Obituary: Actor Richard Lynch, 1936-2012

Richard Lynch picture

Richard Lynch as Pendragon in the 1992 film Merlin.

Venerable character actor Richard Lynch, he of the wild hair and scarred face who gained “Hey, it’s that guy” recognition playing villainous characters in more than 150 movies and television shows, was found dead on Tuesday, June 19, at his home in Palm Springs, Calif. He was 76.

Mr. Lynch’s representative, Mike Baronas, said “from what I currently understand, no investigation into the cause of his death will be made.”

Lynch himself was solely responsible for the scars that riddled his familiar face: In New York City’s Central Park in 1967, he lit himself on fire while under the influence of drugs.

I experimented with every kind of drug,” Lynch said in a 1971 interview following his recovery from the incident, which burned 70% of his body. “Ultimately, I found out what they were all about.”

The Brooklyn-born Lynch’s career kicked off with a supporting role in 1973’s Scarecrow and spanned the next four decades. His films included The Seven-Ups (1974), The Sword and The Sorcerer (1982), Necromonicon: Book of the Dead (1993) and, more recently, Rob Zombie’s remake of Halloween (2007). As for TV, over the years, Lynch popped up on everything from Baretta (1976) and T.J. Hooker (1983) to Star Trek: The Next Generation (1993) and Charmed (2003).

In tribute to the late Mr. Lynch, I’ve posted one of my favorite Lynchian bad boy moments. It’s from the Reagan-era action flick Invasion U.S.A. starring Chuck Norris, wherein Lynch portrays Russian terrorist Mikhail Rostov, the film’s chief villain and one mean sonuvabitch. You can check out just how nasty he is in this scene (zip forward to the 20-second mark) where he takes out drug dealer Billy Drago (The Untouchables) via two shots to the groin, knocks off a couple of his henchmen and impales Drago’s coke-snorting gal pal through the nose with a steel tube before throwing her through a second-story glass window!

Rest In Peace, Richard…just as many of your onscreen victims appear to have rested in pieces!


About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.