“Now, which is it gonna be:
drive your car in the lake
or get a dislocated elbow?”
Billy Jack (1971)
Tom Laughlin, star and director of the BILLY JACK films, passed away at the age of 82, Thursday in Thousand Oaks, it was announced by his family.
The first two films in the BILLY JACK franchises are a punch of cool. They didn’t change the game, but they doubled down on tough and consistently worked hard to deliver a message of equality, sometimes achieving that goal, though often missing the mark in a hard and flagrant manor (and if you are going to miss the mark, do it that way). Ol’Tom may not have altered the landscape of cinema, but he did make an impact on how independent films, and maybe even pictures in general, were advertised.
When Laughlin wasn’t in front of or behind the camera, he worked on domestic abuse counseling, opened a Montessori preschool, developed theories on the causes of cancer, and even ran for President a few times. Laughlin had a crazy journey that is now over, he left a body of work that gets frequent screen time here at DG HQ and whether or not you agreed with the cat, his heart was always in the right place. Rest well, Tom.
LOCKED AND LOADED,
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