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  • Writer's pictureDuke Daniel Pierce

The Actors Society Mourns the Passing of M. Emmet Walsh ('61)

"I'm being paid for what I'd do for free." 

The Actors Society mourns the loss of legendary character actor M. Emmet Walsh (Class of 1961), who passed away on Tuesday according to his manager. 

Walsh appeared on the silver screen numerous times with fellow Actors Society Members including John Cassavetes in "Mickey and Nicky," Eric Roberts in "The Pope of Greenwich Village," and Robert Redford in "Brubaker" - who would later direct Walsh in the Oscar winning "Ordinary People."

An eclectic career, Walsh amassed over 230 film & TV credits. Appearing in such classics as "Serpico," "Blade Runner," and as a maniacal contract killer in the Steve Martin-comedy "The Jerk." Working well into his eighties he supported the cast in the audience favorite "Knives Out," reoccurred on HBO's hit show "The Righteous Gemstones," and guest starred on an episode of Showtime's "American Gigolo."

Arguably his most iconic role came when he took center frame as the menacing Private Detective in the Cohen brother's feature-debut "Blood Simple," where he effortlessly glides from off-beat humor to sleaze.   

Roger Ebert, movie critic extraordinaire, famously created The Stanton-Walsh rule, which states, "no movie featuring either Harry Dean Stanton or M. Emmet Walsh in a supporting role could be altogether bad." The Actors Society couldn't agree more.

Post originally syndicated on alumni social media channels.


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