Tom Laughlin, Star of ‘Billy Jack,’ Dead at 82

Discussion in 'The GatorTail Pub' started by GatorGrowl, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. GatorGrowl
    Offline

    GatorGrowl Forum Admin Staff Member GC Staff VIP Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2012
    Messages:
    316,010
    Likes Received:
    938
    Trophy Points:
    464
    Location:
    Jacksonville
    Ratings Received:
    +1,870
    Filmmaker Tom Laughlin, who shot to fame as the rugged half-breed action hero “Billy Jack,” died Thursday in Thousand Oaks, Calif., surrounded by his family. He was 82 years old.

    While involved at one point with just about every facet of the film business, Laughlin may be best known for his series of “Billy Jack” films. He has been married to Delores Taylor since 1954, and she co-produced and acted in all four of the “Billy Jack” movies.

    In addition to acting, he was a producer, director and screenwriter, and drew attention for a groundbreaking promotion and release campaign on 1974′s “The Trial of Billy Jack” that included TV trailers during national news and an “opening day” nationwide release that helped shape the future of film distribution.

    In 1967, Laughlin wrote, directed (as T. C. Frank) and starred in the motorcycle-gang exploitation movie “The Born Losers,” the first film in which the character of Billy Jack appeared.

    In 1971, he followed that up with a sequel, “Billy Jack,” which he made independently and with his own money. The numerous political references — and frontal nudity — caused several studios to shy away, but Warner Bros. finally agreed to distribute it. Laughlin, upset with the studio’s marketing of the film, sued to get it back, won and re-released it himself.

    That re-release brought attention, box-office success and controversy. In it, Laughlin played the title character, a vigilante former Vietnam War hero who defends the hippie-themed Freedom School and its counterculture and Native American students.

    “‘Billy Jack’ seems to be saying that a gun is better than a constitution in the enforcement of justice. Is democracy totally obsolete, then? Is our only hope that the good fascists defeat the bad fascists?’” said Roger Ebert in his review. ”Billy Jack” was also one of the first films to introduce martial arts to mainstream movie audiences in the U.S....

    http://movies.yahoo.com/news/tom-laughlin-star-billy-jack-dead-82-212410321.html

    • Like Like x 3
  2. G8RB8R
    Offline

    G8RB8R Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    Messages:
    546
    Likes Received:
    49
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Ratings Received:
    +132
    I remember going to see his movies at the drive-in when they first came out. He was the counter-culture hero. I have to wonder, tho, would I have liked this guy back then if I had known he was as old as my mom??? OMG! LOL
    • Funny Funny x 1
  3. phatGator
    Offline

    phatGator Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2007
    Messages:
    2,532
    Likes Received:
    174
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    Ratings Received:
    +242
    I saw this on a date in high school. We saw Skyjack at a theater on the west side of Orlando and then raced across town to Colonial Plaza to see Billy Jack.
    • Like Like x 3
  4. G8RB8R
    Offline

    G8RB8R Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    Messages:
    546
    Likes Received:
    49
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Ratings Received:
    +132
    Cool! I saw it at the South Trail Drive-In.
  5. GatorGrowl
    Offline

    GatorGrowl Forum Admin Staff Member GC Staff VIP Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2012
    Messages:
    316,010
    Likes Received:
    938
    Trophy Points:
    464
    Location:
    Jacksonville
    Ratings Received:
    +1,870
    My wife and I first date was to a movie and she picked Billy Jack. She had no idea of certain scenes and was very "embarrassed" during them.

    We did not go to the subsequent Billy Jack movies.

    When the Billy Jack became available on Netflix or Prime as a free stream (with my paid membership) I tried to watch it again and just couldn't.... I remember talking my dad into going to the movie and he hated it, I now see what he meant.
  6. G8RB8R
    Offline

    G8RB8R Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    Messages:
    546
    Likes Received:
    49
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Ratings Received:
    +132
    Every now and again, Born Losers, pops up on cable somewhere. If this was the movie you and your wife saw, I can understand why it bothered her.
  7. g8orbill
    Online

    g8orbill Gators VIP Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    68,047
    Likes Received:
    3,964
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Clermont, Fl
    Ratings Received:
    +7,819
    had to be the Parkwood Cinema
  8. GatorGrowl
    Offline

    GatorGrowl Forum Admin Staff Member GC Staff VIP Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2012
    Messages:
    316,010
    Likes Received:
    938
    Trophy Points:
    464
    Location:
    Jacksonville
    Ratings Received:
    +1,870
    No, it was the rape scene in Billy Jack. Keep in mind this scene would be mild today, but at the time my wife was 16, first date with anyone and so that was pretty graphic stuff for the day.
  9. brainstorm
    Offline

    brainstorm Moderator VIP Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    Messages:
    16,342
    Likes Received:
    258
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Green Cove Springs
    Ratings Received:
    +783
    RIP Tin Soldier.
    • Like Like x 1

Share This Page