgia (ISBN 978-1-59393-624-2).
Personal life and death
Napier married and divorced Delores Wilson. He then married Dee Napier. Napier and his wife attended the Dr. Phil show in 2003 about his obsession with becoming famous. Napier died on October 5, 2011, after collapsing the previous day. He was 75 years old. The exact cause of death was not released, but Napier had been treated for thrombus in his legs in May 2010. Napier is survived by his second wife, Dee, and their young children, Hunter and Meghan, as well as by his son, Chuck, from a previous marriage, which had ended in divorce.
|1969||The House Near the Prado||Unknown1||Swedish drama film written, produced and directed by Jean Van Hearn.|
|The Hanging of Jake Ellis||Jake Ellis||Western film directed and written by Jean Van Hearn.|
|1970||Cherry, Harry & Raquel!||Harry Thompson||Softcore exploitation film produced and directed by Russ Meyer.|
|Beyond the Valley of the Dolls||Baxter Wolfe||Satirical musical melodrama film produced and directed by Russ Meyer.|
|Moonfire||Robert W. Morgan||Action-adventure film written, produced, and directed by Michael Parkhurst.|
|1971||The Seven Minutes||Norman Quandt||Drama film directed and produced by Russ Meyer.|
|1975||Supervixens||Harry Sledge||Sexploitation film by Russ Meyer.|
|1977||Thunder and Lightning||Jim Bob||Drama film directed by Corey Allen.|
|Citizen's Band||Chrome Angel||Comedy film directed by Jonathan Demme.|
|1979||Last Embrace||Quittle||Thriller film directed by Jonathon Demme.|
|1980||The Blues Brothers||Tucker McElroy||Musical crime comedy film directed by John Landis.|
|Melvin and Howard||Ventura||Comedy-drama film directed by Jonathan Demme.|
|1982||Wacko||Chief O'Hara||Horror-parody film directed by Greydon Clark.|
|1983||China Lake||Donnelly||Psychological thriller film directed by Robert Harmon.|
|1984||Swing Shift||Moon Willis||Drama/romantic war film directed by Jonathan Demme and produced by and starring Goldie Hawn.|
|In Search of a Golden Sky||T. J. Rivers||Adventure-drama film directed and produced by Jefferson Richard.|
|1985||Rambo: First Blood Part II||Marshall Murdock||Action film directed by George P. Cosmatos.|
|1986||Something Wild||Irate chef||Action comedy film directed by Jonathan Demme.|
|Body Count||Charlie, the Sheriff|
|1987||Instant Justice||Maj. Davis||Action-drama film directed by Denis Amar.|
|1988||Married to the Mob||Ray, Angela's hairdesser||Comedy film directed by Jonathan Demme.|
|Deep Space||Det. Ian McLemore||Sci-fi horror film directed by Fred Olen Ray.|
|1989||Hit List||Tom Mitchum||Action–thriller movie directed by William Lustig.|
|1990||Future Zone||Mickland||Science-fiction film written and directed by David A. Prior.|
|Miami Blues||Sgt. Bill Henderson||Action-crime-thriller film directed by George Armitage.|
|The Grifters||Gloucester Hebbing||Neo-noir crime drama film directed by Stephen Frears.|
|Maniac Cop 2||Lew Brady||Action horror film directed by William Lustig.|
|Ernest Goes to Jail||Warden Carmichael||Comedy film directed by John R. Cherry III.|
|1991||The Silence of the Lambs||Lt. Boyle||Thriller-psychological horror film directed by Jonathan Demme.|
|Indio 2: The Revolt||IMC President||An ecological action adventure film directed by Antonio Margheriti.|
|1992||Mean Tricks||Brian Hornsby||Crime thriller film produced in Italy and directed by Umberto Lenzi.|
|Eyes of the Beholder||Det. Wilson||Thriller horror mystery film directed and written by Lawrence L. Simeone.|
|1993||Return to Frogtown||Capt. Delano||B movie directed by Donald G. Jackson.|
|Loaded Weapon 1||Interrogator||Satirical comedy film directed by Gene Quintano.|
|Philadelphia||Judge Lucas Garnett||Drama film directed and co-produced by Jonathan Demme.|
|Body Bags||Baseball Team Manager||Horror sci-fi anthology film directed by John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper.|
|Skeeter||Ernie Buckle||Horror film directed by Clark Brandon.|
|1995||Jury Duty||Jed||Comedy film directed by John Fortenberry.|
|3 Ninjas Knuckle Up||Jack||Martial arts comedy film directed by Shin Sang-ok.|
|1996||Original Gangstas||Mayor||Blaxploitation film directed by Larry Cohen.|
