John Saxon from Nightmare on Elm Street and Enter the Dragon has died at the age of 83. The family told The Hollywood Reporter that the cause of death was pneumonia. Saxon won a Golden Globe for his work alongside Marlon Brando in The Appaloosa in 1966. Along with those roles, he popped up numerous times on ABC’s Dynasty as the modern era of daytime soap operas came into form. His two most prominent roles had to be in the Bruce Lee film and Wes Craven’s wildly popular franchise. He played a gambler in the midst of real fighting champions during the 1973 martial arts masterpiece. In Elm Street, he played Donald Thompson, a police officer that ran up against Freddy Krueger’s skeleton one too many times.
The actor’s life had a lot of very whimsical turns from being discovered outside the Paramount Theater at Times Square. An agent saw him and immediately gave him his card. He told the Los Angeles Times about that part of his life, “I started doing jobs for magazines, like Modern Romance, all the Macfadden publications. I did about a dozen of them in one year.”
From there, the big screen was waiting. Things would really get going after that turn with Brando in The Appaloosa. Venerated screenwriter Larry Karaszewski talked about Saxon’s career back in 2012 and singled out the cool factor he brought to that role and Enter the Dragon.
“[He] has had this outstanding career and he’s made hundreds and hundreds of movies and TV shows,” the screenwriter mused. “I can’t think of anybody who has had such an electric career. He never made it quite in the realm of [Steve] McQueen or James Coburn. But he is the cool guy.”
His resume also included films like Queen on Blood, Battle Beyond the Stars, Rock, Pretty Baby, The Reluctant Debutante, Summer Love, The Happy Feeling, The Electric Horseman, Cry Tough, Mitchell, and Joe Kidd.