Tom Bower, character actor known for “Die Hard 2” and “The Waltons”, dies at 86

The Denver native was an ardent supporter of SAG-AFTRA and a co-creator of SAGindie.

Tom Bower, a character actor known for his work on such TV series as The Waltons and in films including Die Hard 2, died May 30 at 86.

His manager, Marsha McManus, confirmed the news to Entertainment Weekly. A cause of death was not disclosed.

A busy performer with hundreds of credits, Bower rose to fame with his recurring role on The Waltons as Dr. Curtis Willard, becoming a series regular on the show's fifth season in 1975. His character replaced Victor Izay's Dr. Vance on Walton Mountain, and then hired Mary Ellen Walton (Judy Norton) to be his nurse. Eventually, Dr. Willard and Mary Ellen married and had a son. Bower was written off the show in 1978, which he linked to his request for a salary bump.

The actor also made a memorable impression in the 1990 action flick Die Hard 2 as janitor Marvin, who lives beneath Dulles International Airport and helps John McClane (Bruce Willis) foil a group of terrorists.

<p>Charley Gallay/Getty</p> Tom Bower

Charley Gallay/Getty

Tom Bower

More recently, Bower worked with director Scott Cooper on Crazy Heart and Out of the Furnace. In the former film, he played the agent to Jeff Bridges' country star, Bad Blake. He also had a stint as the father of Bob Odenkirk's title character on the AMC series Lucky Hank.

Ralph Thomas Bower was born Jan. 3, 1938, in Denver. An avid baseball player and participant in high school theatrics, he opted to pursue acting and moved to New York to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Related: Celebrity deaths 2024: Remembering the stars we've lost this year

Bower worked a series of odd jobs before relocating to Los Angeles to seek a career on screen. Before his breakout on The Waltons, he guest-starred on The Rockford Files and The Bionic Woman.

Some of his notable film credits included Shadows, The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, Beverly Hills Cop II, Nixon, Pollock, Appaloosa, and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.

Bower worked steadily into his later days, consistently booking roles on such shows as Monk, Hill Street Blues, Murder She Wrote, Miami Vice, China Beach, The X-Files, Roswell, The West Wing, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Criminal Minds, and Bosch.

Want more movie news? Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free newsletter to get the latest trailers, celebrity interviews, film reviews, and more.

He was also an ardent supporter of SAG-AFTRA and the efforts of the actors' union to protect its own. He served on the SAG National Board from 1995 to 2002, and on the Hollywood Board and dozens of committees, including the SAG TV Residual Study, Global Rule One, Communications, National Agents Relations, and National New Technologies committees. He co-created SAGindie, a union resource dedicated to helping independent filmmakers employ union actors.

Bower was preceded in death by his wife of 51 years, Ursula, who died last August. He is survived by his children, Viv and Rob; his grandchildren, Nicole, Jonathan, Lucille and Henry; his brother, Bobby, and his sister, Shirley.

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.