Star Actor PASSES AWAY at 86

The first half of 2024 has witnessed the passing of several notable celebrities. M. Emmett Walsh, Richard Lewis, and Joyce Randolph have all left us, and now we mourn the loss of another beloved actor. Tom Bower, known for his roles in “The Waltons” and “Die Hard 2,” passed away on May 30 at the age of 86.

Tom Bower’s manager, Marsha McManus, confirmed his death to Entertainment Weekly, though no cause of death was provided. Bower passed away peacefully in his sleep at his Los Angeles home.

Born in 1938, Bower initially aspired to be a professional baseball player. However, when he realized that his talents lay elsewhere, he chose to pursue acting, a decision that became evident in his final year of high school when he opted to participate in a play over playing “America’s favorite pastime.”

Bower attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and later the John Cassavetes Shadows Workshop. His journey in the world of acting wasn’t just about performing; he was also a pioneer, being one of the founders of the Boston Repertory Theater. Notably, he imparted his acting knowledge to none other than Al Pacino, who would go on to achieve legendary status in films such as “The Godfather” series and “Scarface.”

But Bower’s life was full of unexpected twists. In between acting jobs, he worked as a private investigator (PI). It was during his time as a PI that he landed a role opposite Pacino in the drama “The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel,” which reignited his passion for acting and set him on the path to full-time performance.

In 1975, Bower secured one of his most iconic roles, first as pilot Rex Barker, then as Dr. Curtis Willard in “The Waltons.” He appeared in numerous episodes until a dispute over a “very small raise” led to his character being shipped off to Pearl Harbor and subsequently killed off. When the character later resurfaced, washed up on shore, Bower did not reprise the role due to the production company’s refusal to meet his pay demands. Scott Hylands eventually took over the role.

Tom Bower’s life story is a testament to resilience and passion. From nearly becoming a professional baseball player to founding a theater and teaching Al Pacino, to working as a PI, Bower’s career was anything but ordinary. His contributions to the arts and his unique journey will be remembered by many.

Bower is survived by his two children, four grandchildren, and his brother and sister. His wife of 51 years passed away last August, leaving behind a legacy of love and dedication that marked their long life together.

As we reflect on Tom Bower’s remarkable life and career, we are reminded of the profound impact one individual can have in multiple fields. His legacy in the acting world and beyond will continue to inspire future generations.