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October 05, 2011


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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.


Dang it. He was awesome. And my uncle went to school with him in Scottsville, Kentucky. RIP


You're gonna look pretty funny tryin' to eat corn on the cob [beat] WITH NO FUCKIN' TEETH.

Phil Freeman

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.


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.)

Dan Coyle

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.

Bruce Reid

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.

warren oates

CITIZENS BAND, in which Napier has a great role, is streaming on Netflix.


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.

Owain Wilson

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.

David Ehrenstein

Ah yes, Harry Sledge. R.I.P.

Michael Adams

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.


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.

Glenn Kenny

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.

Kevyn Knox

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.


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.

Account Deleted

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.

Stephen Bowie

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:


Not David Bordwell

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.

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