Powers Boothe, a longtime character actor in Hollywood, passed away on Sunday at the age of 68 due to natural causes. Boothe was famous for playing a wide variety of villains, henchmen and politicians during his acting career. The news was first announced via the Twitter account of actor and long-time friend of Boothe’s, Beau Bridges, who expressed his condolences and called him a “dear friend” and a “great actor” in the message. Boothe leaves behind his wife Pam, who he was married to since 1969, and two children.
It's with great sadness that I mourn the passing of my friend Powers Boothe. A dear friend, great actor, devoted father & husband.
— Beau Bridges (@MrBeauBridges) May 14, 2017
Boothe was born in Snyder, Texas to a family of sharecroppers. He was the first member of his family to pursue a university education, and discovered the possibility of acting at Texas State University. Boothe first entered acting through the theater, appearing in several Shakespeare productions as well as Lone Star, which was his Broadway debut.
His first real big break came in 1980, when he starred in a made-for-TV film for CBS, Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones, in which Boothe played the cult leader responsible for the Jonestown mass suicide. His manic and charismatic performance earned him an Emmy Award, and he immediately became a go-to for directors who needed someone to fill a dark role. In the 1980s, he did play less morally questionable characters in big productions, including a pilot in 1984’s Red Dawn and a detective in the Philip Marlowe, Private Eye TV series. He began receiving new critical acclaim in the 1990s for his portrayal of Curly Bill in 1993’s Tombstone and Alexander Haig in 1995’s Nixon. He remained active into the 2000s, appearing in substantial roles on hit television shows, such as Deadwood and 24. Marvel fans may recognize his work as Gideon Malick in 2012’s The Avengers and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D series, the latter being his final work.