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Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls, Russ Meyer, 1970.
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The first role I ever saw Napier play was a space hippie in an infamous episode of the original Star Trek. From what I've seen of the actor's lengthy career since, it was not a representative role.
October 05, 2011 at 10:26 PM
Dang it. He was awesome. And my uncle went to school with him in Scottsville, Kentucky. RIP
October 05, 2011 at 10:26 PM
You're gonna look pretty funny tryin' to eat corn on the cob [beat] WITH NO FUCKIN' TEETH.
October 05, 2011 at 10:33 PM
The exact line Cinetrix quoted was running through my head this very morning. Napier was indeed awesome. Shame his death (and the death of Sarah Palin's career as a public figure) are destined to be swallowed up by the loss of Jobs.
Phil Freeman |
October 05, 2011 at 10:42 PM
Oh, that smile. Truly blood-chilling. Harry Sledge in Supervixens, makes me shudder just to think of him. I think the only DVD we have in the house with him in it is Blues Brothers, I may have to go watch it ... but not right before bed. (Okay, we probably have that ST: TOS episode too, but as Bettencourt notes, not representative.)
October 05, 2011 at 11:12 PM
The first film I did extra work on was Justin Lin's Annapolis, where Napier played an Admiral. He was nice and polite as can be, always willing to talk with the extras, telling stories about his military service and Russ Meyer, among other things. He could talk your ear off, but there was plenty worth listening to. I'm glad I got the chance to meet him.
Dan Coyle |
October 06, 2011 at 12:14 AM
It says something if you can be a go-to favorite for both Meyer and Jonathan Demme. Having had the pleasure of meeting him once, I'll second everything Dan says.
Bruce Reid |
October 06, 2011 at 01:15 AM
CITIZENS BAND, in which Napier has a great role, is streaming on Netflix.
warren oates |
October 06, 2011 at 01:39 AM
Cooling himself off with a cold Coke fetched out of the free machine via Martin Kove in RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II. (An image that inspired a line in the Rage Against the Machine song from Godzilla...) Obviously THE BLUES BROTHERS and Demme movies loom almost as large as a child of the '80s, but in RAMBO he was absolutely AWESOME.
As was that anecdote above from Dan Coyle.
October 06, 2011 at 03:18 AM
My love for Charles Napier started when I was a kid with The Blues Brothers. His performance as the leader of The Good 'Ole Boys is beyond perfect, and makes me laugh just thinking about him. I also remember being thrilled to see him play against type as the judge in Philadelphia.
Such a fantastic face and voice.
Owain Wilson |
October 06, 2011 at 05:25 AM
Ah yes, Harry Sledge. R.I.P.
David Ehrenstein |
October 06, 2011 at 09:02 AM
I first noticed him in Cherry, Harry, and Raquel, in which he is good enough an actor to call attention away from the obvious charms of his co-stars.
Michael Adams |
October 06, 2011 at 12:08 PM
I loved Napier. He seemed to be everywhere in my early serious film fan days. I got the feeling that he, Jonathan Demme, and Tak Fujimoto always hung out together, usually at Kenneth Utt 's house. George Armitage could come if he brought pizza.
October 06, 2011 at 09:23 PM
I interviewed Demme in 1998 for Premiere, one of the better things I did for the magazine in my opinion (some intrepid bootlegger went through the trouble of transcribing the piece and posting it here, if you're interested: http://www.media-party.com/storefrontdemme/thefilmmakerseries.html ) and one thing that's not conveyed in the text is the way his face lit up when I mentioned Mr. Napier.
Glenn Kenny |
October 06, 2011 at 09:34 PM
Just as I was thinking that the pic you chose of Napier looked an awful lot like a live-action version of Mr. Incredible, I scrolled down and saw a sad Mr. Incredible mourning the loss of Steve Jobs just one post below. Gotta love the random (or perhaps not so random) juxtapositions in life and death.
He will be missed indeed. Mr. Napier, not Mr. Incredible. Well I suppose Mr. Incredible would be too, but hey, you get the idea.
Kevyn Knox |
October 07, 2011 at 01:53 AM
That was a great interview, Glenn, but now I know that PT Anderson was at one point writing a script about magicians and carnivals that obviously never produced. I didn't really need to know that.
October 07, 2011 at 07:59 AM
Someone should put up a YouTube of Napier's mid `00s appearance on Dr. Phil. He was lamenting that he never became a big star. Dr. Phil, appropriately, was incredulous. "YOU DID IT!' Dr. Phil exclaimed. The audience agreed and applauded.
Account Deleted |
October 07, 2011 at 08:37 PM
I'd love to see that clip too ... somebody called me at work that day, and said, aghast, "Charles Napier is on DR. PHIL right now, and he's CRYING!"
There are some quotes and frame grabs starting here (then click through to the next two pages), but it's not the same:
Stephen Bowie |
October 08, 2011 at 12:46 AM
Shit, I just saw Napier in a godawful 80's piece of crap called DEEP SPACE, with a cast that includes Ron Glass, Julie Newmar, and Bo fucking Svenson... it's mostly unwatchable, EXCEPT FOR HIM. There's a scene where he's trying to seduce a rookie cop who has the hots for him, and after dinner he appears playing bagpipes in full piper regalia -- awkward and humiliating for a lesser actor -- but he says some masculine shit, his girl winds up stark naked in front his bag and pipes, and the look on his face is priceless.
It's hard not to watch the rest of the movie, he's so damn compelling in it. Although on some other blog, it was once suggested that Charles Napier made his career in roles Jerry Reed would have been perfect in, which I thought was pretty insightful. But it doesn't diminish his longevity and achievement as a character actor -- the only comparable guy I can think of is Dick Miller.
What a loss.
Not David Bordwell |
October 08, 2011 at 02:02 AM
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