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Herbert Coward, Actor Who Played Toothless Man in ‘Deliverance,’ Dies at 85

Herbert Coward, Actor Who Played Toothless Man in ‘Deliverance,’ Dies at 85


Herbert Coward, the actor whose modest profession included the small however memorable function of Toothless Man within the 1972 thriller “Deliverance,” was killed on Thursday in a motorized vehicle accident in North Carolina. He was 85.

Mr. Coward died after he drove onto U.S. Highway 23 in Haywood County within the western a part of the state and was struck by a truck, mentioned Sgt. Marcus Bethea, a North Carolina State Highway Patrol spokesman. A passenger in Mr. Coward’s car, Bertha Brooks, 78, was additionally killed, as had been a Chihuahua and pet squirrel, Sergeant Bethea mentioned.

Mr. Coward, who lived in Canton, N.C., in Haywood County, was typically seen along with his pet squirrel, in keeping with native information reviews.

The 16-year-old driver of the truck was taken to a hospital with minor accidents, in keeping with Sergeant Bethea. He mentioned that it was unclear what had led to the crash and that no fees had been filed.

Mr. Coward, who glided by the nickname Cowboy, was greatest recognized for his function in “Deliverance,” which featured Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty and Jon Voight. The movie is an adaptation of a novel by James Dickey about 4 Atlanta businessmen on a harrowing canoe journey in rural Georgia.

In the film, two of the businessmen come throughout two hostile mountain males within the woods, considered one of them being Toothless Man. The males tie one of many buddies to a tree, after which pressure the opposite to strip right down to his underwear and “squeal like a pig.”

As the 2 males ponder what to do with the pal tied as much as the tree, Mr. Coward’s character delivers the road, “He acquired an actual purty mouth, ain’t he?”

The 4 buddies are finally reunited and escape by killing one of many males with an arrow and chasing off Mr. Coward’s character. The scene is temporary, however Mr. Coward’s line grew to become one of many extra memorable film strains of the Nineteen Seventies and probably the most remembered of Mr. Coward’s profession.

Mr. Coward’s performing profession was largely restricted after “Deliverance.” He appeared within the 2007 movie “Ghost Town: The Movie” and in a single episode of the TV sequence “Hillbilly Blood” in 2013, in keeping with IMDB.

Herbert Coward was born in Haywood County on Aug. 21, 1938, to Fred and Moody Parker Coward, he mentioned in an interview with The Smoky Mountain News in 2019. His mom died when he was younger, and Mr. Coward mentioned that he labored completely different jobs throughout the nation, together with acting at a Wild West-themed park in Maggie Valley, N.C.

Complete info on survivors was not instantly accessible on Thursday.

While on the theme park, Mr. Coward briefly labored with Mr. Reynolds, who later beneficial Mr. Coward for the function of Toothless Man, Mr. Coward mentioned within the interview.

In a tv interview in 2022 reflecting on the fiftieth anniversary of “Deliverance,” Mr. Coward mentioned that he was illiterate and realized his strains for “Deliverance” by listening to a script on a tape recorder.

“I write my title,” he mentioned, “and that’s it.”

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