A Nightmare on Elm Street actor John Saxon has passed away. He was 83-years old. Saxon died of pneumonia in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, according to his wife, Gloria. The actor and martial artist worked on more than 200 projects during the span of his career, which was over 60 years, including three of the A Nightmare on Elm Street movies under the direction of Wes Craven. In addition, Saxon starred alongside martial arts legend Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon.
John Saxon earned a Golden Globe for his portrayal of a Mexican bandit opposite Marlon Brando in The Appaloosa (1966). Saxon also had a recurring role on Dynasty as Rashid Ahmed and Falcon Crest, though this is barely scratching the surface of Saxon’s lengthy career. He gained notoriety throughout his career and enjoyed working with Bruce Lee on Enter the Dragon in 1973. The roles was Lee’s last and he respected what Saxon brought to the table when they were filming. “[Lee] took me seriously. I would tell him I would rather do it this way, and he’d say, ‘OK, try it that way,” recalled Saxon in 2012.
John Saxon is a major component to the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. In 1987, he wrote a treatment for How the Nightmare on Elm Street All Began, which would have been a prequel to the first installment. Sadly, Saxon’s story was never used, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t end up on the big screen at some point down the line. Saxon played police officer Donald Thompson in the first and third installments in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. He was eventually killed by Freddy Krueger’s skeleton, though he returned to play a version of himself in New Nightmare. Before getting in on the horror genre, Saxon was actually a teen idol in the 1950s.
In 1956, John Saxon starred in the low budget movie Rock, Pretty Baby which became an unexpected success and established the actor as a teen idol. He went on to star in more teen movies and was receiving about 3,000 fan letters a week. From there, Saxon traveled to Europe to star in Agostino, along with other Italian movies. From there, he hooked up with director Sidney J. Furie and made The Appaloosa. In addition to the numerous horror and martial arts roles, Saxon also did Westerns, starring in Death of a Gunfighter and Joe Kidd.
In addition to his big screen work, John Saxon took on roles for the A-Team and Wonder Woman TV shows, along with many more. Saxon worked on all kinds of TV shows and movies throughout the rest of his career. His last roles were in 2009’s made-for-TV movie War Wolves for the small screen and the 2015’s The Extra on the big screen. Saxon is survived by his three his sons, Antonio and Lance; grandson Mitchell; great-grandson John; and sister Dolores. May he Rest in Peace. The first to announce John Saxon’s death was The Hollywood Reporter.