Die Hard 2 and The Waltons Actor Tom Bower Dead at 86

Die Hard 2 and The Waltons Actor Tom Bower Dead at 86

Tom Bower, the versatile character actor known for his roles in “Die Hard 2” and “The Waltons,” has passed away at the age of 86. Bower died peacefully in his sleep on May 30 at his Los Angeles home, as confirmed by his sister-in-law, Mary Miller.

Bower’s career spanned several decades, beginning with his work on John Cassavetes’ directorial debut, “Shadows” in 1957. He gained recognition for his role as Dr. Curtis Willard on “The Waltons,” where he became a beloved character. His portrayal of Marvin, the janitor who aids Bruce Willis’ John McClane in “Die Hard 2,” remains one of his most memorable performances.

Born on January 3, 1938, in Denver, Bower initially aspired to be a professional baseball player. However, he shifted his focus to acting and moved to New York, enrolling at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1956. His passion for acting grew during high school, and he chose to pursue it over his senior baseball season.

Bower’s early career included a stint as a private investigator in Boston, where he worked with attorney F. Lee Bailey. He also co-founded the Boston Repertory Theater and taught acting to Al Pacino. His dedication to the craft led him to Los Angeles, where he appeared in various TV shows, including “Get Christie Love!,” “The Rockford Files,” and “Kojak.”

In “The Waltons,” Bower’s character, Dr. Curtis Willard, arrived in Walton’s Mountain to replace Dr. Vance. He quickly became a regular cast member, marrying Mary Ellen Walton and having a son. However, his character was written off in 1978, only to reappear in 1981, played by a different actor. Bower later revealed that his departure was due to a salary dispute.

Bower’s filmography is extensive, with notable roles in “The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez,” “Nixon,” “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans,” “Crazy Heart,” and “Out of the Furnace.” He also appeared in “Pollock” and “Appaloosa,” directed by Ed Harris.

In recent years, Bower continued to work in film and television, including roles in “Two Ways Home,” “Senior Love Triangle,” “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” “Fully Realized Humans,” and “Raymond & Ray.” He also played Bob Odenkirk’s father in the AMC series “Lucky Hank.”

Bower’s dedication to the Screen Actors Guild and the Syracuse International Film Festival highlighted his commitment to supporting fellow actors. He believed in fair representation for all actors and worked tirelessly to ensure their rights were protected.

Bower is survived by his children, Viv and Rob, his grandchildren, Nicole, Jonathan, Lucille, and Henry, his brother, Bobby, and his sister, Shirley. His wife of 51 years, Ursula, passed away in August at the age of 75. The couple shared a deep bond and never spent a day apart.

Tom Bower’s legacy in the entertainment industry is marked by his diverse roles and unwavering dedication to his craft. His contributions to film and television will be remembered by fans and colleagues alike.

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