Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Small Tribute to Robert Winley

He was shot by this grizzled, old preacher in Pale Rider,


shotgunned by this mullet-headed, iguana owner in Stone Cold,


kick-boxed, and had his head hood-slammed onto a hot engine by this woman in The Stranger,


stared down by the titular character of Jake Speed,


all but ignored by this undercover cop in Death Warrant,


electrocuted by this out of work executioner in the very first Tales from the Crypt episode,


Shot in the back by this kid in Near Dark,


and finally, he was tossed on a hot griddle by this cyborg in Terminator 2, and subsequently gave up his clothes, boots and motorcycle.


In the decade from 1985 to 1995, no actor was beaten, shot, electrocuted or just plain disrespected more on screen. He was chosen to take this abuse from some of the finest directors of the era including Clint Eastwood, James Cameron, Walter Hill, Michael Mann, John Dahl and Kathryn Bigelow. Of course, I'm talking about the great Robert Winley, and although his name may not register, his face is iconic with action and horror fans as he almost always played the designated biker thug destined for a beat down, or worse, at the hands of the hero. In an era where character actors with interesting, recognizable faces are becoming rare, his tough, scary but somehow amiable visage is sorely missed.


12 comments:

  1. This is such a great post and a great blog! thanks.

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    1. Thank you sir, your comment is much appreciated!

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  2. If his relatives see this - thanks. those few precious moments seen on screen - influenced a generation of young men in ways that are used to make decisions in love, business and life in this generation. while we cant live beyond our time here, our work can. I was thinking back on my life in the summer of 1991 and I wondered "what became of that guy" and I found this blog. If you plant a seed, you may not live to see that tree grow, but your works can sit under than tree and enjoy its shade. Thanks Mr. Winley. See you again some day.

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    1. Nice thoughts Joseph, thanks. It's strange and wonderful how people you've never met can leave a lifelong impression through their work.

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  3. This is a nice tribute to a great working class actor. Thanks for posting this.

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  4. Thanks, Robert. I love distinctive looking character actors like Winley, and sadly, there seem to be fewer and fewer in modern American cinema.

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  5. How come he died so young? Anyone knows?

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. He died of brain cancer in 2001 at the age 48.

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    3. I think his wrinkly face suggests quite a lot of tobacco use.

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  6. Nice tribute mate. the teminator bar scene has got to be my favourite scene of any movie ever made Robert Winley looked so authentic as a biker too R.I.P Robert Winley

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  7. I came across this tribute to my friend bob winley....i knew bob when we did summer stock at the paul bunyon playhouse in minnesota in 1979....He was a great guy.

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