I was but a lad of twelve when my folks took me to BLUE THUNDER. I remember my dad gasping a bit at the film's dedication to the memory of Warren Oates. By that tender age I'd gained a very basic familiarity with death. And I remembered Oates from STRIPES and a couple of others (possibly THE BORDER, certainly 1941).
What happened at that moment was something I felt more than understood, but for the first time in my life I took a moment of respectful silence to acknowledge, with sadness and gratitude, the passing of someone I felt (again, more than knew) was great.
I've seen enough of his work to know that he was, in fact, one of the greatest. And I'm delighted that so many of his films await me (and I look forward to the Monte Hellman series the Roxie's hosting later this month).
And since it's still July 5th in San Francisco for a couple more hours, I believe I will have a drink.
Happy Birthday, Warren.
(image courtesy the fantastically titled Tumblr Fuck Yeah, Warren Oates. And many thanks to Arbogast for the heads up on the date.)