John Saxon, the actor, best known for his work in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise and Enter the Dragon passed at the age of 83, his wife Gloria Saxon confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. The actor played Lt. Donald Thompson in the 1984-original directed by Wes Craven and the third film Dream Warriors by Chuck Russell of the Elm Street franchise. He returned in 1994 to play a meta version of himself in Wes Craven's New Nightmare. Saxon's career spans nearly 200 projects over eight decades on television and film. He's found a knack playing a variety of leading and supporting dramatic roles across all genres.
John Saxon: A Career on Screen
The actor won a Golden Globe for his role opposite Marlon Brando in The Appaloosa (1966). He also co-starred with Clint Eastwood in Joe Kidd (1972). Saxon also became a staple on primetime dramas Dynasty, Falcon Crest, and The Bold Ones. He played another police chief in the horror classic Black Christmas (1974). Saxon also appeared in the Roger Corman film Queen of Blood (1966) and the primary antagonist in Battle Beyond the Stars (1980). The sci-fi schlock classic is notable not only for being a Star Wars knock off, but it also helped launch the career of James Cameron, who worked on set design.
Enter the Dragon: A Watershed Moment in Hollywood History
Saxon's second most notable role of his career is co-starring alongside Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon (1973). The Warner Bros film tragically ended up Lee's only starring role in a Hollywood feature before his premature death in the same year. Saxon provided added a veteran presence on-screen playing Roper, a gambler trying to settle his debts by entering a martial arts tournament. Saxon and co-star Jim Kelly, who played Williams, remained great friends until his passing in 2013. The film's success paved the way for the martial arts genre into the Hollywood mainstream.