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M. Emmet Walsh, ‘Knives Out,’ ‘Blade Runner’ actor, dies at 88

Jerod Harris/Getty Images North America/TNS

M. Emmet Walsh, a prolific film actor whose career spanned seven decades and who appeared in hit movies including “Knives Out,” “Blade Runner” and “Raising Arizona,” died Tuesday at age 88, Variety reported.

Walsh’s manager Sandy Joseph confirmed that he died at Kerbs Memorial Hospital in St. Albans, Vermont, the same state where the actor was raised after being born in Ogdensburg, New York, in 1935.

He would make his screen debut in the 1969 film “Alice’s Restaurant” and ultimately appeared in over 220 film and television roles in addition to theater roles.

His Broadway debut also came in 1969, when he starred alongside Al Pacino in “Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?”

Highlights of his film career included playing Harrison Ford’s boss in “Blade Runner,” Ridley Scott’s 1982 science-fiction cult classic, and his supporting role in “Blood Simple,” the Coen brothers’ 1984 crime film.

Walsh’s performance in the latter garnered praise from film critic Pauline Kael, who claimed he was the film’s “only colorful performer. He lays on the loathsomeness, but he gives it a little twirl — a sportiness.”

He also portrayed Dermot Mulroney’s father in the 1997 rom-com “My Best Friend’s Wedding” and appeared in notable films from the '70s including “Little Big Man,” “What’s Up, Doc?,” “Slap Shot” and “The Jerk.”

With other credits that include popular movies like “Twilight,” “Back to School,” “Raising Arizona” and “Fletch,” critic Roger Ebert was inspired to coin what he called the “Stanton-Walsh Rule.”

Ebert maintained that any film which included either Walsh or Harry Dean Stanton could not be altogether bad, although he admitted the rule was not perfect.

On television, Walsh racked up numerous guest-star roles in series such as “The Bob Newhart Show,” “Frasier,” “NYPD Blue” and “The X-Files” and was a series regular on “Sneaky Pete” and “The Mind of the Married Man.”

Walsh was honored with the Carney Life Achievement Award in 2018 at the Carney Awards, also known as the Character Actors Hall of Fame.

He is survived by his nephew Kevin Walsh (Renee), niece Meagan Walsh and grandnephews Elliot and Emmet.

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