Harry Dean Stanton
Cast member Harry Dean Stanton smiles at the premiere of "Big Love" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California.Reuters

Harry Dean Stanton, the prolific character actor known for his roles in films like The Godfather Part II, Paris, Alien, Texas and Repo Man, died of natural causes at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Friday.

Born in 1926 in rural Kentucky as the son of a tobacco farmer and barber Sheridan Harry Stanton and Ersel, he harboured a desire to become a singer or an actor from an earlier age.

"I could have been a writer. I had to decide if I wanted to be a singer or an actor. I was always singing. I thought if I could be an actor, I could do all of it," the Twin Peaks actor said during one of his interviews for the documentary, Harry Dean Stanton: Crossing Mulholland.

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Stanton's journey to the world of entertainment began while he was a student at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. He was part of a theatre performance directed by British doyen Wallace Briggs

The 91-year-old actor became popular through his appearance in several cult and indie films, including Escape From New York, Cockfighter and Two-Lane Blacktop. He was also part of mainstream Hollywood films, such as Pretty In Pink, Cool Hand Luke, Alpha Dog and Red Dawn.

During six decades of his acting career, Stanton secured tiny roles in a number of TV shows, like The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, Man with a Camera, Alice, Big Love, Mongo Wrestling Alliance, Getting On and Twin Peaks.

Although the prolific actor worked with several popular directors from the industry, including David Lynch, Alfred Hitchcock, John Huston and Martin Scorsese, he was never nominated for any principal acting awards.

"In the end, you end up accepting everything in your life – suffering, horror, love, loss, hate – all of it. It's all a movie anyway," Stanton said during one of his interviews with Observer.

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