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.