When Laurence Tierney died on the 22nd of February of Last year, the movies and Hollywood lost one of their legendary tough guys, on screen and off. Recent fame came to Larry for his appearance in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs (as Joe Cabot), but his wild up and down career had encompassed everything from Fred Olen Ray cheapies to Cecil B. DeMille epics and more than a few Westerns. Larry always laughed at his time in the saddle, saying her never lost his “Dem doity boids” New York accent, yet he was a great psychotic Jesse James in both Badman’s Territory (1946) and Best of the Badmen (1951). He had little good to say about his role in Rod Amateau’s The Bushwackers (1952): “I played a miserable bastard who was always hiding behind trees and didn’t enjoy it at all.” But he did enjoy his polished turn as General Sheridan in the 1967 Spanish production Custer of the West, written by his old friend Phillip Yordan.
Unpredictable, violent, loyal, friendly, with a sharp sense of humor and fabulous impatience, Larry brought all of these traits to his roles. And if the cinema eye remembers him best on a wet city street, firing up a smoke under a lamp post, we’ll remember his time on the dusty trails.