Lucasfilm Legend Passes Away, Fans Cry “Hollywood Great is Gone”

in Entertainment, Star Wars

Richard Dreyfuss (left) and Bo Hopkins (Right)

Credit: Universal Studios

Lucasfilm mourns the loss of legendary American Graffiti (1973) actor Bo Hopkins, one of the driving forces that led George Lucas’ career toward Star Wars (1977).

Richard Dreyfuss (Left) and Bo Hopkins (right)
Credit: Lucasfilm

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George Lucas’ sophomore film American Graffiti changed the parameters of the young Hollywood starling. Featuring the talents of Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Charles Martin Smith, Cindy Williams, and the unknown Richard Dreyfuss and Harrison Ford (both of which would become household names thanks to Lucas and Steven Spielberg), American Grafitti cemented itself as classic Americana cinema.

Without the success of Grafitti, George Lucas would never have had the opportunity to take his indie Lucasfilm production studio towards the highest of Star Wars.

Harrison Ford in "American Graffiti"
Credit: Lucasfilm

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It is never easy to lose a member of the original Lucasfilm team, especially one that helped project an uncanny sense of realism in American Grafitti.

John Milner in 'American Graffiti'
Credit: Lucasfilm

Actor Bo Hopkins, known best for his countless supporting roles throughout the late 1960s and 1970s, has passed away at 80.

Lucasfilm issued the following statement to their official Instagram account:

Our company mourns the recent passing of actor Bo Hopkins. One of the earliest members of our Lucasfilm family, he first appeared in “American Graffiti” as Joe, the tough but endearing leader of the Pharaohs car club. His smooth, commanding presence led to his reappearance in “More American Graffiti” and a small role in “Radioland Murders.” His performances were always memorable and he was a cherished friend to the community of “American Graffiti” enthusiasts. Rest in peace, Bo. We’ll see you on 10th Street…

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Bo Hopkins most famously pressured the young Curt (Richard Dreyfuss) to attach a tied cable to the suspension of a police car while the Pharaohs sped down 10th street. As a result, the back axel shot off the police vehicle as the car sped into motion.

With news of Hopkins passing on May 28, 2022, fans began sending in messages of love and respect for the actor:

Another great is gone. One of the most natural actors to ever do it. In the 70s, he was a mainstay in many great films.

One of my faves. A welcome presence in any project.

Goodbye and Farewell to Bo Hopkins

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Another fan writes:

A Hollywood great is gone.

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Another fan shares:

Actor Bo Hopkins has died at age 80. Bo was great in American Graffiti, The Wild Bunch, The Killer Elite, Midnight Express, TV’s Dynasty, and many other roles. Often a bad guy on screen, he was a good guy offscreen who enjoyed meeting his fans. RIP

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Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the Lucasfilm classic, fans of American Grafitti hold Hopkins and his Joe character close to their movie-loving hearts.

More about American Grafitti

On the last day of summer vacation in 1962, friends Curt (Richard Dreyfuss), Steve (Ronny Howard), Terry (Charles Martin Smith) and John (Paul Le Mat) cruise the streets of small-town California while a mysterious disc jockey (Wolfman Jack) spins classic rock’n’roll tunes. It’s the last night before their grown-up lives begin, and Steve’s high-school sweetheart, a hot-to-trot blonde, a bratty adolescent and a disappearing angel in a Thunderbird provide all the excitement they can handle.

Mel's Drive In from 'American Grafitti'
Credit: Lucasfilm

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Wikipedia writes:

American Graffiti is a 1973 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film directed by George Lucas, produced by Francis Ford Coppola, written by Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz and Lucas, and starring Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard (billed as Ronny Howard), Paul Le Mat, Harrison Ford, Charles Martin Smith, Cindy Williams, Candy Clark, Mackenzie Phillips, Bo Hopkins, and Wolfman Jack. Suzanne Somers, Kathleen Quinlan, Debralee Scott, and Joe Spano also appear in the film.

Set in Modesto, California, in 1962, the film is a study of the cruising and early rock ‘n’ roll cultures popular among Lucas’s age group at the time. Through a series of vignettes, the film tells the story of a group of teenagers and their adventures over the course of a night.

What was your favorite part of American Grafitti? Comment below!

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