Actor From The Waltons Passes Away

Actor Tom Bower, known for his iconic roles in “Die Hard 2” and “The Waltons,” has passed away at the age of 86. Bower died peacefully in his sleep on May 30 at his Los Angeles home, as confirmed by his brother Robert Bower to The Hollywood Reporter. The cause of death remains unknown.

Bower leaves behind his children, Viveca and Rob, and his siblings, including his sister Shirley. He was married to Ursula, a lawyer, for 51 years until her death in August.

Tom Bower’s career is marked by memorable performances, most notably his role as Marvin, the janitor, in the 1990 action film “Die Hard 2” alongside Bruce Willis. In the film, Marvin lived in the basement of Washington Dulles International Airport and played a crucial role in helping McClane foil a terrorist plot.

In addition to “Die Hard 2,” Bower is well-remembered for his portrayal of Dr. Curtis Willard on the beloved TV series “The Waltons” from 1975 to 1978. He first appeared on the show as pilot Rex Barker in a fourth-season episode titled “The Wing Walker” before becoming a series regular. His character, Dr. Willard, hired Mary Ellen Walton (played by Judy Norton) to be his nurse, and the two eventually fell in love and started a family. However, his character was written out of the show in 1978 during the Pearl Harbor attack, only to return in 1981, portrayed by Scott Hylands.

In a 2022 interview, Bower revealed that his departure from “The Waltons” was due to a contract dispute over a small raise. He humorously noted, “I asked for a very small raise, so they sent me to Pearl Harbor.” When the showrunners decided to bring his character back, he requested the same raise but was instead replaced by another actor.

Bower’s career extended beyond “Die Hard 2” and “The Waltons.” He portrayed a creepy gas station attendant in the 2006 horror film “The Hills Have Eyes” and made his final TV appearance as Henry Devereaux Sr., the on-screen father of Bob Odenkirk’s character in “Lucky Hank” in 2023. Unfortunately, the show was canceled after one season.

Tom Bower was born Ralph Thomas Bower in Denver on January 3, 1938. Initially aspiring to be a professional baseball player, he shifted his focus to acting when he realized his athletic skills were not up to par. In 1956, he moved to New York to study acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. After honing his craft at the John Cassavetes Shadows Workshop, Bower worked as a private investigator for 15 years, a period during which he also acted alongside Al Pacino in David Rabe’s play “The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel.”

Bower eventually moved to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career further, landing roles in TV shows such as “The Rockford Files” and “Kojak.” His filmography includes appearances in “Beverly Hills Cop II” (1987), “The Hills Have Eyes” (2006), “Hearts in Atlantis” (2001), “Two Ways Home” (2019), “Senior Love Triangle” (2019), and “Raymond & Ray” (2022).

Tom Bower’s enduring legacy in the entertainment industry is marked by his versatile performances and dedication to his craft. His contributions to film and television will be remembered by fans and colleagues alike.