John Beasley, a late bloomer actor who didn’t get his first screen credits until he was in his 40s, has died at the age of 79.
The film and television actor died earlier on Tuesday in a hospital in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, his son Tyrone Beasley shared with The Hollywood Reporter.
According to his son, Beasley had been doing tests on his liver when his condition began to deteriorate rapidly.
Beasley received acclaim for a supporting performance as Assistant Coach Warren in the popular 1993 inspirational sports drama Rudy, which was filmed when he was in his late 40s.
The actor’s death comes just before he was set to accomplish another late-in-life milestone by making his Broadway debut on the cusp of 80.
Made up for lost time: John Beasley, a late bloomer actor who didn’t get his first screen credits until he was in his 40s, has died at the age of 79, his son told The Hollywood Reporter
Medical emergency: Beasley died earlier on Tuesday in a hospital in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, his son said. He had been doing tests on his liver when his condition began to deteriorate rapidly; seen in Firestarter (2022)
He recently appeared in a Chicago stage adaptation of the romance film The Notebook (2004), which originally starred Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Marsden, James Garner and Gena Rowlands.
The film was in turn based on the popular Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name from 1996.
Beasley starred in the Garner role, playing a much older version of the young romantic lead.
Beasley’s son Tyrone said his father was going to be workshopping the role in New York as the producers sought out a theater to transfer to.
‘I lost my best friend today,’ Beasley’s other son Michael wrote in a Facebook post announcing his father’s death. ‘They say you shouldn’t ever meet your heroes because they don’t turn out to be who you thought they were. That is so wrong. My hero was my father. Thank you for everything.’
Some of Beasley’s early film roles included parts in V.I. Warshawski (1991) and The Mighty Ducks (1992).
Following his success with Rudy, he appeared in several television shows and TV movies, including the Peter Bogdanovich–directed To Sir, With Love II, which saw the late Sidney Poitier reprising his lead role from the original 1967 classic.
In 1997, he appeared as the retired pastor Brother Blackwell in Robert Duvall’s acclaimed film The Apostle, which he directed and starred in.
One of Beasley’s biggest projects to date was the early-to-mid 2000s series Everwood, which appears to be his first time playing a series regular.
He went on to appear in 89 episodes of the show.
His next major TV show was The Soul Man, which starred Cedric the Entertainer and Niecy Nash and aired for five seasons from 2012 to 2016. Beasley played a retired pastor again, this time appearing as the father of Cedric the Entertainer’s father.
Other high-profile films Beasly appeared in include The General’s Daughter, Crazy In Alabama, The Gift, The Sum Of All Fears and The Purge: Anarchy.
Last year, he appeared in the remake of the Stephen King–inspired horror film Firestarter.
Breakout role: Beasley received acclaim for a supporting performance as Assistant Coach Warren in the popular 1993 inspirational sports drama Rudy, which was filmed when he was in his late 40s; Sean Astin is pictured in the film
Moving on up: Buoyed by Rudy’s success, he appeared as the retired pastor Brother Blackwell in Robert Duvall’s acclaimed 1997 film The Apostle, which Duvall directed and starred in; Duvall pictured with Farrah Fawcett
Family man: Beasley is survived by his wife of 58 years, Judy, his soe Tyrone and his wife Katie, his son Michael and his wife Deena, and grandchildren Darius, Evan, Mika, Miles, Olivia, and the LA Lakers player Malik Beasley
Beasley, who was born on June 26, 1943, began his career working for Union Pacific Railroad before later transitioning to acting.
In addition to his son Tyrone, Beasley is survived by his wife of 58 years, Judy, as well as Tyrone’s wife Katie and his other son Michael Beasley and his wife Deena.
He also had several grandchildren: Darius, Evan, Malik, Mika, Miles and Olivia.
Malik Beasley, the son of Michael, is an NBA player who most recently joined the Los Angeles Lakers in February of this year.