The Tragic Death Of American Graffiti Star Bo Hopkins

Bo Hopkins was an iconic actor with a long list of credits of Hollywood classics that his fans have undoubtedly enjoyed over and over again throughout the years. The actor's laundry list of appearances include 1969's "The Wild Bunch," as well as appearances on "The Andy Griffith Show," "Bonanza," and "Hawaii Five-O." He ultimately, however, landed his top role as gang leader Joe 'Little Joe' Young in the 1973 coming-of-age comedy and drama "American Graffiti." 

According to Hopkins, the movie, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, inspired car lovers to grab their keys and hit the open road again. "Graffiti got people out draggin' and going up, and down streets cruisin'", Hopkins told Shock Cinema magazine (via the New York Post). "It got people into cars doing that kind of stuff again," he further added. "If I told you how many times people have come up to ... me at these shows and told us that we've changed their lives, you wouldn't believe it."

But nearly 50 years after his breakout performance in "American Graffiti," it was reported that Hopkins tragically died at 80 years old.

Bo Hopkins starred in several classics during his long and successful Hollywood career

According to the Hollywood Reporter, legendary actor Bo Hopkins died on May 28 after experiencing a heart attack in early May. A statement on the actor's official website says, "Bo loved hearing from his fans from around the world and although he was unable to respond to every email over the last few years, he appreciated hearing from each and every one of you."

Hopkins was known for playing both sides of the law in prominent Western films, such as "Posse" and "The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing." According to his IMDb page, Hopkins went back to his country roots when he played a character by the name of Papaw in "Hillbilly Elegy" in 2020. 

Soon after his death was announced, Hopkins' "Hillbilly Elegy" co-star Glenn Close shared a heartwarming tribute on her Instagram page that said, "He may have once, during his early days, around the time of AMERICAN GRAFFITI, been one of the bad boys, but I got acquainted and enjoyed the company of a man with a twinkle in his eye and the heart of a knight." Rest in peace, Bo.