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Harry Dean Stanton Bio

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Harry Dean Stanton was born on July 14, 1926, in West Irvine, Ky. He grew up in Central Kentucky and later attended Lafayette High School in Lexington. During World War II, Stanton served in the United States Navy and fought at the Battle of Okinawa. After the war, he attended the University of Kentucky on the G.I. Bill. By his account, while at UK he changed majors frequently, studying journalism, radio broadcasting, and music, and also acted in several productions at UK's Guignol Theater.

Traveling west to California, Stanton pursued his interests in acting at the Pasadena Playhouse, a theater built by a community of artists in the 1920s. The playhouse was home to a school of theatre arts that helped train such talents as Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, and Raymond Burr. Honing his craft on stage, Stanton eventually found work in television throughout the 1950s, playing numerous roles that called for gruff, sinister, intense-looking men. This led to supporting roles in Hollywood films, when directors began to notice the appeal of his signature look and style for certain characters, as well as the reality he brought to each part.

Stanton has been a feature player in many notable films, including "Cool Hand Luke," "Kelly’s Heroes," "Cisco Pike," "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid," "The Godfather II," "Alien," "Repo Man," "Red Dawn," "Wild at Heart," and "The Green Mile." He has worked with legendary directors Sam Peckinpah, John Milius, David Lynch, Monte Hellman, and Wim Wenders, who directed Stanton in his first leading role, in "Paris, Texas."

An avid musician, Stanton also enjoys performing and recording his signature brand of country-Western tunes. He has appeared in music videos for Dwight Yoakam, Ry Cooder, and Bob Dylan and performs regularly with The Harry Dean Stanton Band.

Stanton currently lives on Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles, near the home of his friend Jack Nicholson.