Sad news for horror fans today: veteran actor Richard Lynch has died at the age of 76. If his name doesn't immediately sound familiar to you, his scarred face and near-white hair might be more recognizable -- Lynch did a great job of leveraging his distinct appearance to play evil characters in horror and sci-fi films over his 40-year career in Hollywood.
In addition to apperaring in movies like Bad Dreams and The Sword and the Scorceror, Lynch was cast as serial killer Michael Myers’ principal in director Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake in 2007. He's also appeared in many TV series like Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek, The A-Team, and Six Feet Under.
For a guy who's been in so many creepy films, it's almost fitting that his death had an eerie quality of its own -- not to mention the downright terrifying story of how his face came to be so deeply scarred.
Apparently Lynch was found dead on Tuesday, June 19, by one of his friends, actress Carol Vogel. Vogel had stopped by Lynch's home in Palm Springs after not hearing from him for a number of days. Upon arrival, she found the door open -- and then she discovered Lynch, lying on the kitchen floor "cold and lifeless."
It sounds like he succumbed to natural causes, since Lynch's rep has said that as far as he knows, no investigation into the actor's death will be made, but what a sad, spooky way to go. I hope his last days were peaceful and that he was enjoying his independence, but man, I hate the idea of anyone dying alone and not being discovered right away.
As for the story of his facial scars, some have mistakenly believed that Lynch altered his appearance with makeup for his villainous roles. In truth, the scars are the result of Lynch being severely burned in 1967. He'd taken LSD, and for some awful reason, he lit himself on fire in Central Park behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art near Cleopatra's Needle.
He spoke candidly about the incident in an anti-drug documentary, saying,
I was a prosperous, promising young actor. If you had ever told me that I would go to Central Park and try to burn myself to death, I would have said you were out of your mind.
Here's the clip from that documentary, which shows Lynch in the early stages of recuperation:
As terrible as that would have been to live with, Lynch made those scars into part of his signature look in the more than 100 film and television roles he played during his lengthy career. It's impressive to think that he not only kept working after such a drastic injury, but actually altered his career path to fit his new appearance.
Rob Zombie, who directed Lynch in his Halloween remake, expressed his sorrow over the news of the actor's passing:
I woke up this morning to the news that our friend Richard Lynch has passed away. Richard was great to work with and really gave it his all. I will never forget the way he scared the crap out of the kid actors in Halloween. He will be missed.
RIP, Mr. Lynch.
Have you seen Richard Lynch in any movies? Did you know the story of how he came to be scarred?
Image via OfficialRichardLynch