R.I.P.: Phantasm cast member Bill Cone has passed away

Bill Cone, who played Tommy in writer/director Don Coscarelli’s 1979 horror classic Phantasm, has passed away

Phantasm Bill Cone

Bill Cone only had one acting credit to his name, and that single screen appearance didn’t last very long, but it’s worth taking note of because it happens at the beginning of one of the best horror movies ever made, writer/director Don Coscarelli’s 1979 classic Phantasm (watch it HERE). Cone plays a character named Tommy in that film, and it’s his death that gets the story rolling. Sadly, today we have to report that Bill Cone has passed away.

The news of Cone’s death was first shared on the official Phantasm Facebook page, where it was also revealed that he had contributed to the soundtracks of both Phantasm and Coscarelli’s earlier film Kenny & Company. Here’s the text from their post: “We are saddened to learn of the passing of one of the core Phantasm cast members, Bill Cone (aka Tommy from the original Phantasm). In addition to acting, Bill was a superlative musician. He was a key collaborator on the original Phantasm soundtrack, providing skilled guitar work. Previous to that, Bill had contributed his musical skills to Phantasm director Don Coscarelli’s film Kenny & Company. Bill and Phantasm star Reggie Bannister were good friends and bandmates and Bill once confided to Reggie that he loved horror films and would love to die onscreen in one. Reggie mentioned this fact to Coscarelli and Phantasm producer Paul Pepperman and within weeks Bill was on his back in a graveyard being knifed by the luscious Lady in Lavender (Kat Lester) in the memorable opening sequence of the film. Bill Cone will be dearly missed by Phantasm cast, crew and fans everywhere.

Phantasm has the following synopsis: The residents of a small town have begun dying under strange circumstances, leading young Mike to investigate. After discovering that the Tall Man, the town’s mortician, is killing and reanimating the dead as misshapen zombies, Mike seeks help from his older brother, Jody, and local ice cream man Reggie. Working together, they try to lure out and kill the Tall Man, all the while avoiding his minions and a deadly silver sphere.

Cone’s co-stars included Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, Reggie Bannister, Kathy Lester, Mary Ellen Shaw, Terrie Kalbus, and Lynn Eastman, with Angus Scrimm as the Tall Man.

Phantasm spawned four sequels, and Coscarelli has told new stories set in that world in his recently published book Phiction. It was all kicked off by that scene where we saw Bill Cone with the Lady in Lavender in the graveyard.

Our sincere condolences go out to Bill Cone’s family, friends, and fans.

Source: Facebook

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of JoBlo.com, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.