Bo Hopkins died yesterday after suffering a heart attack. Mr. Hopkins was eighty.
Although he was named William at birth and called Billy as he was growing up, his stage name became Bo when producers of his first off-Broadway play suggested a name change. Bo was the name of the character he was playing.
Bo Hopkins decided on an acting career after serving in the army. He began getting parts in local plays, then moved to New York for more stage acting. Later Mr. Hopkins moved to Hollywood to seek his fame and fortune. His first roles were guest appearances on television shows. Then Bo Hopkins got his breakout role in Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch. For the remainder of his career Mr. Hopkins alternated between television appearances and feature films.
Some of Bo Hopkins’ television appearances are on: The Virginian, Gunsmoke, The Wild Wild West, The Andy Griffith Show, The Rat Patrol, The Guns of Will Sonnett, Bonanza, Ironside, Nichols, Hawaii Five-O, Barnaby Jones, The Rockford Files (4 episodes), Charlie’s Angels, Fantasy Island, The A-Team, The Fall Guy, Dynasty (18 episodes), Matlock and Murder She Wrote.
Feature Films on Bo Hopkins’ resume include: The Wild Bunch, Monte Walsh, The Getaway, The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing, American Graffiti, White Lightning, The Killer Elite, Midnight Express, More American Graffiti and Shade.
I first time I saw Bo Hopkins was on The Wild, Wild West, but the role that comes to mind when his name is mentioned is in The Wild Bunch. Bo Hopkins appeared in quite a few television shows throughout his career and many of them were shows I watched. I quickly came to realize that if Bo Hopkins showed up in the credits, things were about to go down. Then he began appearing in movies often opposite of the tough guy stars: Lee Marvin, Steve McQueen, Burt Reynolds and James Caan to name a few. Bo Hopkins made a great adversary. I also love that Bo Hopkins appeared in Shade with Sly Stallone. Any time Bo Hopkins name appeared in the credits, I knew we were in for something special.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.