Tom Bower Dies: Veteran Actor Best Known For ‘The Waltons,’ ‘Die Hard 2’ & ‘Lucky Hank’ Was 86

Tom Bower Dies: Veteran Actor Best Known For ‘The Waltons,’ ‘Die Hard 2’ & ‘Lucky Hank’ Was 86

Tom Bower, the veteran character actor best known for prominent turns on The Waltons and in Die Hard 2, has died. A family member confirmed the news to Deadline’s sister publication The Hollywood Reporter. He was 86.

Bower never had what one might call a “breakout” part, but he was an actor one recognized from, well, everywhere. His more than 180 screen credits include appearances on The Rockford Files, Lou Grant, Quincy M.E., Miami Vice, Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue, The X-Files, Law & Order and many other TV staples of the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and early 2000s.

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And he kept on working. In the past 15 years, Bower was on Ray Donovan, Bosch, Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds, The Office and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. He also played the father of Bob Odenkirk’s character on Lucky Hank and had a part in Vince Gilligan’s El Camino, A Breaking Bad Movie.

Bower saw the most screen time on CBS’ hit The Waltons. He was featured on 27 episodes of the landmark series, first as a stunt pilot named Rex Barker in an episode titled “Wingwalker”, and then more prominently as Dr. Curtis Willard in Season 5 of the show. The character was a romantic interest for Mary Ellen (Judy Norton), and the two married before Dr. Willard went off to war. Bower later said he was written off the show after asking for a small raise.

Mary McDonough, who played Erin Walton, wrote on learning of Bower’s passing, “Sad to hear we lost our ‘brother in law’ Curt. Rest in peace Tom Bower.”

On the big screen, Bower worked with prominent directors such as John Cassavetes (Shadows), Oliver Stone (Nixon), Werner Herzog (Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans), Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace), Edward James Olmos (American Me), Philip Noyce (Clear and Present Danger), Kevin Costner (The Postman) and Ed Harris (Pollock, Appaloosa).

In Die Hard 2, the actor played Marvin, a janitor who helps Bruce Willis’ Lt. John McClane beat the bad guys. In fact, when McClane is finally reunited with his wife in the film’s denouement, it is Marvin who picks them up in an airport cart and drives them off into the sunset.


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