Veteran Western and horror actor Clu Gulager has died at 93. The Hollywood Reporter says that Gulager died on Friday at his son and daughter-in-law’s Los Angeles home. The Oklahoma cowboy entertainer was known for roles in The Tall Man, The Virginian, The Last Picture Show, and many notable horror roles, including Return of the Living Dead and A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddie’s Revenge. He also played Lee Marvin’s apprentice hitman in The Killers, a mechanic working opposite Paul Newman in Winning, and he played a detective working with John Wayne in McQ. His final acting credit was Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Clu Gulager Starts Out in Westerns
IndieWire says that Gulager was born in Oklahoma in 1928. A Cherokee, he was born William Martin Gulager but went by the Cherokee nickname Clu. His middle name was Martin, and Cherokees refer to purple martins as the “clu-clu” birds. After making his acting debut in a 1955 episode of Omnibus, Gulager quickly became a TV Western star. He portrayed Billy the Kid in both seasons of The Tall Men, and he appeared in 104 episodes of The Virginian. He also appeared in TV Westerns such as Wagon Train and Bonanza.
Clu Gulager Becomes Horror Actor
While he was a successful actor for many years, Gulager’s best-known work came in the 1980s when he began acting in horror. He was the lead in the cult classic Return of the Living Dead and acted in many other horror films, such as Feast and Pirhanna 3DD (both directed by his son John). He also appeared in Children of the Corn: Runaway and Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter.