Sep 12

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September 12, 1992: Anthony Perkins Dies

Anthony Perkins - PsychoOn this day in 1992, Anthony Perkins died from complications from AIDS. The actor who can be credited with launching the modern horror movie villain was 60 years old.

Perkins, who made his film debut at the age of 21, is, of course, best remembered for his role as Norman Bates in “Psycho.” However, he enjoyed a prolific career that saw him appear in more than 55 films, including the classics, “On the Beach,” “Is Paris Burning?,” “Catch-22” and “Murder on the Orient Express.” Here are few of his movies that left an impact on me.

  • The Tin Star (1957):  Perkins plays a green sheriff who bounty hunter Henry Fonda takes under his wing. Every aspect of the movie, from Perkins’ insecurity to his arrival as a lawman, rings true.
  • Psycho (1960): Few things are scarier than the boy-next-door wearing a dress and holding a butcher knife. What more needs to be said?
  • The Last of Sheila (1973): Perkins didn’t act in this movie about a group of despicable people on a deadly scavenger hunt. He just co-wrote it with Stephen Sondheim. For me, it remains one of the essential films of the 1970s.
  • Les Miserables (1978): The character of Javert has been portrayed by a plethora of actors from Charles Laughton to Russell Crowe, but Perkins brought an unwavering rigidity that the role that has not seen before or since.
  • Psycho II (1983): No sequel has overcome greater odds. Twenty-three years after the original and three years after the death of Alfred Hitchcock, writer Tom Holland and director Richard Franklin made a thriller that kept you on the edge of your seat to the bitter end. Honestly, I don’t think Hitchcock could’ve done better.

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  1. Dot

    Basically, I agree with you that he was a very talented (and tormented) person. Of course the characters in The Last Sheila were indeed so despicable I couldn’t finish it; I haven’t seen that version of Les Miserables (but I will now); and I thought Psycho II was a cheesy excuse for a blood bath and the only attraction there was Anthony Perkins. Other than that, I agree with your analysis. Love, Grandma

  2. Sahasranaman M S

    I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned Orson Welles’ The Trial. I feel that is Perkins’ best movie.

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