Powers Boothe (1948-2017)
Powers Boothe was born on June 1, 1948. The son of a cotton farmer, Boothe would leave the farm life of Snyder, Texas behind and really delve into the world of acting while he attended Southern Methodist University. Boothe was a stage actor for several years before his work in movies and television took off in 1980.
Boothe would go on to play a wide range of characters over the course of his four decades in Hollywood… outlaw, soldier, crooked politician, preacher, cop, drug kingpin, world famous private eye Phillip Marlowe and even real life characters like Alexander Haig and Reverend Jim Jones.
Many fans of the cinema would say that Boothe would shine the brightest when he was playing the villain like in his portrayal of Curly Bill Brocius in 1993’s Tombstone. In a movie filled with so much talent including Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott and Bill Paxton it would be easy to be lost in the shuffle, but Boothe as Curly Bill delivered an unforgettable performance and Tombstone is regarded by many to be his most famous role.
A few years before Tombstone, Powers Boothe was in another star studded but lesser known film, 1987’s Extreme Prejudice. Boothe played Cash Bailey, a drug kingpin clashing with Texas Ranger Jack Berdeen (Nick Nolte). Berdeen and Bailey were once childhood friends but the different paths they took in life made them mortal enemies. The film also starred Maria Conchita Alonso, Michael Ironside, William Forsythe and Rip Torn.
Powers Boothe played disenfranchised government employee/criminal mastermind Joshua Foss in what I believe is a real sleeper in the filmography of Jean-Claude Van Damme, 1995’s Sudden Death. Foss and his band of Die Hard like flunkies hatch a scheme to hold the Vice President of the United States (played by Raymond J. Berry) hostage and threaten to blow up an entire arena full of hockey fans if their monetary demands are not met. Foss is a cold-hearted son of a bitch and his epic demise has to be seen to be believed. Ironically, Boothe would actually go on to play the Vice President of the United States in the sixth season of 24.
Comic book nerds owe Powers Boothe a huge debt of gratitude. Boothe played the corrupt Senator Roark in Sin City and the sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For... Boothe was a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe when he played a member of the World Security Council in the box office behemoth The Avengers. Boothe would expand on that role when he appeared as Gideon Malick in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on the small screen… Boothe’s distinctive voice was used in several of DC’s animated endeavors, Boothe voiced Gorilla Grodd in Justice League and Lex Luthor in Superman: Brainiac Attacks.
Boothe would lend his acting experience and gravitas to 1984’s Red Dawn, starring along side young actors who were on the rise in the mid-1980’s like Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen and C. Thomas Howell… Boothe would find himself in a similar situation years later when he played Mace Ryan in Brandon Lee’s first solo starring effort 1992’s Rapid Fire. Mace Ryan is my absolute favorite Boothe role in a movie that I feel is criminally underrated. Boothe is at his badass best as Mace Ryan, a tough Chicago cop hell bent on bringing down the mob.
On May 14th, 2017 the world lost Powers Boothe. Boothe will be fondly remembered by movie and television fans for making any project he was involved in better. And from reading the out pouring of tributes that came in the wake of his death, it is obvious that those who knew him personally and had the pleasure of working with him will fondly remember the man behind the multitude of characters he played.