Billy Drago, famed television and film character actor has passed away after complications from a stroke. He was 73 years old.
The actor was born in Hugoton, Kansas in 1945. His father was a Native American actor and his mother was Roma. He took on his mother’s maiden name when he decided to pursue acting, working first as a stuntman.
Drago made name for himself playing numerous villains and morally gray characters in a career that spanned four decades.
While his most famous role might have been in The Untouchables as real life gangster Frank Nitti, he certainly made plenty of forays into the horror genre.
He famously played the role of Barbas, the Demon of Fear, with a dramatic flair on the original Charmed series. It was around the same time that he appeared in an episode of Fox’s The X-Files.
In 2006, Drago took on the role of Papa Jupiter in the remake of The Hills Have Eyes. He also appeared that same year in “Imprint,” an episode of Masters of Horror that was originally judged too extreme for broadcast.
“I enjoy villains. I’ve figured out how to get paid for doing what they tried to throw me in jail for when I was a kid,” Drago once said in an interview. “Besides, I’m never going to be the boy next door. That’s not who I want to be. So I try to put a little of the dark side into my good guys and a bit of gentleness into my heavies.”
The formula worked well for him, and his presence will be sorely missed.