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'Phantasm' star Angus Scrimm dies at 89

Entertainment Weekly logo Entertainment Weekly 1/10/2016 Clark Collis
© Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Angus Scrimm, the veteran character actor best known for playing the terrifying "Tall Man" in the Phantasm horror franchise, has died at the age of 89. His other credits included the 2008 film I Sell the Dead, the TV show Alias -- on which he had a recurring role -- and the spooky audio play series Tales From Beyond the Pale.

EW was informed of Scrimm's death by his friend and longtime collaborator Don Coscarelli, who directed Scrimm in 1979's Phantasm and its three subsequent sequels, among other projects.

Scrimm was born Lawrence Rory Guy in Kansas City, Kansas, and studied theater at USC in Los Angeles. However, he found it difficult to make a living as an actor and instead spent years working at Capitol Records where he wrote the liner notes for an array of musical acts, including Frank Sinatra and the Beatles.

Scrimm first worked with Coscarelli on the 1976 film Jim, the World's Greatest but it was his menacing character in the Phantasm series which elevated the actor to the status of a genuine, and much beloved, genre icon. Scrimm recently reprised the role of the Tall Man again in a fifth film, Phantasm: Ravager, which is set for release later this year. Fans will also soon be able to see the actor in a restored version of the franchise's first film overseen by Star Wars director, and diehard Phantasm aficionado, J.J. Abrams.

"Angus Scrimm passed away peacefully tonight surrounded by his friends and loved one," Coscarelli wrote, via email. " performance as the Tall Man is a towering achievement in horror film history. He was the last in a long line of classic horror movie stars. He was a terrific actor and an even better friend. He will be missed."

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