'Last Picture Show' actor Sam Bottoms dies in LA
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sam Bottoms, who had small but memorable roles in the 1970s classics "Apocalypse Now" and "The Last Picture Show," has died. He was 53. Bottoms, one of four actor-brothers, died Tuesday of brain cancer at his home in Los Angeles, wife Laura Bickford said.
In "Apocalypse Now," Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 Vietnam War epic, Bottoms played pro surfer-turned-soldier Lance B. Johnson, who takes to the waves amid bombs and bullets under the orders of the maniacal, surfing-mad Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore played by Robert Duvall.
"He was a handsome, tall young man and very sweet-natured and seemed to be right for that part," Coppola said Wednesday. "Sam was a good actor. Of course, he comes from a family that had a lot of theatrical activity."
In his 1971 film debut, a 15-year-old Bottoms starred alongside his best-known brother, Timothy, in "The Last Picture Show," playing a mute and mentally handicapped boy forced by friends to lose his virginity to a prostitute.
Sam Bottoms said he was in Texas to visit his brother, who was the film's lead, when director Peter Bogdanovich saw him and cast him in the part.
R.I.P., Sam. You will be missed.