Famous character actor and director Gervase Duan Spradlin has passed away aged 90 years old. The former lawyer and short time oil producer enjoyed a prolific acting career which included such iconic titles as The Godfather: Part II and Apocalypse Now.
Spradlin died on Sunday night at his ranch in San Luis Obispo, CA but it’s clear that he was a man who liked to keep himself active and his quest for a purpose in life would certainly have contributed to his longevity.
He was born August 31st, 1920 in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma and prior to his acting career he served in China with the Army Air Forces during World War II and then as an attorney with Phillips Petroleum Co. before he made a small fortune as an independent oil producer.
Spradlin had a brief stint in politics and had a hand in John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign and a failed run for Mayor of Oklahoma City in 1965.
His acting career came later on in life during his 40’s and happened under bizarre circumstances. While taking his daughter to an audition for a production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof he somehow managed to get a part for himself instead.
After that Spradlin moved his family to LA where he started to pick up roles portraying lawyers, doctors, military officials and other authoritative characters, roles in which he flourished. He played small but key figures such as the corrupt Senator Geary in The Godfather: Part II and the General responsible for briefing Martin Sheen on his mission to wipe out Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now.
Other films he graced include Ed Wood, War of the Roses, The long Kiss Goodnight (as the US President) and Dick in which he played a Washington Post editor.
In 1972 Spradlin turned his hand to directing with two movies released that year.
After a career spanning three decades and rubbing shoulders with such esteemed actors as Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and Johnny Depp, a motivated Spradlin told the Times in 1967, “Being rich changes surprisingly little, you’ll still have to have an absorbing interest in life, something to do to make you feel alive.”
Spradlin leaves behind his second wife, Frances Hendrickson, two daughters and five grandchildren.
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Read about other actors who have passed away recently like Farley Granger, Michael Gough, Peggy Rea, Jane Russell and David Nelson.
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