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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tom Towles
Born(1950-03-20)March 20, 1950
DiedApril 2, 2015(2015-04-02) (aged 65)
Years active1971–2008
Known forHenry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
Night of the Living Dead
House of 1000 Corpses
Miami Vice
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Marine Corps

Tom Towles (March 20, 1950 – April 2, 2015) was an American character actor of film, theatre, and television, known for his portraying villains and intimidating supporting characters. His breakthrough role as Otis in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) earned him an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Male. He appeared in numerous films and television series including Night of the Living Dead, Blood In Blood Out, The Rock, NYPD Blue, Dr. Dolittle, The Devil's Rejects, Miami Vice, and Malcolm in the Middle.

Early life

Towles was born on March 20, 1950[1] in Chicago, Illinois.[2] He had a sister by the name of Kai.[3] Prior to acting, Towles briefly served in the United States Marine Corps.[4][5]


In 1971, Towles began his acting career in Chicago where he performed as a member of the Organic Theater Company.[6] He made his film debut portraying a minor role as a cop in Dog Day Afternoon (1975).[7] Afterwards, Towles returned to Chicago to continue performing with the Organic Theater Company, as well as performing at the Goodman Theatre.[8] After a decade-long hiatus, Towles returned to the screen in the film Pink Nights (1985).[9]

Towles made his breakthrough role as Otis in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. His character was based on real-life serial killer Ottis Toole.[10][11]

Towles also appeared on television in such shows as Seinfeld, NYPD Blue, L.A. Law, ER, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager and Firefly.[12][13][14][15]

Towles frequently collaborated with filmmaker Rob Zombie in several of films such as House of 1000 Corpses (2003), The Devil's Rejects (2005), Halloween (2007) and Grindhouse (2007).[16]


Towles died on April 2, 2015, at the age of 65,[17][18] in a hospital in Pinellas, Florida of complications following a stroke.[19]



Year Title Role Notes
1975 Dog Day Afternoon Cop Uncredited
1985 Pink Nights Ralph
1986 Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer Otis Nominated- Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
1989 The Borrower Bob Laney Nominated- Fangoria Chainsaw Award for Best Supporting Actor
1990 Men Don't Leave Evan Taylor
Night of the Living Dead Harry Cooper
1991 The Pit and the Pendulum Don Carlos Molina
1992 Fortress Stiggs
1993 Blood In Blood Out Red Ryder
Mad Dog and Glory Andrew the Beater
1996 God's Lonely Man Steven
Normal Life Frank Anderson
1996 The Rock Alcatraz Park Ranger
1997 Gridlock'd Max
Warriors of Virtue Grillo
Night of the Lawyers Moriarty
1998 The Prophecy II Det. Waltrip
Dr. Dolittle German Shepherd Voice
2000 More Dogs Than Bones Det. Waltrip
2002 Groom Lake Dietz
2003 House of 1000 Corpses Deputy George Wydell
2005 The Devil's Rejects
2006 Miami Vice Coleman
2007 Grindhouse Lt. Boorman (segment "Werewolf Women of the SS")
Home Sick Uncle Johnny
Halloween Larry Redgrave
2008 Blood on the Highway Louis Debois (final film role)


Year Title Role Notes
1987 Jack and Mike Maxie Episode: "Charity Ball"
High Mountain Rangers T.J. Cousins Episode: "Pilot"
1988 Sable Eddie Episode: "Mob"
1992 Mann & Machine Lomax Episode: "Mann's Fate"
1993 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Hon'Tihl Episode: "Dramatis Personae"
Seinfeld Tough Guy Episode: "The Glasses"
1993-94 NYPD Blue Inspector Anthony Lastarza Recurring role; Season 1
Bakersfield P.D. Riley 2 episodes
1994 L.A. Law Warden Geoff Ropella Episode: "Three on a Patch"
Girls in Prison Norman Stoneface Television film
1995 VR.5 Shepard Episode: "Dr. Strangechild"
1996 Pacific Blue Mr. Baron Episode: "Rapscallions"
ER Matthew Episode: "No Brain, No Gain"
3rd Rock from the Sun Dale Episode: "Gobble, Gobble, Dick, Dick"
Night Stand with Dick Dietrick Mad Cow Episode: "Uniting Love Ones"
1997 Profiler Steve Calagian Episode: "Learning From the Masters"
Star Trek: Voyager Dr. Vatm Episode: "Rise"
1998 Mercenary II: Thick & Thin Colonel Chamaro Television film
Maximum Bob Ike Worth Episode: "Once Bitten..."
The Pretender Jack Brevins Episode: "Parole"
1999 Lansky Nick Television film
The Drew Carey Show Det. Streible Episode: "Drew Tries to Kill Mimi"
2001 18 Wheels of Justice Ray Palmeri Episode: "The Interrogation"
2002 Firefly Lund Episode: "The Train Job"
Push, Nevada BRB Recurring role; Season 1
Robbery Homicide Division Kevin Molas Episode: "Wild Ride"
2003 Crossing Jordan Bill Williamson Episode: "Wild Card"
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Zeke Episode: "Homebodies"
Malcolm in the Middle Ethan Episode: "Christmas Trees"

