He passed away peacefully at Cedars Sinai hospital in Los Angeles at the age of 91, his agent confirmed yesterday.
The actor had appeared in hit films, including “Repo Man,” “Cool Hand Luke,” and “Paris, Texas,” as well as the recent reboot of television’s “Twin Peaks”.
In a career spanning 60 years, he worked with some of Hollywood’s most notable directors, such as Frances Ford Coppola on the “The Godfather Part Two” and “One From the Heart”, as well as Martin Scorsese, David Lynch and Ridley Scott.
Stanton’s final on-screen performance can be seen in the upcoming film “Lucky.”
He became known for his strong physical presence characterised by his long, craggy face highlighted by messy hair and sad, droopy eyes.
Stanton credited Hollywood actor Jack Nicholson with giving him vital professional advice. Nicholson had written a part for Stanton in the Western “Ride the Whirlwind” and told him, “Let the wardrobe do the acting and just play yourself.”
“After Jack said that, my whole approach to acting opened up,” Stanton revealed.
Two 1984 films cemented his reputation in Hollywood: “Repo Man” and “Paris, Texas.” The former became an independent cult film favorite with Stanton as a comically grizzled and paranoid car repossession expert trying to pass on his dubious code of ethics to his apprentice.
Other notable Stanton movies were “Pretty in Pink,” “The Missouri Breaks,” “Red Dawn,” “Escape From New York,” “The Green Mile” and “Cool Hand Luke.”
He was born July 14, 1926, in West Irvine, Kentucky, to a tobacco farmer father and hairdresser mother who divorced when he was a teenager.
He was a cook at the battle of Okinawa during his US Navy service in World War Two, became interested in acting while attending the University of Kentucky and pursued acting at the prestigious Pasadena Playhouse in California.
Stanton made a second career of music, playing regularly in Los Angeles and sometimes touring with the Harry Dean Stanton Band, in which he sang and played guitar and harmonica.
Stanton never married but once told an interviewer he had “one, maybe two” sons.