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Thread: Tom Laughlin (Billy Jack) dead

  1. #1
    Hit By Ban Bus! rockchick's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    midwest USA

    Default Tom Laughlin (Billy Jack) dead

    Younger GR's may not know him, but older GRs will. I cannot post pics but feel free to if you can. He was pretty handsome back in the day....

    Billy Jack, peace-lover who kicked serious ass.

    Tom Laughlin, Star of ‘Billy Jack,’ Dead at 82

    Filmmaker Tom Laughlin, who shot to fame as the rugged half-breed action hero Billy Jack, died Thursday in Thousand Oaks, Calif., surrounded by his family. He was 82 years old.

    While involved at one point with just about every facet of the film business, Laughlin may be best known for his series of Billy Jack films. He has been married to Delores Taylor since 1954, and she co-produced and acted in all four of the Billy Jack movies.

    In addition to acting, he was a producer, director and screenwriter, and drew attention for a groundbreaking promotion and release campaign on 1974′s The Trial of Billy Jack that included TV trailers during national news and an opening day nationwide release that helped shape the future of film distribution.

    Also read: Peter OToole Mourned by Hollywood in Twitter Outpouring

    In 1967, Laughlin wrote, directed (as T. C. Frank) and starred in the motorcycle-gang exploitation movie The Born Losers, the first film in which the character of Billy Jack appeared.

    In 1971, he followed that up with a sequel, Billy Jack, which he made independently and with his own money. The numerous political references and frontal nudity caused several studios to shy away, but Warner Bros. finally agreed to distribute it. Laughlin, upset with the studios marketing of the film, sued to get it back, won and re-released it himself.

    That re-release brought attention, box-office success and controversy. In it, Laughlin played the title character, a vigilante former Vietnam War hero who defends the hippie-themed Freedom School and its counterculture and Native American students.

    Billy Jack seems to be saying that a gun is better than a constitution in the enforcement of justice. Is democracy totally obsolete, then? Is our only hope that the good fascists defeat the bad fascists? said Roger Ebert in his review. Billy Jack was also one of the first films to introduce martial arts to mainstream movie audiences in the U.S.

  2. #2
    Gold Member manningmsj's Avatar
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    Aug 2013


    Sad. He was awesome. The Born Losers is one of Mr. M's faves.
    My doctor says that I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fibre and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes.- Douglas Adams

  3. #3
    Elite Member Trixie's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    exiled and ostrich sized


    Obviously I'm not one of the younger GR'ers....

    Go ahead and hate your neighbor
    Go ahead and cheat a friend
    Do it in the name of heaven
    You can justify it in the end
    There won't be any trumpets blowing
    Come the judgment day
    On the bloody morning after
    One tin soldier rides away

    I read he was still married to his Billy Jack co-star, Delores Taylor, at the time of his death. RIP.
    I'mNotBitter likes this.
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  4. #4
    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
    in a van down by the river


    Billy Jack was one of my favorite movies ever.

    The woman in the movie was his real life wife, Dolores Taylor. They were married 60 years.

    I'mNotBitter likes this.
    Basic rule of Gossip Rocks: Don't be a dick.Tati
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  5. #5
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    Wherever my kids are


    Wow!!! I had no idea he was that old! I would have thought 72, not 82. Damn.

    I just looked it up, and he married Delores Taylor in 1954 -- he is my freaking hero!!! He almost made it to his 60th wedding anniversary.

    I remember back in the Billy Jack days that he and Delores were being interviewed together on Merv Griffin. The type of martial arts he was actually into was aikido, which if I remember correctly, is more of a defensive art, than an in-your-face offensive one. They seemed great together, and it is so cool that (apparently) it wasn't an act.

    Being the perv that I am, I remember the scene in Billy Jack where Delores Taylor has just finished horseback riding and decides to sunbathe in the altogether -- but all her "strategic" parts are obscured by her horse's legs (the horse was standing in the foreground). I kept psychically trying to will that stupid horse to take a step forward.

    ETA - the woman who starred with Laughlin in his breakout Billy Jack movie ("Born Losers") was Elizabeth James. She was super cute, is in a bikini for half of the movie, and kind of looked like a young Liza Minelli. What's even better was that she actually wrote the screenplay for the movie.

  6. #6
    Elite Member Sylkyn's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
    Indahood, AL


    OMG. This breaks my heart. I adored "Billy Jack". This is awful. I also had no idea he was that old.

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