‘American Graffiti’ actor Bo Hopkins dead at 84

Actor Bo Hopkins, who appeared in “American Graffiti” and “The Wild Bunch,” died Saturday morning, his wife said. He was 84.

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Hopkins died at a hospital in Van Nuys, California, after suffering a heart attack on May 9, his wife, Sian Hopkins, told The Hollywood Reporter. His death was also reported by TMZ.

Hopkins was noted for playing rogues and villains, most notably as Joe Young in the 1973 film “American Graffiti,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“I go to car shows because ‘American Graffiti’ is the national anthem of car shows,” Hopkins said in a 2012 interview with Shock Cinema magazine. “‘Graffiti’ got people out draggin’ and going up, and down streets cruisin’. It got people into cars doing that kind of stuff again.

“If I told you how many times people have come up to Candy (Clark), Paul (Le Mat) and me at these shows and told us that we’ve changed their lives, you wouldn’t believe it.”

Hopkins also played villains in three films directed by Sam Peckinpah -- as Clarence “Crazy” Lee in “The Wild Bunch” (1969), as a bank robber in “The Getaway” (1972) and as a weapons expert in “The Killer Elite” (1975), according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Hopkins finally got to play a “good-guy” role when executive producer Quentin Tarantino cast him as Sheriff Otis Lawson 1999′s “From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money.”

William Mauldin Hopkins was born Feb. 2, 1938, in Greenville, South Carolina, according to South Carolina online birth records.

His father worked at a local mill and died at the age of 39 of a heart attack in front of his wife and son, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He went to live with his grandparents when his mother remarried the next year. As a 12-year-old, Hopkins learned he was adopted, the website reported. He eventually met his birth mother and connected with his half-siblings.

“I don’t know how my mother and grandmother put up with me,” Hopkins once said. “Later, I went back home and took them to see ‘The Wild Bunch’ and my second movie, ‘The Bridge at Remagen.’ And that’s when everybody who said I was gonna end up in prison said they always knew Billy was going to make something of himself.”

Hopkins made his onscreen debut in 1966 on an episode of “The Phyllis Diller Show.”

“After the Phyllis Diller thing, I did a “Gunsmoke” (episode), then “The Andy Griffith Show,” playing Goober’s helper,” Hopkins recalled. “George Lindsey always said he was the one who started my career.”