Clu Gulager, Rugged Character Actor of Film and TV, Dies at 93 | Big Indy News
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Clu Gulager, Rugged Character Actor of Film and TV, Dies at 93

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Clu Gulager, a rugged character actor who appeared in critically acclaimed films like “The Last Picture Show” as well as low-budget horror movies, and who memorably portrayed gunslingers on two television westerns, died on Friday at his son John’s home in Los Angeles. He was 93.

John Gulager confirmed the death. He said his father’s health had been in decline since he suffered a back injury several years ago.

Mr. Gulager’s rough-hewed good looks and Southwestern upbringing made him a natural for the westerns that proliferated on television in the 1950s and ’60s. He was seen regularly on “Wagon Train,” “Bonanza,” “Have Gun — Will Travel” and other shows.

An appearance as the hit man Mad Dog Coll on “The Untouchables” in 1959 persuaded the writer and producer Sam Peeples to cast Mr. Gulager as the legendary outlaw Billy the Kid on “The Tall Man,” a television series he was planning about Billy’s friendship with Sheriff Pat Garrett. (By most accounts the title was a reference to Garrett’s honesty and rectitude, and to the show’s opening credits, in which Garrett’s long shadow stretches in front of him.)

“He’s exactly what we were looking for, an actor with a flair for the unusual,” Mr. Peeples said in a TV Guide profile of Mr. Gulager shortly after the show first aired in 1960. “He lends a certain psychological depth to Billy.”

The friendship between the lawman (played by Barry Sullivan) and the gun-toting rustler was fictionalized and greatly exaggerated over the show’s 75 episodes; many historians believe that Sheriff Garrett actually shot and killed Billy in 1881. Their fatal encounter never happened on the show, which ended abruptly in 1962.

Mr. Gulager played a more lawful character on “The Virginian,” the first of three 1960s western series that ran for 90 minutes, which starred James Drury and Doug McClure. Mr. Gulager’s character on the show, Emmett Ryker, was introduced in the show’s third season when a rich man tried to hire him to murder a rancher. Although he refused to be a hired killer, he was framed for killing the man. After clearing his name, Ryker channeled his penchant for violence into the service of the law.

Credit…NBC, via Photofest

In Mr. Gulager’s first scene, Ryker was typically unflappable. He walked into a saloon and within moments angered a man playing cards. Ryker drew his gun on the card player before he could stand up, ending the conflict.

Moments later a deputy sheriff asked Ryker where he learned to draw like that.

“In the cradle,” he replied.

Mr. Gulager’s acting career, which lasted well into the 21st century, was not relegated to the frontier. He appeared on non-western television shows including “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “Knight Rider” and “Murder, She Wrote,” and in several notable movies.

He and Lee Marvin played hit men in “The Killers,” a 1964 film noir directed by Don Siegel and based on a short story by Ernest Hemingway that also starred Angie Dickinson, John Cassavetes and, in what turned out to be his last movie, Ronald Reagan.

In 1969 he played a mechanic in “Winning,” a film about auto racing with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. He played an older man who has a fling with his lover’s beautiful daughter in “The Last Picture Show,” Peter Bogdanovich’s celebrated 1971 study of a fading Texas town.

He was also in more lowbrow fare, like the Keenen Ivory Wayans blaxploitation parody “I’m Gonna Git You, Sucka” (1988) and the horror films “The Return of the Living Dead” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2” (both 1985).

His movie work continued well into his later years, including roles in the independent productions “Tangerine” (2015) and “Blue Jay” (2016). His final screen appearance was as a bookstore clerk in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” (2019).

Mr. Gulager left the cast of “The Virginian” in 1968 to focus on directing and teaching. (The show remained on the air until 1971, becoming the third-longest-running western in television history, after “Gunsmoke” and “Bonanza.”) His directing career foundered after the short film “A Day With the Boys” in 1969, but he became a popular teacher, running a workshop that focused on horror film acting and directing.