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2002 New Legends Bradley Voice


  1. ^ "Tom Towles biography". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Oldenburg, Ann (6 April 2015). "Character actor Tom Towles dies at 65". USA Today. Retrieved 10 November 2015. The Chicago-born Towles...
  3. ^ Macatee, Rebecca (6 April 2015). "Character Actor Tom Towles Dead at 71; Rob Zombie Remembers Indie-Horror Regular as "Such a Great Guy"". E! News. Retrieved 10 November 2015. ...his sister Kai Towles...
  4. ^ "Rob Zombie remembers character actor Tom Towles". Philadelphia Media Network. 6 April 2015. Retrieved 10 November 2015. ...after a stint in the U.S. Marines...
  5. ^ "Rob Zombie Remembers Character Actor Tom Towles". 6 April 2015. Retrieved 10 November 2015. ...after a stint in the U.S. Marines...
  6. ^ Jevens, Darel. "TOM TOWLES, 'HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER' ACTOR, DIES AT 65". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 10 November 2015. ...he began his acting career on local stages and in 1971 was part of the original cast of the Organic Theatre's acclaimed series of sci-fi plays "Warp."
  7. ^ Rife, Katie (6 April 2015). "R.I.P. Tom Towles, horror veteran". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 10 November 2015. His first film role was a bit part as a cop in Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
  8. ^ "Overview for Tom Towles". he returned to Chicago and became a member of the Organic Theatre Company appearing in numerous productions and often collaborating on the writing as well. Towles also acted with the prestigious Goodman Theatre there.
  9. ^ Dagan, Carmel (6 April 2015). "Tom Towles, Actor in Horror Movies, Dies at 65". Variety. Retrieved 10 November 2015. Towles returned to the bigscreen after a long absence with an appearance in 1985's "Pink Nights."
  10. ^ Ryan, Danielle (6 April 2015). "Tom Towles, Horror Movie Actor, Dead at 65". Paste. Retrieved 10 November 2015. He is best known, however, for his role as Otis opposite Michael Rooker's Henry in 1986's Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Towles' murderous character was based on real-life serial killer Otis Toole, who admitted to killing the 6-year-old son of John Walsh.
  11. ^ Barnes, Mike (7 April 2015). "Horror actor Tom Towles dies at 65". CNN. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  12. ^ "'House of 1000 Corpses' actor Tom Towles dies at 71". Fox News Channel. 7 April 2015. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  13. ^ Roberts, Katie (6 April 2015). "Character Actor Tom Towles, Star of Horror Films, Dies at 65". Moviefone. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  14. ^ Lang, Derrik J. (7 April 2015). "Actor Tom Towles, veteran of Rob Zombie horror films, dies at age 71". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  15. ^ Oldenburg, Ann (6 April 2015). "Character actor Tom Towles dies at 65". Florida Today. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  16. ^ Gingold, Michael (5 April 2015). "RIP Tom Towles". Fangoria. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  17. ^ Robinson, Will (6 April 2015). "Tom Towles, horror actor, dies at 65". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 10 November 2015. He was 65 years old.
  18. ^ "Character Actor Tom Towles Dead at 65". People. 6 April 2015. Retrieved 10 November 2015. He was 65.
  19. ^ "Tom Towles dies at 71; actor appeared in several Rob Zombie films". Los Angeles Times. 6 April 2015. Retrieved 7 October 2020. ...died Thursday in Pinellas, Fla., of complications from a stroke...

External links

This page was last edited on 7 October 2020, at 12:19
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