Towering American character actor Charles Napier has the distinction of being one of the few actors to transcend a career start in "nudies" and sustain a successful mainstream career. Napier, clothed and otherwise, was first seen in such Russ Meyer gropey-feeley epics as Cherry, Harry and Raquel (1969) and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970). Graduating from this exuberant tawdriness, Napier became a dependable film and TV villain, playing nasty characters in films like Handle With Care (1977) and Rambo (1984). Napier would continue to become an ever more familiar face throughout the 80's and 90's, with roles in movies like The Blues Brothers (1980), Married to the Mob (1990), Ernest Goes to Jail (1991) and the-Oscar winning Silence of the Lambs (1991), Philadelphia (1994), The Cable Guy (1996), and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) - just to name a few. He would also remain active in the realm of TV, appearing on shows like Walker, Texas Ranger and Roswell. The new millennium would find Napier playing roles on shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, as well as lending his voice to animated shows like The Simpsons, Squidbillies, and Archer. Napier passed away in October of 2011 at the age of 75.
photo credit: Mark Mainz/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
by Hal Erickson biography