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Sep 18

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September 18, 1946: Billy Drago Born

Billy DragoOn this day in 1946, William Eugene Burrows was born in Hugoton, Kansas. Under his stage name, he has been the most recognizable portrayer of villains in movies and television today.

If an actor was ever born to play bad guys, it was Drago. He is quoted as saying, “I’m never going to be the boy next door. That’s not who I want to be. So I try to put a little of the dark side into my good guys and a bit of gentleness into my heavies.”

After finishing college at the University of Kansas, he took up acting full-time. To avoid being confused with another actor, he took his grandmother’s maiden name to create one of the most memorable stage names.

Drago has played numerous villains throughout his career. Here are a few performances worth seeing.

  • The Untouchables (1987): Numerous actors from Sylvester Stallone to Anthony LaPaglia to Stanley Tucci have played Al Capone’s enforcer, Frank Nitti. None have been more chilling or menacing than Drago.
  • Delta Force 2 (1990): The script ain’t so hot, but it’s fun as can be watching Drago play a Latin American drug lord.
  • Charmed (1999): Drago signed on for one episode as Barbas, but was so popular that he became one of the few recurring villains on the show.
  • You Rock My World (2001): Michael Jackson’s last great video was a homage to tough guy movies that featured Marlon Brando, Michael Madsen and Chris Tucker. However, it was Drago that gave it street cred.

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