'Psycho' Star John Gavin Passes Away at 86

Actor John Gavin, who played Sam Loomis in Alfred Hitchcock's horror classic Psycho in 1960, [...]

Actor John Gavin, who played Sam Loomis in Alfred Hitchcock's horror classic Psycho in 1960, passed away at the age of 86 following complications from pneumonia, having previously battled leukemia. He also starred in Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus and served as an ambassador to Mexico under president Ronald Reagan.

psycho movie john gavin
(Photo: Paramount Pictures)

He leaves behind his wife Connie and two children.

"We lost our best friend, father and husband. We were so grateful to have him," his wife shared with TMZ.

Based on the novel of the same name, Psycho followed Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) after she had stolen money from her employer. While attempting to hide out at a secluded motel, Crane is murdered by Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins).

Leigh was one of the top-billed actresses in the film, yet was killed relatively early on. The narrative then shifted its focus to her boyfriend, Loomis, and her sister trying to track her down. Gavin's character ended up taking a much more prominent role in the film than its biggest star.

In addition to the film's violent subject matter, it was a controversial film for its opening scene featuring both Gavin and Leigh with their shirts off sharing a bed, something taboo at the time.

The spirit of Gavin's character lived on beginning in 1978's Halloween, with Donald Pleasence playing the character Dr. Sam Loomis. Other than Michael Myers himself, Loomis became one of the most integral components of the franchise.

Gavin served in the Korean War during his four-year military stint, with a brief role as a technical adviser on a film opening the door to get into acting himself. One of his first big breaks came in A Time to Love and a Time to Die. While the film itself didn't receive much acclaim, Gavin's performance was praised at the time, confirming his abilities as a leading man. The role earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best New Actor.

The actor followed this role with a performance in Imitation of Life, which was a huge box office success. After a series of other successful films, the actor was even briefly considered to play James Bond in both Diamonds are Forever and Live and Let Die before Sean Connery and Roger Moore were tapped to star, respectively.

Following his five-year stint as an ambassador to Mexico, Gavin toyed with a possible Senate run in 1991, but ultimately abandoned the prospect.