'Blues Brothers' actor Charles Napier, 75, dies


Image Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Charles Napier, known for his hard-boiled roles in The Blues Brothers, Rambo, and Silence of the Lambs, passed away yesterday. He was 75. Napier collapsed in his California home on Tuesday and was rushed to intensive care before being taken off life support Wednesday afternoon. The cause of death is still unclear, but Napier had suffered blood clots in his legs in the past.

A Kentucky native, Napier served in the army and worked as a school teacher in Los Angeles before landing a role in Mission: Impossible that would be his entrée to other appearances on shows including Baretta, The Rockford Files, and a voice gig as the Hulk’s growl in the 1978 series The Incredible Hulk. He scored his breakout with 1980’s Blues Brothers, playing a honky tonk tough guy on the hunt for the title characters. More recently, Napier voiced the character of Dr. Spelts on the animated series Archer. Napier, who divorced twice, is survived by his sons Whit and Hunter, and his daughter Meghan.

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  • wootay

    RIP funny man! SNL was,never the same after him n Eddie Murphy left!

    • JimmyH

      Uh…Napier was never on SNL.

      • wootay

        YES he DID!!!!!!!!

    • noyb

      No…..wootay…he was not.

    • Ed

      You’re thinking of Charlie Rocket. He got fired for saying the “F” word live on the air. He did slightly resemble Napier when they were younger.

      • Ellen Ripley

        Also, Charlie Rocket committed suicide years ago.

  • tigger851

    so sad! loved him in Blues Bros!

  • Fonz

    Loved him in Blues Brothers, “You’ll look pretty funny eating corn on the cob with no f@@king teeth!” hahaha one of the best lines in the whole movie I think. He will be missed.

  • Annette

    For my money, he was a part of one of the most terrifying scenes ever filmed for a movie. Watching Hannibal Lecter’s monster explode and the resulting horror that followed stayed with me for weeks. I could not watch Mr. Napier in anything else without thinking about Anthony Hopkins raising that police billy club high over his head and bringing it down in a bloody fury.

    Great actor. He will be missed

    • Acaseofgeo

      I agree with you Annette. That scene is inescabably brutal and indelible. Sure Anthony Hopkins got all the credit and a most-deserved Oscar as Lecter, but it was performances like Napier’s that allowed Hopkins to really club us all.

  • Ed

    His actual big break was as one of the space hippies in that classically silly episode of Star Trek, he said that’s when he really started getting noticed. Sad news, he’s one of those character actors that you’re always happy to see pop up, making even a bad movie tolerable, for at least the scenes he was in. I always thought he would have fit right in as a detective in one of the Law&Order shows. Rest in peace big guy.

  • pie thrower

    He was the best. I remember him as a rival trucker on BJ and the Bear. Rest in peace Charles Napier.

  • Cari

    “Gonna clap my hands and jump for joy, got a clean bill of health from Dr. McCoy!”… wow never realized how much stuff he was in. RIP and thanks for such great performances

  • Kitty Galore

    Oh man, I always loved hearing his voice on The Simpsons.

  • Double-Oh Seven

    I will always think of how funny Charles Napier was in the classic “Bob’s Country Bunker” scene in “The Blues Brothers”. That is my favorite scene in the movie.

  • Stratlover

    God bless Chuck Napier! He was great in every role he ever took. His performance in Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls is a must see..

  • Jeff

    Always made me laugh in Austin Powers with the montage of government activity, “Pack my overnight bag. Feed my fish… Not too much…”

  • ?

    RIP Mr. Napier.

  • Jay

    Most recent thing I saw Napier in was “The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard”. He was just as funny as he’s always been. Sad news. We’ll miss you, Charles!

  • don

    didn’t he play one of the hippies on the first year trek tv series?????He jammed with Spock and sang “headin out to eden, yea brother…..”

    • Ed

      He sure did, go to Aintitcool, they’ve got a great interview with him up where he talks about auditioning for that part. He said he knew nothing about music, and one of the casting people took pity on him and signaled which chords to play during the audition, and he got the part.

    • Dicazi

      “The Way To Eden” was in ST’s 3rd season.

    • Lex

      Yeah, that was good.

    • Mark

      yes he was and this was my favorite line that he said, I’m going to crack my knuckles and jump for joy I got a clean bill of health from Dr. Mc Coy

  • PDDB

    An actor who was consistently good in whatever he was in.

    Prayers to his family and friends.

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