Tom Bower Dead at 86 Years Old

( – The first half of 2024 has seen some noticeable deaths in the celebrity sphere. M. Emmett Walsh, Richard Lewis, and Joyce Randolph are just a few. Now, another actor who became popular for his roles in “The Waltons” and “Die Hard 2” has also passed away.

On May 30, Tom Bower passed away in his sleep at his Los Angeles home at the age of 86. Marsha McManus, his manager, confirmed his death to Entertainment Weekly but did not provide a cause of death.

Born in 1938, Bower originally had plans to be a professional baseball player, but when he realized he didn’t have the talent, he decided to enroll in acting school, a move he said was evident in his last year of high school when he chose to be in a play over playing “America’s favorite pastime.” He first attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and then the John Cassavetes Shadows Workshop.

Bower wasn’t just an actor, he was also one of the founders of the Boston Repertory Theater. There, he gave lessons to Al Pacino, who went on to be a famous star in films such as “The Godfather” series and “Scarface.” Bower also spent years working as a private investigator (PI) in between acting jobs. It was while he was working as a PI, that he was cast opposite Pacino in the drama “The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel.” That got him back on the track to acting full-time.

In 1975, Bower landed one of his most popular roles first as pilot Rex Barker, then as Dr. Curtis Willard, in “The Waltons.” He appeared in many episodes of the show until he says he “asked for a very small raise,” after which the production sent him to Pearl Harbor where he was killed off. The character later appeared again, washed up on shore, but Bower did not reprise the role because the production company would not pay him his asking price. Scott Hylands replaced him.

Bower is survived by two children, four grandchildren, and his brother and sister. His wife of 51 years passed away last August.

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