|The Cable Guy||Police officer||Satirical black comedy film directed by Ben Stiller.|
|1997||Steel||Col. David||Superhero action film based on the DC Comics character John Henry Irons and written & directed by Kenneth Johnson.|
|Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery||Commander Gilmour||Spy action film directed by Jay Roach.|
|1999||The Big Tease||Sen. Warren Crockett||Comedy film directed by Kevin Allen.|
|Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me||General Hawk||Spy action comedy film directed by Jay Roach.|
|2000||Very Mean Men||Detective Bailey||Crime-comedy film directed by Tony Vitale.|
|Nutty Professor II: The Klumps||Four Star General||Romantic comic science fiction film directed by Peter Segal.|
|2002||Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron||Roy||Animated western drama film directed by Kelly Asbury and Lorna Cook.|
|2004||The Manchurian Candidate||General Sloan||Science fiction-political-thriller film directed by Jonathan Demme.|
|Dinocroc||Sheriff Harper||Creature horror film directed by Kevin O'Neill.|
|2005||Lords of Dogtown||Nudie||Biographical drama film directed by Catherine Hardwicke.|
|2006||Annapolis||Supt. Carter||Drama film directed by Justin Lin.|
|2008||One-Eyed Monster||Montz||Sci-fi/horror comedy film directed by Adam Fields|
|Your Name Here||Chuck Heston|
|2009||The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard||Dick Lewiston||Comedy film directed by Neal Brennan.|
|Life Blood||Sheriff Tillman||Supernatural horror thriller film directed and produced by Ron Carlson.|
|1968||Mission: Impossible||First Guard||Episode: "The Play" (S 3:Ep 9)|
|1969||Star Trek||Adam||Episode: "The Way to Eden" (S 3:Ep 20)|
|1971||Mission: Impossible||Thug||Episode: "Run for the Money" (S 6:Ep 13)|
|1972||Roland||Episode: "Cocaine" (S 7:Ep 6)|
|1975||Starsky & Hutch||John Brown Harris||Episode: "Texas Longhorn" (S 1:Ep 2)|
|Kojak||Marty Vaughan||Episode: "My Brother, My Enemy" (S 3:Ep 3)|
|The Streets of San Francisco||Norderman||Episode: "No Place to Hide: (S 4:Ep 3)|
|Baretta||Whitey||Episode: "Double Image" (s 2:Ep 6)|
|The Rockford Files||Billy Webster||Episode: "2 Into 5.56 Won't Go" (s 2: Ep 10)|
|1976||Baa Baa Black Sheep||Major Red Buell||Episode: "Flying Misfits, part 2" (S 1:Ep 2)|
|Episode: "Best Three Out of Five" (S 1:Ep 3)|
|Delvecchio||Alt||Episode: "Hot Spell" (S 1:Ep 8)|
|1977||The Rockford Files||Mitch Donner||Episode: "New Life, Old Dragons" (S 3:Ep 18)|
|1978||Starsky & Hutch||Sheriff Joe Tyce||Episode: "Satan's Witches" (S 3:Ep 17)|
|1979||The Incredible Hulk||John Blake||Episode: "The Slam" (S 3:Ep 4)|
|1981||Walking Tall||Vernon Larkin||Episode: "The Protectors of the People" (S 1:Ep 2)|
|The Dukes of Hazzard||Digger Jackson||Episode: "Bye, Bye, Boss" (S 3:Ep 20)|
|Private Benjamin||General Thrustmore||Episode: "Benjamin to the Rescue (Pilot)" (S 1:Ep 1)|
|The Incredible Hulk||Bert||Episode: "Triangle" (S 5:Ep 5)|
|1982||Strike Force||Richard Trallis||Episode: "Deadly Chemicals" (S 1"Ep 17)|
|Seven Brides for Seven Brothers||Marshal||Episode: "The Man in the White Hat" (s 1:Ep 2)|
|The Blue and the Gray||Maj. Harrison||Miniseries directed by Andrew V. McLaglen.|
|Dallas||Carl Daggett||Episode: "Where There's a Will" (S 6:Ep 2)|
|Simon & Simon||Gibson||Episode: "Mike & Pat" (S 2:Ep 2)|
|CHiPs||Klane||Episode: "Something Special" (S 6:Ep 6)|
|1983||Tales of the Gold Monkey||Tex||Episode: "High Stakes Lady" (S 1:Ep 14)|
|Dallas||Carl Daggett||Episode: "A Ewing is a Ewing" (S 6:Ep 16)|
|Episode: "Crash of '83" (S 6:Ep 17)|
|The A-Team||Burt Cross||Episode" "Labor Pains" (S 2:Ep 8)|
|The Dukes of Hazzard||Pete||Episode: "Targets: Daisy and Lulu" (S 6:Ep 8)|
|Gun Shy||Carlton||Episode: "Pardon Me Boy, Is That The Quake City Choo Choo?" (S 1:Ep 2)|
|1984||Night Court||Mitch Bowers||Episode: "Hi Honey, I'm Home" (S 1:Ep 13)|
|Whiz Kids||Douglas Blackthorne||Episode: "May I Take Your Order Please?: (S 1:Ep 18)|
|The A-Team||Colonel Briggs||Episode: "Fire!" (S 3:Ep 4)|
|1985||Street Hawk||John Slade||Episode: "Hot Target" (s 1:Ep 9)|
|1986||Murder, She Wrote||Hank Sutter||Episodes:
|Outlaws||Wolfson Lucas||Contract Role|
