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Bo Hopkins
Hopkins in 2009
William Mauldin Hopkins

(1938-02-02)February 2, 1938
DiedMay 28, 2022(2022-05-28) (aged 84)
Years active1966–2006; 2013–2020
  • Norma Woodle
    (m. 1959; div. 1962)
  • Sian Eleanor Green
    (m. 1989)

William Mauldin "Bo" Hopkins (February 2, 1938 – May 28, 2022)[1] was an American actor. He was known for playing supporting roles in several major studio films from 1969 to 1979, and he appeared in many television shows and TV movies.

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Early life

William Hopkins was born in Greenville, South Carolina.[1] At the age of nine months, he was adopted by a couple who were unable to conceive. Growing up, he was called "Billy." His adoptive father worked in a mill in Taylors, South Carolina.[1] When his father was 39, he died of a heart attack on the porch of the family's home. Billy and his mother witnessed his death.[1] Unable to remain in their house, a month later the two of them moved to a new residence in nearby Ware Shoals, where his grandfather and uncles worked in another mill. His mother eventually remarried a man whose last name was Davis.[1] Hopkins did not get along with his new stepfather; the two got into numerous arguments, some serious.[1] After running away from home a few times, he was sent to live with his grandparents, and while there he learned that he had been adopted because his adoptive mother could not bear children.[1] At age 12, he met his birth mother who lived with his half-sisters and a half-brother in Lockhart, another small mill town in South Carolina.[1]

Billy led a troubled life as a youngster, with numerous instances of truancy, minor crimes, and a stay in a reform school.[1] He dropped out of school just before his 17th birthday and joined the United States Army, where he was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. He was based at Fort Jackson, Fort Gordon, and Fort Pope, before being shipped off to Korea, where he served for nine months.

Explaining in a 2012 magazine interview how he got his first name "Bo," he said:

William Hopkins is my real name. Billy when I was growing up. When I went to New York, Bus Stop was my first off-Broadway play, and the character that I played was named Bo. The producers wanted me to change my name, and since I wanted to keep my last name, we agreed to change the first. That's how it became Bo.

— Bo Hopkins, Shock Cinema, "An Interview with Actor Bo Hopkins", Number 42, June 2012


Hopkins appeared in more than 100 film and television roles in a career of more than 40 years, including the major studio films The Wild Bunch (1969), The Bridge at Remagen (1969), The Getaway (1972), American Graffiti (1973), The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing (1973), The Killer Elite (1975), Posse (1975), A Small Town in Texas (1976), Midnight Express (1978), and More American Graffiti (1979). His final film, Hillbilly Elegy, was directed by his long-time friend Ron Howard and released in 2020.

After Hopkins' first roles in major films in the early 1970s he appeared in White Lightning (1973). Hopkins played Roy Boone. Jerry Reed and Hopkins played brothers Joe Hawkins and Tom Hawkins in the 1985 film What Comes Around.

Hopkins starred or co-starred in many made-for-television movies of the mid-1970s, including Gondola (1973), Judgment: The Court Martial of Lieutenant William Calley (1975), The Runaway Barge (1975), The Kansas City Massacre (1975), The Invasion of Johnson County (1976), Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway (1976), Woman on the Run (1977), Thaddeus Rose and Eddie (1978), Crisis in Sun Valley (1978), and The Busters (1978).

When Gretchen Corbett left the television series The Rockford Files in 1978, Hopkins replaced her character as Rockford's attorney John Cooper, ultimately appearing in three episodes. In 1981, Hopkins appeared in the first season of the prime time drama Dynasty as Matthew Blaisdel. His many other appearances on television included in miniseries Aspen (1977) and Beggarman, Thief (1979), and in episodes of Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Wild Wild West, The Virginian, Nichols, The Rat Patrol (replacing Justin Tarr as the jeep driver for three episodes), The Mod Squad, Hawaii Five-O, Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers, The Rookies, Charlie's Angels, Fantasy Island, The A-Team, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, The Fall Guy, Crazy Like a Fox, Murder, She Wrote, and Doc Elliot. Hopkins portrayed a role in the video game Nuclear Strike. He plays Colonel LeMonde, a mercenary who steals a nuclear weapon. The "Strike" team tracks him through Southeast Asia.

Personal life

After his military service, he began dating Norma Woodle, whom he married at age 21, and they had a daughter in July 1960.[1]

Hopkins became interested in pursuing an acting career, but his wife disapproved of it and she soon left him, taking their daughter with her. After appearing in some area plays, he received a scholarship to study acting and stage production at the Pioneer Playhouse in Kentucky, where he soon moved.[1] From Kentucky, he made his way to Manhattan to act in more stage plays. After that, he moved to Hollywood with his cousin's boyfriend, who wanted to be a stuntman. He earned a living parking cars while studying at the Actors Studio, where one of his classmates was Martin Landau.[1]

Hopkins had a two-year relationship with Gondola co-star Sondra Locke. They presented themselves as a couple on the game show Tattletales despite her existing marriage.[2] Their episode aired just days before she left for Arizona to start shooting The Outlaw Josey Wales.

