Blade Runner And Raising Arizona Actor M. Emmet Walsh Is Dead At 88

 M. Emmet Walsh in Blade Runner.
M. Emmet Walsh in Blade Runner.

Just because you don’t know an actor by name doesn’t mean you don’t instantly recognize them when they appear in a movie or TV show. M. Emmet Walsh might have been one of those people for many of you reading this, as the character actor in many high-profile offerings from both the big and small screens over the years, including Blade Runner and Raising Arizona. Unfortunately, it’s come in that Walsh has died at the age of 88.

According to ET, Walsh died of cardiac arrest on Tuesday, March 19 at Kerbs Memorial Hospital in St. Albans, Vermont. He is survive by niece niece, Meagan Walsh, nephew Kevin Walsh (Renee), and grandnephews Emmet and Elliot.

Born on March 22, 1935 in Ogdensburg, New York and raised in Swanton, Vermont, M. Emmet Walsh, who deserves to be one of the best-known character actors, began his acting career in the late 1960s, with his first movie being Alice’s Restaurant and his first TV show being The Doctors. His other notable early film and TV credits include Midnight Cowboy, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Serpico, The Bob Newhart Show, The Rockford Files and Starsky and Hutch.

In 1982, Walsh’s profile kicked up a notch when he appeared opposite Harrison Ford as Captain Bryant in Blade Runner, though he would later admit that he and some of the other cast members didn’t really get the Ridley Scott-directed movie at the time. Two years later, he appeared in Blood Simple, The Coen Brothers’ well-received first feature and one of the great 1984 movies that don’t get enough credit.

Then in 1987, he starred with Nicholas Cage in Raising Arizona, which can be streamed with a Paramount+ subscription with the SHOWTIME add-on. Walsh’s other major ‘80s movies include Fletch, Back to School and Harry and the Hendersons. Jumping to 1990, fans of the original Flash TV show might remember him appearing in a couple episodes as Henry Allen, the father of John Wesley Shipp’s Barry Allen.

Among the other worthy projects worth thinking about on M. Emmet Walsh’s career are the movies Critters, William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, My Best Friend’s Wedding, The Iron Giant and Christmas with the Kranks, and the TV shows Home Improvement, The X-Files, NYPD Blue, Ed and Army Wives. In more recent years, he had a minor role as Mr. Proofoc in 2019’s Knives Out, and he appeared in two episodes of HBO’s The Righteous Gemstones (which can be streamed with a Max subscription) as Grandpa Roy Gemstone. His final movie was the Western Outlaw Posse, which was released in select theaters earlier this month, and his final TV appearance was in SHOWTIME’s American Gigolo last year.

We here at CinemaBlend express our condolences to M. Emmet Walsh’s family and friends during this difficult time. He was a great talent and will be missed.