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R. G. Armstrong – Character Actor Dead at 95

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I know what you’re thinking: “Woah, that dude was still alive?”

Yeah, I assumed he had died long ago too, but what a career. A Sam Peckinpah regular, R. G. Armstrong had a familiar, grizzled face and appeared in tons of TV shows, westerns, action films, and quite a few horror roles beginning in the mid-1950s. I especially liked his creepy Sheriff (he played a lot of those) in RACE WITH THE DEVIL and his psychotic gym owner who threw barbells at Jeff Bridges in STAY HUNGRY. Peckinpah cast him in MAJOR DUNDEE, RIDE THE HIDE COUNTRY, BATTLE OF CABLE HOGUE, and PAT GARRET AND BILLY THE KID. Some of his other horror credits include DEVIL DOG HOUND FROM HELL, THE CAR, THE BEAST WITHIN, PREDATOR, and CHILDREN OF THE CORN. The last thing I recall seeing him in was as Pruneface in Warren Beatty’s DICK TRACY back in 1990 but he continued to work in television up until 2001. R. G. Armstrong was a dependable actor whose welcome presence livened up many great films throughout a long career. A one-time acting student of Lee Strasberg, and the holder of a master’s degree in English, Armstrong was 95.

14 Comments

  1. Robbie

    July 28, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Dad (R.G. Armstrong) died peacefully in his sleep Friday morning July 27, 2012. We all (his children) loved him dearly and a Memorial Service with details are pending. Thank you dear fans – he appreciated you all! Robbie

    • Tom Stockman

      July 28, 2012 at 9:59 pm

      Thanks for your comment. Your dad was a great actor.

    • Mark Smith

      July 29, 2012 at 8:36 am

      Robbie

      I’m so sorry to hear about your Dad’s passing. He was a wonderful actor and to this very day I still enjoy watching him work on Gunsmoke and all the old Western shows on the Encore Westerns channel, as well as his body of work in movies. God bless you and your family always.

      Mark

    • Kent Faulk

      July 29, 2012 at 12:14 pm

      I’m sorry for your loss. This is Kent Faulk, staff writer at The Birmingham News in Alabama. Could you contact me regarding an obit for your father.
      Thank you

    • Patrick Dunn

      July 30, 2012 at 5:51 pm

      Condolences. What a great career. Off the top of my head, I think my favorite line delivered by this man was “Repent, you son-a-bitch!” Absolutely classic.

  2. Charles

    July 29, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Robbie, very sorry to hear about your father. I loved him in everything he did. He was a fine actor and will be missed. I was glad he made at least one appearance on the Twilight Zone which is my favorite show and correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t he appear in the video for Metallica’s Enter Sandman?

  3. Doug

    July 29, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    I am a younger person, so I only know him from his role as Pruneface. RIP.

  4. Bruce Metcalfe

    July 29, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    He was also the Judge in “Where the Buffalo Roam” (1978). Bill Murray’s attempt at being Hunter S. Thompson.

  5. CJ

    July 30, 2012 at 2:30 am

    Very sad news… I was a fan ever since I saw Dick Tracy as a 10-year old… Pruneface was a character that stayed with me, and I enjoyed his role in Children of the Corn very much too, as well as other parts he played… He had a lot of presence on screen, and a sort of understated power… Condolences and best wishes to all his family and friends… rest in peace.

    CJ,
    London, UK.

  6. Justin Humphreys

    August 3, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Robbie– I profiled your father in my book NAMES YOU NEVER REMEMBER, WITH FACES YOU NEVER FORGET… Your dad was a fabulous guy and I used to visit him as often as I could in Studio City. Daryl knows me.
    I’m writing because several of R.G.’s old friends, including L.Q. Jones, would like to get the details of the memorial. Please post it on here when you have a chance. (I was the one who broke the news to L.Q., by the way.)
    Your dad will be badly missed.
    Sincerely,
    Justin Humphreys

    • Robbie

      August 15, 2012 at 12:25 pm

      Hi Justin – I remember you and talking with you as well. We so loved your book too. I really enjoyed reading it to Dad as he got such a kick out of the memories. Sorry you had to break the news to L.Q. I don’t have any idea when a memorial will be at this point, hopefully sometime within the year. We’ve got alot going on right now with the family…sigh. R.G. will be missed for the rest of our lives.

      To all the fans above – thanks again for the posts. Love reading them! Hopefully Birmingham News reporter got the obits that are everywhere now. And regarding the ‘repent you son of a bitch’ line from Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid – great story around that in Sam Peckinpah’s bio! Robbie

      • Justin Humphreys

        August 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm

        Hi, Robbie-

        I just spoke with L.Q. last night (It was his 85th birthday). He, myself, and other old friends of R.G. would very much like to know more about any memorial service.

        Could you email me sometime soon at fivestarfinal@hotmail.com? I would like to be back in touch with your family. Thanks!

        - Justin

  7. Mark

    October 29, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Yeah, I also liked him in “Ride The Hide Country,” where he played a buffalo hide dealer in the Old East, and “Battle Of Cable Hogue,” about two cable companies fighting over who is going to wire up Hogue, KS. He played many great characters and was a great character actor, unlike all those actors who don’t play characters.

    • Robbie

      October 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm

      HA!HA – Thanks Mark! Just caught that myself. Funny!!! Tom, could you change those movies to the correct titles: Ride the HIGH Country and BALLAD of Cable Hogue? :-) Robbie

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