John Saxon, the actor who starred with Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon and appeared in three Nightmare on Elm Street movies for director Wes Craven, sadly passed away on Saturday. He was 83.Saxon died of pneumonia in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, his wife, Gloria, told The Hollywood Reporter. An Italian-American from Brooklyn, Saxon played characters of various ethnicities during his long career.
His portrayal of a brutal Mexican bandit opposite Marlon Brando in The Appaloosa (1966) earned him a Golden Globe, and he had a recurring role on ABC’s Dynasty as Rashid Ahmed, a powerful Middle East tycoon who romanced Alexis Colby (Joan Collins). And on another 1980s primetime soap, CBS’ Falcon Crest, he played the father of Lorenzo Lamas’ character.
He played a police chief who makes a fatal mistake in the Canadian cult horror classic Black Christmas (1974), featuring Margot Kidder and Keir Dullea, and his horror résumé also includes two films for Roger Corman: Queen of Blood (1966) and Battle Beyond the Stars (1980).
In Enter the Dragon (1973), Lee’s first mainstream American movie and last before his death at age 32, Saxon portrayed Roper, a degenerate gambler who participates in a martial arts tournament. In real life, his fighting skills did not approach those possessed by Lee and another co-star, karate champion Jim Kelly.
Saxon went on to play the cop Lt Thompson in the first and third films in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, where he’s eventually killed by Freddy Krueger’s skeleton. He then returned to play a version of himself in Wes Cravens ‘New Nightmare’ (1994).
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