Veteran American actor M. Emmet Walsh has died, aged 88.

Walsh’s death was confirmed by his longtime manager, Sandy Joseph, who told The Hollywood Reporter that the actor died on Tuesday, March 19. Joseph confirmed that Walsh died of cardiac arrest.

Over the course of his lengthy career – which spanned 55 years – the actor has amassed over 200 credits to his name. In 1969, Walsh made his debut with three roles; he was uncredited in Midnight Cowboy and Stiletto and later credited in Alice’s Restaurant.

M. Emmet Walsh was born in New York in 1935 and raised in Vermont. He is best know for roles in Blade Runner, Blood Simple, Little Big Man, Critters and Knives Out amongst countless others.

M. Emmet Walsh in ‘Blood Simple’. Credit: River Road Productions/Circle/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

In Ridley Scott’s 1982 Blade Runner, Walsh portrayed Harrison Ford’s LAPD boss, while he played the vicious private detective Loren Visser in the Coen brothers’ directing debut Blood Simple in 1984.

He played a sportswriter in the Paul Newman sports comedy Slap Shot (1977), Dustin Hoffman’s parole officer in Straight Time (1978) and a sniper hunting down Steve Martin in The Jerk (1979).

Walsh also played smaller roles in Fletch (1985) and Critters (1986), as well as Nicolas Cage’s co-worker in Raising Arizona (1987) and Michael Keaton’s sponsor in Clean and Sober (1988). He also appeared in Romeo + Juliet (1996), My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997), The Iron Giant (1999) and Knives Out (2019).

Walsh’s last role comes in the form of this year’s western, Outlaw Posse, alongside Whoopi Goldberg and Cedric The Entertainer.

Following the news of his death, several esteemed figures in Hollywood have paid tribute to the late M. Emmet Walsh. Edgar Wright called Walsh “the ultimate character actor”, while Knives Out director Rian Johnson called the late actor an “absolute legend”.


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