M. Emmet Walsh, character actor best known for Blade Runner, Blood Simple, has died at 88

M. Emmet Walsh, the character actor best known for Blade Runner, Blood Simple, and much more, has died at the age of 88.

M. Emmet Walsh, died

Very sad news today as it’s been reported that M. Emmet Walsh has died at the age of 88. No matter the size of the role, the prolific character actor always made a unique impression throughout his long career, which spanned six decades.

M. Emmet Walsh is best known for playing Bryant in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, the captain of the Los Angeles Police Department who tasks Deckard with tracking down the replicants at the beginning of the film. He told THR that the cast and crew weren’t quite sure what the make of the movie when they first saw it. “I don’t know if I really understood what in the hell it was all about,” Walsh said. “We all sat there and it ended. And nothing. We didn’t know what to say or to think or do! We didn’t know what in the hell we had done! The only one who seemed to get it was Ridley.

He also played Loren Visser in Blood Simple, the first film directed by the Coen brothers. The unscrupulous private detective is one of Walsh’s best-known roles. “Every time, you [have to] try to figure something individual that works for the character,” Walsh told The Guardian in 2017. “If you’re playing a villain, you don’t play villain… Visser doesn’t think of himself as particularly bad or evil. He’s on the edge of what’s legal, but he’s having a lot of fun with all that. He’s a simple fella trying to make an extra buck and going a little further than he’d normally go in his business enterprises.

Walsh made appearances in movies such as Midnight Cowboy, Little Big Man, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, What’s Up, Doc?, Serpico, The Gambler, Slap Shot, Airport ’77, The Jerk, Brubaker, Raise the Titanic, Ordinary People, Red, Missing in Action, Fletch, Critters, Back to School, Harry and the Hendersons, Raising Arizona, Red Scorpion, Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home, Romeo + Juliet, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Wild Wild West, The Iron Giant, Christmas with the Kranks, and Knives Out.

He was equally as prolific on the small screen, with roles in TV shows such as All in the Family, Bonanza, McMillan & Wife, The Rockford Files, Baretta, Starsky & Hutch, Little House on the Prairie, AfterMASH, The Twilight Zone, Tales from the Crypt, Home Improvement, The Outer Limits, The X-Files, NYPD Blue, Frasier, Damages, Empire, Sneaky Pete, The Righteous Gemstones, and more.

You will be missed, Mr. Walsh. Our thoughts go out to your family and friends. Might have to fire up Blade Runner tonight.

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Based in Canada, Kevin Fraser has been a news editor with JoBlo since 2015. When not writing for the site, you can find him indulging in his passion for baking and adding to his increasingly large collection of movies that he can never find the time to watch.