“I tell the young students in my class that what we do is as important as the work of a man who grows the wheat, the doctor who saves lives, the architect who builds homes,” he said in an ABC news release before he starred in the TV movie “Stickin’ Together” in 1978. “What we do, in our best moments, is provide humanity with food for the spirit.”

William Martin Gulager was born in Holdenville, Okla., on Nov. 16, 1928. He often said that he was part Cherokee; the name Clu came from “clu-clu,” a Cherokee word for the birds, known in English as martins, that were nesting at the Gulager home.

His father, John Delancy Gulager, was an actor and vaudevillian who became a county judge in Muskogee, Okla., and who taught him acting from a young age, well before he graduated from Muskogee Central High School. His mother, Hazel Opal (Griffin) Gulager, worked at the local V.A. Hospital for 35 years.

Mr. Gulager served stateside in the Marines from 1946 to 1948 before studying drama at Northeastern State College in Oklahoma and Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He continued his education in Paris, where he studied with the actor Jean-Louis Barrault and the mime Etienne Decroux.

He married Miriam Byrd-Nethery, and they acted in summer stock and university theater. In 1955 both were in a production of the play “A Different Drummer” on the television series “Omnibus.” He continued acting in New York until 1958, when the Gulagers and their infant son, John, moved to Hollywood.

Mr. Gulager’s wife died in 2003. Besides his son John, survivors include another son, Tom, and a grandson.

John Gulager is a director of horror movies, notably the gory “Feast” (2005), which starred Henry Rollins and Balthazar Getty. That film and its two tongue-in-cheek sequels also featured the older Mr. Gulager as a shotgun-toting bartender battling fanged monsters in a Midwestern tavern. The second “Feast” movie was even more of a family affair.

“You know, there are three generations of Gulagers in this movie,” John Gulager told the blog horror-movies.ca in an interview. One of them, named after Clu the elder, was Clu Gulager’s infant grandson.

“He was 11 months old when we filmed it,” John Gulager added. “My dad said, ‘We have to get Baby Clu’s career started now.’ ”

Christine Chung contributed reporting.

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Bella Thorne: 25 Things You Don’t Know About Me

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Is there a new reboot on the way? Bella Thorne would love to see her former Disney channel show, Shake It Up, return to the small screen — with a twist.

“I think an older Shake It Up would be hilarious,” the former child star, 25, exclusively reveals in the latest issue of Us Weekly, adding that she wants to know “all about where [my and Zendaya‘s characters,] Cece and Rocky are now.” Thorne and the Emmy winner, 26, starred as aspiring performers who land a job as background dancers on their favorite TV show from 2010 to 2013. The pair formed a long-lasting bond during their time on the Disney sitcom, but they didn’t hit it off right away.

“It’s like we said [in] a couple interviews when we were younger, how we explained how in the first season we weren’t friends and it took us those other two seasons of becoming so close,” Thorne exclusively told Us in February 2021, explaining that she and Zendaya often felt like they were pitted against one another. “[It was hard] not having someone pitted against you [before] and then all of a sudden, now everyone is pitting you against each other. That fed into our heads. It made us not [be] friends in that first season.”

After having a “beautiful talk in the middle of a sound stage,” the Babysitter star explained that she and the “Replay” singer were able to make amends. “We were really able to put our cards out on the table and [understand] each other,” Thorne said, adding that they were able to be “so mature at such a young age.”

Nearly one decade later, Thorne is still supportive of her former onscreen bestie. “Zendaya’s amazing. I f—king love her,” she told Us. “She’s always been amazing and she’s always going to be amazing. I’m just happy that people see that. She’s getting the recognition she deserves. That just makes me so happy.”

She continued: “I feel like when people put us against each other, it’s just like, … ‘Why are you doing this? Is it just because we’re women?’”

Like her former costar, Thorne is also exploring a career in fashion with the launch of her new jewelry line, Thorne Dynasty. The collection includes everything from rings and earrings to necklaces and bracelets made with 14-karat gold, pearls and crystals. The Blended actress’ love of accessories is so intense that she keeps her favorite pieces — which she revealed her were “nude and orange jewelry” — on a special display shelf.

