John Saxon didn't wasn't really a physically imposing figure, but his steely gaze, his hard confidence, and his command of tough guy roles made him a perfect cinematic heavy. Many horror fans will of course remember him for A Nightmare on Elm Street, and rightly so. It's a milestone of the genre.

Great film, good film, or weak one, Saxon always gave a first rate performance. He was the real deal, too, possessing legitimate skills in martial arts. John Saxon started out as a Hollywood pretty boy in movies like Rock Pretty Baby, Summer Love, and The Reluctant Debutante. In time he became known as a hard-edged character, often portraying law enforcement officers. Eventually he was embraced by horror filmmakers and fans as one of our own.

Saxon made numerous TV appearances, showing up in beloved shows like The Sixth Sense, The Intruders, Night Gallery, Kung Fu, and The Six Million Dollar Man, but he will be remembered forever as a drive-in icon. His list of credits is staggering: A Nightmare on Elm Street (and two sequels), Black Christmas, Blood Beach, Tenebre (Dario Argento), Fast Company (David Cronenberg), Cannibals in the Streets (Apocalypse Domani), Battle Beyond the Stars, Moonshine County Express, Enter the Dragon, Joe Kidd, Hands of Steel (Sergio Martino), The Big Score (Fred Williamson), The Scorpion with Two Tails, Beyond Evil, The Bees, From Dust Till Dawn, Mitchell, Blood Beast from Outer Space, The Evil Eye (Mario Bava), Queen of Blood, Violent Naples (Umberto Lenzi), Death House (which he also directed), Hellmaster...I could go on and on.

The simple, sad truth is, actors like John Saxon are a thing of the past. Genuinely tough, convincing, intelligent. A journeyman character actor, a solid professional, a face we all knew and loved. Goodbye, John Saxon.

Written by Mark Sieber

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