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Bo Hopkins, who appeared in memorable films like The Wild Bunch (1969), The Getaway (1972), American Graffiti (1973), The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing (1973), Posse (1975), and Midnight Express (1978), died at Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys after suffering a heart attack. He was 80.
Born William Hopkins on February 2, 1942 Greenville, South Carolina, Hopkins appeared in more than 100 film and television roles in a career that spanned more than five decades. The name Bo was in reference to the character of the same name he played in Bus Stop, his first off-Broadway play. “The producers wanted me to change my name, and since I wanted to keep my last name, we agreed to change the first. That’s how it became Bo,” he said in an interview.
Hopkins’ early guest roles on television included The Phyllis Diller Show, The Virginian, Gunsmoke, The Wild Wild West and The Andy Griffith Show. His first regularly scheduled TV series role came in 1973 in medical drama Doc Elliott, which lasted one season.
In addition to his next round of TV show guest appearances, Hopkins appeared in a number of made-for-television movies of the mid-1970s, including Judgment: The Court Martial of Lieutenant William Calley (1975), The Runaway Barge (1975), The Invasion of Johnson County (1976), Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway (1976), Woman on the Run (1977), Thaddeus Rose and Eddie (1978), Crisis in Sun Valley (1978), and The Busters (1978).
Following a brief recurring role on The Rockford Files, Hopkins appeared in the first season of the original Dynasty from Aaron Spelling. His many other TV appearances included in miniseries Aspen and Beggerman Thief, and in dramas Charlie’s Angels, Fantasy Island, The A-Team, Hotel, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, The Fall Guy, Matlock and Murder, She Wrote. More recent was his role as Papaw Vance opposite Glenn Close in direct-to-streaming theatrical Hillbilly Elegy in 2020.
Hopkins is survived by his wife Sian and son Matthew.