Joe Turkel, the prolific character actor best known for his roles as the bartender in The Shining and creator of replicants in Blade Runner, died on Monday, June 27th at the age of 94.
The actor’s death was announced by his family, who said he died peacefully at Providence St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica with his sons Craig and Robert by his side.
Born July 15th, 1927 in Brooklyn, Turkel saw action in the US Army during World War II before moving to California to pursue an acting career upon his return. His first credited film role was 1948’s City Across the River, but perhaps one of the main catalysts for his career was an appearance in the 1953 B-picture Man Crazy.
Stanley Kubrick spotted Turkel in the latter film, as the actor told the Kubrick Universe podcast (via The Hollywood Reporter), and said “the picture was terrible, but I liked you and what you did and so I said I’ll have to hire that guy sometime.” Along with Philip Stone, Turkel is one of only two actors to be credited in three Kubrick movies.
After a minor role in Kubrick’s 1956 film The Killing, Turkel was then cast in a major role in the classic 1957 anti-war movie Paths of Glory alongside Kirk Douglas. More than two decades later, Turkel reunited with Kubrick to play the ghostly bartender Lloyd in The Shining, where he made a memorable appearance opposite Jack Nicholson. Watch that scene below.
Thanks to The Shining, Turkel was cast in Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner as Dr. Eldon Tyrell, the corporate overlord of the company that creates replicants. Some of his other notable film roles include appearances in Bert I. Gordon’s 1960 movies The Boy and the Pirates and Tormented, the character of Bronson in 1966’s The Sand Pebbles opposite Steve McQueen, gangster Jake “Greasy Thumb” Gusic in 1967’s The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, and the 1990 horror flick The Dark Side of the Moon.
On the small screen, Turkel appeared in TV series like The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, The Lone Ranger, S.W.A.T, The Andy Griffith Show, The Untouchables, Dragnet, and Miami Vice.
Turkel is survived by his aforementioned sons Craig and Robert, daughters-in-law Annie Turkel and Casilde Sesti, and his brother David Turkel, as well as two grandchildren: Ben and Sarah.