'Poltergeist' star James Karen passed away at age 94
Actor James Karen, famous for his roles in several horror films, passed away at the age of 94, leaving behind a legacy worthy of respect.
Karen, whose real name was Jacob Karnosvsky, drew his last breath on Tuesday, October 23, 2018, at his home in Los Angeles.
As reported by Variety, the sad news was shared by Leonard Maltin, a good friend of the actor, who knew him for quite a few years.
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RIP James Karen. Former podcast guest and good friend. Continued working into his 90's. Just chatted with him on the phone a few days ago. He was the same Jimmy. Friendly and charming. pic.twitter.com/wLK0pgzZtm— Gilbert Gottfried (@RealGilbert) October 24, 2018
A DIFFERENT IDENTITY
Born in 1923, Karen decided to change his name because he wanted to pursue a career in the entertainment business in New York, around the 1940s.
Under his new name, Karen was able to snag roles on both films and television series for more than 70 years, something that not everyone can brag about.
Jimmy Karen was my friend, and it was a privilege to hear his stories. His joie de vivre was contagious. I hope this obituary does him justice, though I hoped I would never have to write it. I still can't believe he's gone. https://t.co/iT80qDRley #JamesKaren #MaltinOnMovies pic.twitter.com/lbvDByK5am— Leonard Maltin (@leonardmaltin) October 24, 2018
THE FACE OF HORROR
His most famous part was in the cult classic "Poltergeist," in which he played the role of Mr. Teague, the real estate developer who built a housing community on top of burial grounds.
The late actor was also a part of the famous film "Return of the Living Dead," directed by Dan O'Bannon, in 1985, where he played a medical warehouse manager who releases a gas that causes the dead to rise from their graves.
Only got to meet the wonderful James Karen once: it was at Hollywood Book & Poster, the legendary movie memorabilia store he frequented. He was looking for “that photo of Steven directing me in POLTERGEIST.” See below. Loved him even more in RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. RIP, sir. pic.twitter.com/QLkMTZCB5T— Charles de Lauzirika (@Lauzirika) October 24, 2018
OVER 70 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE
Aside from those two movies, Karen worked in over 200 projects, including "The China Syndrome," "All the President's Men," The Pursuit of Happyness" and "Wall Street."
Fans of "Little House on the Prairie" might also remember Karen, who brought Nathan Lassiter, the evil businessman, to live on the show.
Not only was James Karen a great actor who gave me hope to be as good as him, he was always happy and positive. I was just talking about him the other day and feel very heavyhearted. I love you James. RIP. pic.twitter.com/fwTR2z9pVs— Linnea Quigley (@LinneaQuigley) October 24, 2018
But Karen wasn't the only Hollywood star who recently passed away; Derrick O'Connor, who starred alongside Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in "Lethal Weapon 2," died at the age of 77.
O'Connor played the role of villain Pieter Vorstedt in the flick, but he also had the chance to work alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in "End of Days".