The Shining Bartender, Tyrell in Blade Runner was 94 – The Hollywood Reporter


The Shining Bartender, Tyrell in Blade Runner was 94 - The Hollywood Reporter

Joe Turkel, who portrayed the haunting bartender at Stanley Kubrick’s The glow and the creator of the replicants in Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner, died. He was 94.

Turkel died Monday at the Providence St. John Health Center in Santa Monica, his family said.

Turkel also appeared in two other Kubrick films: as the shooter in the culminating gunfight in The killing (1956) and sent to the firing squad as a soldier ways of glory (1957), which the lanky Brooklyn-born actor called the greatest film of all time. (Only Philip Stone has acted in up to three Kubrick films.)

For Bert I. Gordon, Turkel appeared as Abu the Genie and the Gangster respectively in the 1960 publications The boy and the pirates and tormented. He also played a prisoner of war in Robert Wise’s The sand pebbles (1966) and was the real-life bribe-giver “Greasy Thumb” Guzik in Roger Cormans The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1967).

Kubrick first saw Turkel at work in the B-frame man crazy (1953). How the actor remembered the Kubrick universe Podcast, the filmmaker told him, “The picture was awful, but I liked you and what you did, so I said I’ve got to hire this guy eventually.”

After his supporting role in The killingthe meticulous Kubrick cast the then 30-year-old Turkel as one of the three soldiers used as scapegoats for a failed World War I attack in the classic Kirk Douglas lead ways of glory.

His character, decorated soldier Private Arnaud, will be chosen by lot and, along with Pvt. Ferol (Timothy Carey) and Cpl. Paris (Ralph Meeker). His spiral of desperation and drunkenness leads to a fight; Knocked unconscious, he is absurdly supported on a stretcher in front of a firing squad.

Midway The glow (1980), aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) wanders into the Overlook Hotel’s empty Gold Room and over to the bar, where, in a state of insanity, he asks for a pint of beer.

Suddenly, the lounge’s bartender, Lloyd (Turkel), appears and pours him a bourbon, even though Torrance has no money. “I like you Lloyd, I’ve always liked you,” says Torrance. “You were always the best of them. Best goddamn bartender from Timbuctoo to Portland, Maine—Portland, Oregon, by the way.”

When Torrance returns to the room, Lloyd is still standing behind the bar, but now it’s packed with 1920s partygoers.

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Joe Turkel as Dr. Eldon Tyrell in 1982’s Blade Runner
Warner Bros./Photofest

Turkel speaks a total of 96 words in his two scenes. In 2014, he pointed out that rehearsals lasted six weeks while “Stanley was looking for the perfect shot” and he was on set from 9am to 10:30pm one day. “I came into my dressing room, took off my shirt, took off my t-shirt and wrung it out [the sweat] out.”

Turkel’s dressing room was next to Nicholson’s and in Scott Edwards’ 2018 book Quintessence Jackhe recalled discovering an open book on the effects of freezing lying on his chest before filming Nicholson the glows final snow sequence.

“Look, in the last scene, my character freezes and I want to know how that happens. I want to get it… feel it… show it… the way it is,” Nicholson told him.

Thanks to The glowScott cast him as Dr. Eldon Tyrell Bladerunner (1982). “Joe had this waxy makeup or that kind of skin,” says the director in the film’s DVD commentary, “and Joe was so clean-shaven it was almost like polished ivory.”

Tyrell, who lives in a giant pyramid, runs a company that makes replicants that live for four years – “more human than human,” is his company slogan.

Towards the end of the film, draped in a heavy white robe and wearing large glasses, Tyrell is visited by his most prized and advanced replicant, Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), who demands an extension of his soon-to-be-expiring life.

Tyrell tells him that “the light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and you burned so very, very bright, Roy.”

In one of the film’s most amazing moments, Batty kisses Tyrell on the lips, realizing his maker can’t grant his wish, before crushing his head and eyes in with his bare hands.

Tubes were run behind Turkel’s ears for gory effect, and when Hauer (his first day on set) started squeezing his face, makeup artist Marvin G. Westmore pumped fake blood through the tubes. (The crew had created a prosthetic artificial head of Turkel, but it was never used on screen. It was intended to find a home in visual effects master Douglas Trumbull’s office.)

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From left: Paul Richards, Joe Turkel and Jason Robards in 1967’s The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
20th Century Fox/Photofest

Turkel, who was born on July 15, 1927, began his film career in the late 1940s, appearing in film noirs, among others City across the river (1949), The glass wall (1953), Duffy from San Quentin (1954), The human jungle (1954) and The Naked Street (1955); in war movies like Halls of Montezuma and Fixed bayonets!, both from 1951; and in such comedies as Down under the sheltering palm trees (1952) and A mild case of theft (1953).

He played crime cousin Chuck Darrow in it The Bonnie Parker Story (1958), the sheriff at Gordon’s Valley of the Giants (1965) and Detective at Wise’s The Hindenburg (1975).

He continued to be seen on television Boston Blackie, Public Defender, The Lone Ranger, The Lineup, Bonanza, The Untouchables, Tales From the Darkside and MiamiVice.

He had his last film appearance in 1990 The dark side of the moonand he reprized his role of Tyrell, voice only, for one year in 1997 Bladerunner video game.

Shortly before his death, Turkel completed a treatise entitled The misery of successthat the family intends to release this year.

He has lived in Santa Monica since the early ’90s and could be seen at various restaurants and stores around town including Fromin’s Deli, Izzy’s, Bagel Nosh, Marmalade, Rosti, Spumoni and the Aero Theater.

Survivors include his sons Craig and Robert; daughters-in-law Annie and Casilde; brother David; and grandchildren Ben and Sarah. Those wishing to attend his funeral at Hollywood Forever Cemetery are asked to email [email protected].

In Dennis Fischer’s 2000 book Science fiction film directors, Turkel recalled asking Kubrick why he asked for a 17th shot of an actor simply walking down a corridor. “I’ve been preparing this film for four years, I want it to be freaking perfect,” was his reply.

On ways of gloryTurkel saw Adolphe Menjou getting frustrated with having to constantly reshoot a long and wordy scene with George Macready.

“Mr. Kubrick, when do you say cut and print?” he recalled Menjou yelling at Kubrick. “I broke into Charlie Chaplin, who got me started, but I’ve never been pressured like you sit down now.”

But Kubrick continued with more repetitions. When filming was complete, Turkel asked the director what shot he would use in the film. “The very first after screaming,” Kubrick said. “His voice had a certain cadence that suited the damn scene that only appeared in the first take after the anger.”

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