John Saxon: Beloved Nightmare on Elm Street actor has passed away

John Saxon (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
John Saxon (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images) /

John Saxon, legendary actor of the silver screen and television passed away yesterday at the age of 84.

John Saxon was one of those actors who could easily move between mediums and various genres. His path to Hollywood sounded like a movie.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, he played hooky from high school when he was 17 years old to catch a film. Upon exiting the theater, he was spotted by a modeling agent who immediately signed him. From there, his good looks landed him on the covers of magazines like True Romances.

After several of these photo shoots, legendary agent, Henry Willson, became aware of him. At the time, Willson was representing such 1950’s heart throbs as Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter. So, he added the young thespian to his roster of talent.

Shortly afterwards, John Saxon found himself debuting in his first film with Mamie Van Doren in 1955. His career began to skyrocket and the actor found himself working with such directors as Vincente Minnelli and Blake Edwards.

In the 60’s, he got a taste of the horror genre appearing in Mario Bava’s The Evil Eye, John Gilling’s Blood Beast from Outer Space and Roger Corman’s Queen of Blood. The following decade would find Saxon starring in two cult classics that would cement his icon status in the hearts of genre fans everywhere.

He starred opposite martial arts god, Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon. A year later, he would share top billing as Lt. Ken Fuller in the movie Black Christmas, which would become the inspiration for the slasher era of horror films that comprised the 1980’s.

John Saxon
Jill St. John and John Saxon (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images) /

A large portion of his work was done in television appearing in off the wall series like The Sixth Sense and Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. He also faced off against Lee Majors in The Six Million Dollar Man and Lindsay Wagner in The Bionic Woman.

Interestingly enough, he became a handsome fixture on soap operas like The Bold Ones: The New Doctors, Dynasty, Falcon Crest and Melrose Place. However, when he became acquainted with Wes Craven, it was like the perfect storm.

Horror fans remember him fondly as Nancy Thompson’s dad, Lt. Don Thompson in A Nightmare on Elm Street. He reprised his role in Dream Warriors. Perhaps, his most intriguing part in the Freddy Krueger franchise was playing a version of himself in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare.

Unfortunately, his followers received some very sad news yesterday. The actor passed away in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He was 84.

However, fans might get to see Saxon, one last time in the upcoming comedy, Bring Me the Head of Lance Henriksen. This Michael Worth film is in post-production and is chockfull of horror stars like Tim Thomerson, Lance Henriksen, Adrienne Barbeau, Cerina Vincent, Del Howison and Martin Kove. As of yet, there is no release date.


John Saxon’s legacy will live on, thanks to his amazing catalogue of films. You can stream them on VUDU, Tubi, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Shudder, Kanopy, Hoopla, STARZ and EPIX.

Let us know your favorite John Saxon role in the comments section.