G.D. Spradlin, the Oklahoma-born character actor who contributed mightily to some of the best scenes of some of the best cinema ever, passed away Tuesday.
A millionaire oilman, rancher, attorney and World War II vet, he directed John F. Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign in Oklahoma and didn’t enter the acting field until his mid-forties, when he was cast by “Godfather” producer Fred Roos in TV's “I Spy” and “Gomer Pyle.”
He’s likely best known for the role of the racist, corrupt U.S. senator Pat Geary, who in "The Godfather Part II" didn’t much care for Italians, with their greasy hair and silk suits, invading his pristine Nevada.
This led to a big role as a U.S. senator in “Rich Man, Poor Man Book II.” He'd go on to play many government officials.
He was the man in charge as Harrison Ford was giving Martin Sheen his marching orders in “Apocalypse Now.”
Here he is as commandant of the Carolina Military Academy in 1983’s “Lords of Discipline.”
On TV he played two real U.S. presidents: Andrew Jackson in 1986's “Houston: The Legend of Texas” and Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1985's “Robert Kennedy and His Times.”
He played a U.S. president again in Renny Harlin's "The Long Kiss Goodnight."
More recently he played Reverand Lemon in Tim Burton’s “Ed Wood."
He was also Patient Zero in NBC’s 1996 UFO drama “Dark Skies”:
Spradlin’s final role was that of Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, bossing around Will Ferrell’s Bob Woodward in the 1999 Watergate comedy “Dick.”
Find the New York Times’ obituary here.