William Bo Hopkins, the wily American actor popular for his performances in notable films like The Wild Bunch, American Graffiti, Midnight Express, and White Lightning, passed away on the 28th of May, Saturday, at the age of 84.
According to his wife Sian, Hopkins suffered a heart attack this month on 9th May and was admitted to Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys for treatment.
Hopkins’ death was confirmed on the official portal of the late actor’s website, which read, “It is with great sadness that we announce that Bo has passed away. Bo loved hearing from his fans from around the world and although he was unable to respond to every email over the last few years, he appreciated hearing from each and every one of you”.
Everything about Bo Hopkins
Hopkins featured in more than 100 films and TV shows in his career spanning more than four decades.
William Hopkins was born in the year 1938 in Greenville, South Carolina. Hopkins had a troubled life as a youngster with many instances of absenteeism, and minor crimes. He also stayed in a reform school for some time. He later discontinued his studies before his 17th birthday and joined the United States Army.
Career in Acting
Hopkins developed an interest in acting and wanted to try his luck in the entertainment industry. He performed in a few area plays and got a scholarship from Pioneer Playhouse, an outdoor theatre in Kentucky to study acting and stage production.
Hopkins kickstarted his career in movies in the year 1968 in Dayton’s Devil as a Taxi Driver. He was later recruited by director Sam Peckinpah in his movie The Getaway (1972) as a bank robber.
He then went on to appear in several made-for-television movies during the mid-1970s like Judgment: The Court-Martial of Lieutenant William Calley (1975), The Runaway Barge (1975), The Invasion of Johnson County (1976), Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway (1976), Woman on the Run (1977), Thaddeus Rose and Eddie (1978), Crisis in Sun Valley (1978), and The Busters (1978).
Rise to Stardom
He gained prominence for his role as Joe “Little Joe” Young, a gang leader in George Lucas’ film “American Graffiti” in 1973.
Hopkins also performed in several movies like The Moonshine War (1970), Monte Walsh (1970), The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing (1973), Posse (1975), Tentacles (1977), The Fifth Floor (1978), Big Bad John (1990), Radioland Murders (1994) and U Turn (1997).
Hopkins in an interview with Shock Cinema magazine in 2012 said, “I go to car shows because American Graffiti is the national anthem of car shows. Graffiti got people out draggin’ and going up, and down streets cruisin’.”
He added, “It got people into cars doing that kind of stuff again. If I told you how many times people have come up to Candy [Clark], Paul [Le Mat], and me at these shows and told us that we’ve changed their lives, you wouldn’t believe it.”
Hopkins’ Last Movie
Hopkins performed in his last film, Hillbilly Elegy in 2020 as Papaw Vance opposite Glenn Close which was directed by Ron Howard.
Hopkins is survived by his wife for 33 years Sian and son Matthew and daughter Jane.
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