|1988||The Incredible Hulk Returns||Fouche||Television superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character the Hulk, which serves as a continuation of the Incredible Hulk television series, and directed by Nicholas J. Corea.|
|War and Remembrance||Lt. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith||Miniseries based on the novel of the same name by Herman Wouk and directed by Dan Curtis.|
|1989||Paradise||Guest||Episode: "A Gather Of Guns" (S 2:Ep 1)|
|1991||L.A. Law||Detective Norris||Episode: "The Beverly Hills Hangers" (S 5"Ep 15)|
|1992||The Golden Palace||Mr. Smith #1||Episode: "Camp Town Races Aren't Nearly As Much Fun As They Used To Be" (S 1:Ep 11)|
|Sgt. Douglas Raines||Episode: "Windy City Blues" (S 2:Ep 10)|
|1994–95||The Critic||Duke Phillips||Contract role|
|1994||Coach||Buzz Durkin||Episode: "Head Like a Wheel" (S 6"Ep 25)|
|1995||Murder, She Wrote||Denver Martin||Episode: "The Dream Team" (S 11:Ep 18)|
|Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman||Sailin' Whalen||Episode: "Target: Jimmy Olsen!" (S 2:Ep 19)|
|Star Trek: Deep Space Nine||General Denning||Episode: "Little Green Men" (S 4:Ep 8)|
|1996||Pacific Blue||Tyrone Justice||Episode:"Genuine Heroes" (S 2:Ep 9)|
|The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest||Hinkle||Episode: "Without A Trace" (S 2:Ep 13)|
|1997||Jumanji||Capt. Ishmael Squint||Episode: "Eye of the Sea" (s 2:Ep 2)|
|Superman: The Animated Series||General Hardcastle||Episode: "The Prometheon" (S 2:Ep 3)|
|George & Leo||Dutch||Episode: "The Housekeeper" (S 1:Ep 9)|
|1998||Party of Five||Video Guy||Episode: "Here and Now" (S 4:Ep 15)|
|Jumanji||Captain Ishmael Squint||Episode: "The Ultimate Weapon" (S 3:Ep 9)|
|Second Chances||Craig Hardy||Miniseries directed by James Fargo.|
|1999||Walker, Texas Ranger||Warden||Episode: "Fight or Die" (S 8:Ep 90)|
|2000||Superman: The Animated Series||General Hardcastle||Episodes:
|God, the Devil and Bob||Reverend Nat Potterson||Episode: "In the Beginning (Pilot)" (S 1:Ep 1)|
|Moon Bounce Delivery Guy||Episode: "The Devil's Birthday" (S 1:Ep 4)|
|Roswell||Hal Carver||Episode: "Summer of '47" (S 2:Ep 40|
|Buzz Lightyear of Star Command||Cooley||Episode: "Haunted Moon" (S 1:Ep 36)|
|2001||The Simpsons||Warden||Episode: "Pokey Mom" (S 12:Ep 10)|
|Diagnosis Murder||Johnny McNamara||Episodes:
|The Practice||Judge Abraham Betts||Episode: "Awakenings" (S 5:Ep 15)|
|Episode: "Gideon's Crossover" (S 5:Ep 16)|
|The Legend of Tarzan||Ian McTeague||Episode: "Poisoned River, part 2" (s 1:Ep 8)|
|2002||Son of the Beach||Charles Foster Brooks||Episode: "Three Days of the Condom" (S 3:Ep)|
|2003||The Mummy: The Animated Series||Jack||Episode: "Like Father Like Son" (S 2:Ep 4)|
|God, the Devil and Bob||Group Member||Episode: "Bob Gets Involved" (S 1:Ep 13)|
|Police Officer||Episode: "Bob's Father" (S 1:Ep 110|
|The Simpsons||Grant Connor||Episode: "The Fat and the Furriest" (S 15:Ep 5)|
|2004||Warden||Episode: "Wandering Juvie" (S 15:Ep 16)|
|Justice League Unlimited||General Hardcastle||Episode: "Fearful Symmetry" (S 3:Ep 6)|
|2005||The Simpsons||Officer Krackney||Episode: "The Seven-Beer Snitch" (S 16:Ep 14)|
|The 4400||Reverend Josiah||Episodes:
|The Batman||Killgore Steed||Episode: "The Laughing Cats" (S 3:Ep 7)|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation||Warren Matthews||Episode: "Still Life" (S 6:Ep 10)|
|2006||Monk||Sheriff Bates||Episode: "Mr. Monk Bumps His Head" (S 4:Ep 110|
|2007||Curb Your Enthusiasm||Bert's Dad||Episode: "The Lefty Call" (S 6:Ep 4)|
|2008||Cold Case||Hal Chaney||Episode: "Shore Leave" (S 6:Ep 5)|
|2011||Archer||Dr. Spelts||Episode: "Stage Two" (S 2:Ep 8)|
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- "Deep Space". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- "Hit List". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- "Miami Blues". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
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- "Very Mean Men". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
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- "Lords of Dogtown". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
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