Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tom Laughlin dies at age 82

Tom Laughlin dies at age 82

Actor Tom Laughlin died on Thursday, December 12 at age 82. He had been suffering from pneumonia.

Laughlin is best known as the feature film character 'Billy Jack', a cultural icon and 70s superstar. 

If you were over the age of five during the 70s, then you knew who Bill Jack was, and how, despite renouncing violence, he was obliged to take off his shoes and use kung fu to kick the asses of racist rednecks who were hassling Indian children. Or hippy kids attending a Montessori school. Or anyone from the counterculture, for that matter.

There's no denying the fact that the Billy Jack films could be ponderous, self-indulgent, and frequently boring - at least, that is, if you weren't stoned. But they had a quirky originality that is utterly lacking in so many of today's studio and indie films.

Although he was never the topic of a comicbook episode per se, for issue 11 (April, 1975) of Marvel / Curtis's The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, Billy Jack was the cover star and the subject of two overwrought articles. In tribute to Billy Jack, I've posted the less overwrought (?) article, 'Death is A Loner', by Scott Edelman.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I remember this guy. I grew up in the '70s and recall all the bad-ass kung-foo stuff floating around, which maybe in part was a reaction to the 60's, who knows. It was a spooky decade.
Still, he was kind of cool, even if his films were pretty dumb. I even got my hair cut short once to emulate him, which made my old man happy.
For a while,anyway.