A great man has left us.
While the world morns the best pitch man in generations, (sorry, that’s what he was best at), it’s sad to hear that one of the best character actors has left us today. Charles Napier died at a hospital in Bakersfield near his home in Kern County, Ca. He was 75.
Napier was a member of the US Army’s 11th Airborne Division before he became an actor. His time in the army would serve him well when he made the move into action. Portraying strong military types in his early days. In such films as the Austin Powers films and the very forgettable film adaptation of Steel. Also he was most notable as John Rambo’s commander in Rambo: First Blood part 2. He worked with Johnathan Demme in many of his films including Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia. One of his more famous roles was the leader of the Good Ol Boys in Blues Brothers. My childhood though, he was best known to me as the warden in Ernest Goes to Jail.
Napier was also an accomplished voice actor. His gruff, trademark voice was lent to the likes of Justice League and Superman (playing General Hardcastle). Along with other appearances in shows like Squidbillies and Men in Black the Series. Though, much like his role in Rambo, he’s probably best known as the voice of Duke Phillips, the boss of Jay Sherman in the Critic. He was a more lovable evil billionaire with a Ted Turner demeanor. Some of the best lines in that show were delivered by Napier.
Charles Napier was part of a dying breed. A man’s man. He played against type in his last film, The Goods. But, like many great character actors, he commanded the scenes in every film he was in. In this day and age, there will never be another like him. Sadly, his death will be a footnote in today’s history. But I shall not forget a great actor. Here’s to you Mr. Napier. Hopefully your driving a great Winnebago with the greats where ever you are.