Keep scrolling to learn more about Thorne:

1. I love Cuban food. A good empanada goes a long way when you need some comfort food.

2. I can do really weird tongue tricks. I can also pop my sternum out of my chest.

3. I don’t drive.

4. My favorite wardrobe items are my nude and orange jewelry. They have their own pretty shelf to sit on.

5. “Fergalicious” or “Glamorous” by Fergie brings back the best memories.

6. My favorite rooms in my house are my writer’s room and bedroom.

7. My favorite thing to cook is lemon pasta with lemon chicken. Absolutely delicious.

8. My first job was Entourage.

9. I love [the movies] The Strangers, The Hot Chick and The Babadook.

10. Typically, my Saturday nights are crazy — I’m either in bed binge-watching TV or I’m traveling.

11. My house is on top of a mountain, so on a Sunday, I’m probably outside with a drink in the pool watching the sunset.

12. I was starstruck when I saw Lil Nas X at a party. He’s just this shining light of goodness.

13. My celebrity crush when I was little was Ian Somerhalder. I liked Vampire Diaries. I also liked True Blood’s Eric Northman — he is so hot.

14. My favorite way to decompress after a long day is: smoke, a glass of wine, a movie or TV show, hanging with my sister, a massage, if possible.

15. I was also pretty damn starstruck when I met Christian Bale.

16. My alternate profession would be a [motivational] speaker.

17. The most famous people in my phone contacts are Elon Musk, Megan Thee Stallion and Jared Leto.

18. Releasing my book [The Life of a Wannabe Mogul] is what I’m the most proud of out of my career because it’s 100 percent me.

19. The best advice I’ve ever received was from Jessica Chastain. She’s amazing. She helped me so much on a movie that we worked on together, and she shared so many great things about herself and about life.

20. My best advice is that right or wrong is dependent on how a person feels inside.

21. My dream collaborator is Nick Antosca, an amazing film writer.

22. I’d like to try shaving my head, but I’m scared my hair [may never] grow back. What if that happens? It’s possible.

23. I think an older Shake It Up would be hilarious. All about where Cece and Rocky are now.

24. I wouldn’t remove any of my projects from my résumé. I wouldn’t be the same me without them.

25. I really want to go to the Maldives because there’s this underwater hotel there that looks so sick.

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Gun N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose vows to end concert tradition in wake of fan injury

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The mic-throwing has lived and should be left to die.

Gun N’ Roses lead singer Axl Rose pledged to end the 30-year-old tradition of tossing his microphone to the crowd after hitting an Australian woman in the face on Tuesday.

In a statement released on Friday, Rose acknowledged the incident and said he never intended to injure anyone during the band’s show at the Adelaide Oval.

“Obviously we don’t want anyone getting hurt or to somehow in anyway hurt anyone at any of (our) shows anymore,” Rose said before adding he always thought it was common knowledge for a Guns N’ Roses concert.

“Having tossed the mic at the end of (our) show for over 30 years we always felt it was a known part of the very end of (our) performance that fans wanted and were aware of to have an opportunity to catch the mic,” Rose added.

Axl Rose launched the microphone into the crowd after his last song “Paradise City.”
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Axl Rose
The microphone smacked Rebecca Howe in the nose.
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Rose said it was in the interest of public safety to end the gesture, which has become a highly anticipated part of the band’s concerts.

Rebecca Howe, the woman hit at the end of Tuesday’s concert, claims she suffered two black eyes and a busted nose as the band prepared to play its final song of the night, “Take Me Down To Paradise City.”

“What if it was a couple of inches to the right or left? I could have lost an eye … what if it hit me in the mouth and I broke my teeth?” Howe said via the Adelaide Advertiser. “If my head was turned and it hit me in the temple, it could have killed me.”