Hopkins was married to Sian Eleanor Green from 1989 until his death; they had a son in 1995. After six years of professional inactivity, Hopkins returned to acting, reading scripts, and was writing his autobiography.[1]


Hopkins died on May 28, 2022 after suffering a heart attack. He was age 84.[3]



Year Title Role Notes
1968 Dayton's Devils Taxi Driver
1969 The Thousand Plane Raid Captain Douglass
The Wild Bunch Clarence "Crazy" Lee
The Bridge at Remagen Corporal Grebs
1970 The Moonshine War Bud Blackwell
Macho Callahan Yancy
Monte Walsh "Jumpin" Joe Joslin
1972 The Culpepper Cattle Co. Dixie Brick
The Getaway Frank Jackson
1973 The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing Billy Bowen
American Graffiti "Little" Joe Young
White Lightning Roy Boone
1974 The Nickel Ride Turner
1975 The Day of the Locust Earle Shoop
Posse Wesley
The Killer Elite Jerome Miller
1976 A Small Town in Texas Sheriff Duke
1977 Tentacles Will Gleason
1978 Midnight Express Tex
The Fifth Floor Carl
1979 More American Graffiti "Little" Joe Young
1983 Sweet Sixteen Sheriff Dan Burke
1984 Mutant Sheriff Will Stewart
1988 Nightmare at Noon Reilly
1990 Big Bad John Lester
1992 Inside Monkey Zetterland Mike Zetterland
1993 The Ballad of Little Jo Frank Badger
1994 Radioland Murders Billy's Father
1996 Uncle Sam Sergeant Twining
1997 U Turn Ed
Fever Lake Sheriff Harris Direct-to-video
1998 Phantoms FBI Agent Hawthorne
The Newton Boys FBI Agent K.P. Aldrich
1999 From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money Sheriff Otis Lawson Direct-to-video
2000 South of Heaven, West of Hell "Doc" Angus Fries
2001 A Crack in the Floor Sheriff Talmidge
Cowboy Up Ray Drupp
2002 Don't Let Go The Boss
City of Ghosts Teddy Uncredited
2003 The Road Home Coach Jimmy Stangel
Shade Lieutenant Scarne
2020 Hillbilly Elegy Papaw Vance


Year Title Role Notes
1966 The Phyllis Diller Show Chub 1 episode
1967 The Virginian Will 1 episode
1967 Gunsmoke Harper Haggen 1 episode
1967 The Wild Wild West Zack Garrison S3 E14 "The Night of the Iron Fist"
1967 The Andy Griffith Show George 1 episode
1968 Judd, for the Defense Ned Sims 1 episode
1968 The Rat Patrol Bo Randall 1 episode
1968 The Guns of Will Sonnett Wes Redford/Ben Merceen 2 episodes
1969 Bonanza Stretch Logan 1 episode
1969-1970 The Mod Squad Tom Styles/Arnie 2 episodes
1972 Ironside Gregg Hewitt 1 episode
1972 Nichols Kansas 1 episode
1973 Hawaii Five-O Jeb 1 episode
1973 Gondola Grady Television film
1973-1974 Doc Elliot Eldred McCoy Main role, 10 episodes
1974 Friends and Lovers Guest 1 episode
1974 The Manhunter Sonny Welch 1 episode
1974 The Rookies Wayne Shipley 1 episode
1975 The Kansas City Massacre Pretty Boy Floyd Television film
1975 Judgment: The Court Martial of Lieutenant William Calley Prosecuting Attorney Television film
1975 Barnaby Jones Ken Morley 1 episode
1976; 1979 Charlie's Angels Beau Creel/Wes Anderson 2 episodes
1976 Jigsaw John Jimmy Franks 1 episode
1976 The Invasion of Johnson County George Dunning Television film
1976 Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway Swan Television film
1977 Aspen Budd Townsend 3 episodes
1978 Julie Farr, M.D. Hollis McAfee 1 episode
1978 Thaddeus Rose and Eddie Eddie TV movie
1978-1979 The Rockford Files John Cooper 3 episodes
1979 Supertrain O'Toole 1 episode
1979 The Last Ride of the Dalton Gang Billy Doolin Television film
1980 Casino Stoney Television film
1981-1987 Dynasty Matthew Blaisdel Main role, 18 episodes
1982 Fantasy Island Harry 1 episode
1983 Matt Houston Reverend Noah Sunday 1 episode
1984 The A-Team Charles Drew 1 episode
1984 Hotel Walter Solanski 1 episode
1984 Finder of Lost Loves William Davis/Drew Gilbert 1 episode
1985 The Hitchhiker Lew Bridgeman 1 episode
1985; 1992 Murder, She Wrote Lt. Ray Jenkins/Scott Larkin 2 episodes
1985 Scarecrow and Mrs. King Nick Cross 1 episode
1986 The Fall Guy Sheriff Phil Talbot 1 episode
1986 Crazy Like a Fox Lowell 1 episode
1986 Gone to Texas Sidney Sherman Television film
1986 A Smoky Mountain Christmas Sheriff John Jensen Television film
1987 Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer Ted Sharpe 1 episode
1991 Matlock Sheriff 1 episode
1994 Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone "Rattlesnake" Reynolds Television film
1994 Cheyenne Warrior Jack Andrews Television film
1995 Tom Clancy's Op Center Dan McCaskey Miniseries, 2 episodes
1999 Time Served Jimmy Television film
2000 The Angry Beavers Huttin Voice role, 1 episode


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Petkovich, Anthony (June 2012). "An Interview with Actor Bo Hopkins". Shock Cinema (42). New York, New York: 3–7, 48. Issue cover
  2. ^ Video on YouTube
  3. ^ Koseluk, Chris (May 28, 2022). "Bo Hopkins Dead: 'Wild Bunch,' 'American Graffiti' Actor Was 84". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 28, 2022.

Further reading

  • Humphreys, Justin (2006). "Bo Hopkins". Names You Never Remember, with Faces You Never Forget : Interviews with the Movies' Character Actors (softcover) (First ed.). Albany, GA: BearManor Media. pp. 133–143. ISBN 978-1-62933-094-5.

External links

This page was last edited on 15 May 2024, at 16:28
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