As I was sitting down to write about the passing of the great Robert Z’Dar in came the shocking news that yet another of genre cinema’s finest has also passed away. Just a few hours ago, Rob Zombie broke the news that the great character actor Tom Towles has also passed away. Here is what is known.
Robert Z’Dar, known to fans worldwide as the Maniac Cop, passed away on Monday April 30th in Pensacola Florida as he was finishing up being a guest at Pensacon. He was 64 years old. Suffering from pain, Bob went to the hospital over the weekend and unfortunately died of cardiac arrest Monday evening. Z’Dar enjoyed mainstream success when he starred alongside Sly Stallone and Kurt Russell as “Face” in Tango and Cash.
On a personal note, I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Z’Dar on several occasions at a handful of conventions and always found him kind, personable, and appreciative of his fans and those who stopped to talk with him. He could always be found after show hours out and about just hanging around with his many admirers, something we don’t see near enough of these days. You can help contribute to his burial by visiting the following link.
Like the rest of you, Tom Towles first popped onto my radar in the late 80’s when Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer jumped up and slapped us in the face. Otis was just the first in what would become a string of memorable genre characters that would cement Tom as a true icon. Not much is known at the time of this writing about Mr. Towles passing. Word spread when Rob Zombie announced via his Facebook feed that his friend had passed. He was 65 years old.
Tom had worked with Zombie on House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects, and Halloween, as well as his Grindhouse trailer Werewolf Women of the SS. He also portrayed Harry Cooper in Tom Savini’s 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead. Add in all his TV appearances in shows like CSI, Firefly, Seinfeld and The Drew Carey Show, just to name a handful, and you end up with an impressive slate of 61 roles to his credit.
Both of these men will be sorely missed by fans and our thoughts and prayers go out to their family and friends.