Rebecca Howe
Rebecca Howe was injured by a microphone Axl Rose threw into the crowd at a Guns N’ Roses concert.
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Rose didn’t directly apologize to Howe for the injury, but called out reporters for the coverage of the incident.

“Unfortunately there r those that for their own reasons chose to frame their reporting regarding this subject in a more negative n’ irresponsible out of nowhere light which couldn’t be further from reality. We hope the public and of course r fans get that sometimes happens.”

Rose ended the statement with a “BIG THANKS” to everyone for understanding.

Guns N’ Roses is finishing up performances in Australia with two shows in New Zealand next week. The band is on hiatus following their New Zealand tour dates until June 2023, where they’ll play in Hyde Park London.”



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Kendall Jenner looks great in green as she heads to dinner with a friend in Santa Monica

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Kendall Jenner looks great in green as she heads to Giorgio Baldi restaurant for dinner with a friend in Santa Monica

Kendall Jenner looked every inch the cover girl in mint green as she and a pal stepped out to dinner at Giorgio Baldi in Santa Monica on Friday evening.

The 27-year-old supermodel, who was also spotted on Thursday in Beverly Hills at a hot yoga class with her gal pals, turned the street into her personal runway while wearing a lovely green outfit styled with a pair of black heels.

Jenner’s slim bootcut pants boasted fabric with a velvet look that showcased her long legs and lean frame as she added a touch of eye makeup and blush.

Dressed to impress: Kendall Jenner looked every inch the cover girl as she stepped out for dinner with a friend on Friday night

The Kardashians star wore her sleek black hair down over her dangling silver earrings, and added a comfortable, loosely-fitted green sweater over a cream top.

Newly single following her quiet split from on-again, off-again boyfriend Devin Booker last month, The Kardashians star’s outing comes amid chatter that Jenner may be rekindling her relationship with Harry Styles, who also recently became single in the wake of his split from Olivia Wilde.

In recent days, there’s been talk that the world’s top model has been chatting it up with Styles, whom she dated on-and-off from 2013 to 2019.

Single ready to mingle: Kendall's outing comes amid chatter that she may be rekindling her relationship with Harry Styles , who also recently became single in the wake of his split from Olivia Wilde

Single ready to mingle: Kendall’s outing comes amid chatter that she may be rekindling her relationship with Harry Styles , who also recently became single in the wake of his split from Olivia Wilde

Chatter: In recent days, there have been rumors Kendall is chatting it up with Styles, whom she dated on-and-off from 2013 to 2019

Chatter: In recent days, there have been rumors Kendall is chatting it up with Styles, whom she dated on-and-off from 2013 to 2019

She recently attended one of his many Love On Tour shows in Los Angeles with sister Kylie Jenner and gal pal Hailey Bieber, according to Yahoo Entertainment.

Her breakup with Booker, an NBA star with the Phoenix Suns, was attributed to their busy schedules and bad timing.

‘Both have incredibly busy schedules right now with their careers and they’ve decided to make that a priority,’ a source confirmed to People.

Splitsville: The catwalk queen appears to be hanging with friends more in the wake of her split from on-again, off-again boyfriend Devin Booker; the former couple are pictured in Septmeber

Splitsville: The catwalk queen appears to be hanging with friends more in the wake of her split from on-again, off-again boyfriend Devin Booker; the former couple are pictured in Septmeber

Despite having broken up around the same time, and their past romance a sign of their mutual attraction, an inside source maintains the rumors of a Jenner-Styles reunion aren’t true.

‘She and Harry are just good friends,’ that source with knowledge of the situation shared with E! News, adding, ‘They remained friendly over the years and have kept in touch. There’s nothing romantic going on, but they do catch up from time to time and have hung out in social settings.’

Styles and Wilde had been dating for about two years when they decided to call it quits.

Sources deny romance reunion: There been speculation that Jenner and Styles may have rekindled their romance following her split from Devin Booker and his spilt from Olivia Wilde

Sources deny romance reunion: There been speculation that Jenner and Styles may have rekindled their romance following her split from Devin Booker and his spilt from Olivia Wilde

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