M. Emmet Walsh, ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘Knives Out’ actor, dead at 88

M. Emmet Walsh, the character actor known for his roles in films such as “Blade Runner” and “Knives Out,” has died. He was 88.

Walsh’s longtime manager, Sandy Joseph, confirmed to The Post that Walsh died Tuesday of cardiac arrest at Northwestern Medical Center in St. Albans, Vermont.

When asked about his career, Walsh said, per Joseph’s release, “I approach each job thinking it might be my last so it better be the best work possible. I want to be remembered as a working actor. I’m being paid for what I’d do for nothing.”

M. Emmet Walsh on the set of “Blood Simple,” written by Joel and Ethan Coen and directed by Joel. Corbis via Getty Images

“Walsh’s tremendous body of work includes 119 feature films and more than 250 television productions,” the release added.

Walsh’s career spanned six decades, working in theater, TV and film. His first movie, “Alice’s Restaurant,” came out in 1969.

He went on to star alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest stars throughout the ’70s and ’80s, including Ryan O’Neal and Barbra Streisand (1972’s “What’s Up, Doc?”), Paul Newman (1977’s “Slap Shot”), Dustin Hoffman (1970’s “Little Big Man” and 1978’s “Straight Time”), Steve Martin (1979’s “The Jerk”), Harrison Ford (1982’s “Blade Runner”) and Frances McDormand (1984’s “Blood Simple”).

Walsh at the premiere of Lionsgate’s “Knives Out” at Regency Village Theatre on Nov. 14, 2019, in Westwood, California. Getty Images

In 1997, he starred alongside Dermot Mulroney, Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz in “My Best Friend’s Wedding” and with Hoffman again in 2005’s “Racing Stripes.”

Walsh most recently appeared alongside Daniel Craig in “Knives Out” in 2019.

His TV credits include “The Righteous Gemstones,” “Sneaky Pete” and “The Mind of the Married Man,” as well as guest roles on “Frasier,” “Home Improvement,” “The X-Files,” “NYPD Blue,” “Army Wives,” “Damages,” “McMillan & Wife,” “The Twilight Zone,” “The Bob Newhart Show,” “The Rockford Files” and “The Waltons.”

Ben Ford (from left), Walsh, Joanna Cassidy and James Hong of “Blade Runner: The Final Cut” in December 2007. Stewart Cook/Shutterstock

Walsh on the set of “Blood Simple.” Corbis via Getty Images

“I don’t want to play the same type of character 10 times,” Walsh told USA Today in 2015. “I want to be a garbage collector in one film and a governor in the next.

“I got a degree in business administration and marketing,” he said of attending Clarkson University in New York. “That background taught me to live modestly when you’re working so you can survive on your savings when things aren’t going so well. I’ve had actor friends who made 10 times the money I did, but they have nothing now. I knew what to do with a dollar.”

Walsh is survived by his niece Meagan Walsh, nephew Kevin Walsh (Renee) and grandnephews Emmet and Elliot.  

Leave a Comment