Charles Dierkop, “Butch Cassidy” and “Police Woman” actor, dies at 87

The character actor was best known for playing George “Flat Nose” Curry in the classic 1969 Western.

Charles Dierkop, the character actor who appeared in memorable projects like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Police Woman, has died at age 87.

The actor died Sunday at Sherman Oaks Hospital following a heart attack and a case of pneumonia, his publicist Ananda Friedman tells EW.

<p>Everett Collection</p>

Everett Collection

Born in La Crosse, Wisconsin, in 1936, Dierkop enlisted in the Marine Corps in the mid-1950s and studied acting upon his return to civilian life — first in Philadelphia, then at the Actors Studio in New York with Lee Strasberg. His first on-screen appearance came in a 1960 episode of The Naked City, a crime series that he’d appear on seven more times over the next two years (as a different character each time). His first big-screen role was in 1961’s Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, a sci-fi movie starring Walter Pidgeon, Robert Sterling, Peter Lorre, and Joan Fontaine.

Dierkop had small supporting roles in Robert Rossen’s The Hustler starring Paul Newman, Sidney Lumet’s The Pawnbroker starring Rod Steiger, and Roger Corman’s The St. Valentine's Day Massacre starring Jason Robards.

<p>Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images</p> Charles Dierkop

Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Charles Dierkop

Dierkop’s most recognizable movie role came in 1968’s classic Western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, in which he played the outlaw George “Flat Nose” Curry. Since the actor had broken his nose several times in his youth, his agent thought he might be a good fit for the part. “My agent was on a plane reading a script and it says, ‘Flat Nose Curry’ … I think I have someone in mind,” he said in a 2018 interview. “So I got an interview with [director] George Roy Hill and got cast, quite simply.” Dierkop also reteamed with Hill, Newman, and Robert Redford on 1973’s The Sting, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

On the small screen, Dierkop played undercover investigator Pete Royster in 90 episodes of Police Woman. He also appeared in supporting roles in some of the most prominent series of the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, including Star Trek, The Andy Griffith Show, Mission: Impossible, Bonanza, Batman, Kung Fu, Gunsmoke, CHiPs, Fantasy Island, MacGyver, and ER. Other film credits include the Christmas slasher Silent Night, Deadly Night, Messiah of Evil, and Maverick.

<p>Columbia Pictures TV/Courtesy Everett</p> Charles Dierkop with Ed Bernard on 'Police Woman'

Columbia Pictures TV/Courtesy Everett

Charles Dierkop with Ed Bernard on 'Police Woman'

Dierkop is survived by his daughter Lynn Scudder. "I got to spend most of his last day with him in the hospital and was able to thank him for showing me how to live life in the most loving way,” Scudder tells EW. “My little brother, only by a year, Little Charlie, passed away in 1990. It’s very comforting to know that they finally are together."

"Charlie had great respect for the craft of acting and deep ties to the greats from his many roles over decades,” Jan Salerno, a fine artist and friend of Dierkop for over five decades, tells EW. “He taught acting and lived and breathed the presence it takes to be personally satisfied with a take or performance. I learned a lot from him about life, acting, friendship, and love. A true great. He bought my hand-painted clothes and contracted more for his series 'Police Woman.' We were fast family friends after that, accompanying him on the set and becoming his personal assistant."

"To me, he was more than a client, and a family friend since birth; he was a cherished mentor—a perpetual source of love and inspiration, akin to that of a beloved uncle,” Friedman tells EW. “His profound impact on my heart and life is enduring, and his pride in my career choice as a publicist serves as a testament to his enduring support. Charlie's indelible mark on the entertainment world and on the lives he touched will forever be celebrated and remembered."

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