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‘Die Hard 2’ actor Tom Bower dies aged 86

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Tom Bower, best known for his performances in It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and Die Hard 2, has died aged 86.

The actor died in his sleep at his home in Los Angeles on May 30, as confirmed by his sister-in-law to The Hollywood Reporter.

Born in Denver, Colorado on January 3, 1938, Bower’s acting career spanned five decades, with his first on-screen appearance being in two episodes of US detective drama The Rockford Files.

He also starred as two separate characters, Rex Barker and Dr. Curtis Willard in the historical drama series The Waltons.

His later work on the small screen would include appearances in The X-Files, The West Wing, Criminal Minds and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, in which he played Heinrich “Pop-Pop” Landgraf, the grandfather of Dennis and Dee Reynolds.

Bower’s film career saw him appear in multiple successful movies, including Die Hard 2, in which he played the janitor who helps Bruce Willis’ John McClane foil the attempted terrorist attack at the airport.

Tom Bower on June 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. CREDIT: Getty/Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for SAG-AFTRA Foundation

Throughout his career he played several law enforcement figures, for example Sergeant O’Car in his second film, The Dain Curse, Detective Walsh in Split Decisions, Sergeant Cally in Raising Cane and FBI Agent Mullins in 2002’s High Crimes, starring Morgan Freeman.

Bower himself left acting for a brief period to work as a private investigator in Boston, working alongside O.J Simpson’s defence attorney and member of the ‘dream team’, F. Lee Bailey.

His recent work has included an appearance in the 2019 Breaking Bad spin-off movie, El Camino, 2023 American comedy-drama Lucky Hank, starring Bob Odenkirk, and Netflix supernatural horror comedy, We Have A Ghost.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bower was a founder of the Boston Repertory Theatre, where he reportedly gave acting lessons to Al Pacino.

Bower had initially dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player. When he decided to take up acting, he moved to New York and enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1956.

Speaking in 2012 (via The Hollywood Reporter), Bower said: “I started acting with more of a purpose while still in high school, and I guess when I chose a senior play over my senior season of baseball, the die was cast”.

Bower is survived by his children, grandchildren and siblings. His wife of 51 years died in August at age 75. As told to The Hollywood Reporter by Bower’s sister-in-law, the two never spent a day apart.

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