February 6, 2005

THE FOOT COMES DOWN:

John Vernon, 72, Actor Known as the Dean in 'Animal House,' Dies (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, 2/06/05)

John Vernon, a stage-trained character actor who played cunning villains in film and television and made his comedy mark in "National Lampoon's Animal House," died on Tuesday at his home here. He was 72.

His death followed complications of heart surgery in January, said his daughter Kate, an actress.

Movie fans know Mr. Vernon best for his performance in "Animal House" as Dean Wormer, who is bent on expelling the hard-partying Delta fraternity. The movie, starring John Belushi and Tim Matheson, is one of the most popular screen comedies.

Mr. Vernon was born in 1932 in Saskatchewan. He studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and did repertory work in England. He returned to Canada and had the starring role in the 1960's TV drama "Wojeck," playing a coroner.

After appearing on Broadway in "Royal Hunt of the Sun," he made his United States film debut in the director John Boorman's "Point Blank" (1967), as a turncoat tossed to his death by Lee Marvin. He went on to work with other celebrated filmmakers, including Alfred Hitchcock ("Topaz," 1969); Don Siegel ("Dirty Harry," 1971), and Clint Eastwood ("The Outlaw Josey Wales," 1976).

His deep, menacing voice was made for the bad guys he played.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 6, 2005 9:29 AM
Comments

His best role was that of Fletcher in 'Outlaw Josey Wales.' He played him as a 3-dimensional character, troubled by the horrible mistake he made but who knew that he had to do something very wrong i.e. find and kill Wales in order to survive.

The final scene where Eastwood and Vernon meet in the bar is a true classic of the silver screen.

Posted by: Bart at February 6, 2005 11:54 AM

"Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son."

Posted by: Gideon at February 6, 2005 1:49 PM

"You didn't throw up in front of Dean Wormer, you threw up on Dean Wormer."

Posted by: Dave W. at February 6, 2005 9:41 PM
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