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Will Sampson Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trivia (9)  | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (3)

Born in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, USA
Died in Houston, Texas, USA  (complications from heart and lung transplant surgery)
Height 6' 4¾" (1.95 m)

Mini Bio (1)

A Native American actor of the Creek Nation, Sampson's "big break" came from his memorable role in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) opposite Jack Nicholson. He was also starred opposite Clint Eastwood in the western The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976). He had supporting roles in Orca (1977), The White Buffalo (1977) and Fish Hawk (1979). In 1986, he co-starred in Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986) as a Native American shaman. He died of complications from kidney failure and malnutrition during heart and lung replacement surgery in 1987 and was buried on the reservation where he grew up.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Blythe379@cs.com

Trivia (9)

Father of Tim Sampson.
Was a member of the Creek Nation.
Founder of the American Indian Registry for the Performing Arts.
In an episode of The Yellow Rose (1983), he portrayed a character who was 6'7" even though he stood a little bit over 6'4".
He is said to be the third victim of the legendary "Poltergeist Curse". Sampson starred in Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986), and during filming he allegedly claimed that the production was haunted. He supposedly used Native American rituals to bless sets and locations to stave off the curse. Regardless, the legend holds that he became another victim of the curse, dying of complications during heart and lung surgery a year after the film's release. Other supposed victims of the curse include Dominique Dunne, who was murdered shortly after the release of Poltergeist (1982), Julian Beck who died of stomach cancer during filming of Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986) and Heather O'Rourke, who died of complications from Crohn's Disease before Poltergeist III (1988) was released.
He is buried within the Muscogee (Creek) Nation boundaries. Craig T. Nelson, his co-star in Poltergeist (1982), happened to be passing through the area and wanted to pay his respects. He drove around for four or five hours trying to find the cemetery when he finally stopped at a corner store and asked where Sampson was buried. As it turned out, the man standing next to Nelson in the store was Sampson's cousin, and told Nelson he'd show him the spot. It was cicada season, and Nelson remembers the buzzing was overwhelming. He approached Sampson's grave and said something to the effect of "Hey Will, it's Craig". Within three or four seconds, Nelson recalls, the sound of the cicadas tapered off and stopped entirely.
In 1977 he appeared in two movies that set man against beast, both very reminiscent of Jaws (1975): Orca (1977) and The White Buffalo (1977).
Suffered from scleroderma, a chronic degenerative condition that affected his heart, lungs and skin. During his lengthy illness, his weight fell from 260 lb. (120 kg) to 140 lb. (64 kg), causing complications related to malnutrition.
Wore two- to three-inch heels on his boots to appear taller in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975).

Personal Quotes (1)

[on the film industry's portrayal of Indians] Hollywood writers and directors are still using 'em for livestock. They somehow just can't seem to bring it around to give the truth about Indians.

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