Joe Turkel, a gaunt-faced veteran character actor best known for his roles as Dr. Eldon Tyrell in “Blade Runner” and Lloyd the bartender in “The Shining,” died on June 27 in Santa Monica, California. He has appeared in dozens of films. He was 94.
The cause of his death in a hospital, according to his son Craig Turkel, was liver failure. Directors who were seeking someone who could bring zealous professionalism to even the tiniest position favored Mr.Turkel.
Joe Turkel: ‘The Shining’ And ‘Blade Runner’ Actor Dies At 94
Alongside starring males like Ronald Reagan and Steve McQueen, he held his own in films like “Hellcats of the Navy” (1957) and “The Sand Pebbles” (1966). It was frequently Mr. Turkel’s responsibility to deliver a subtly clear story turn, using his steely on-screen demeanor and flawlessly delivering words to completely change the tone of a movie.
That was especially true of the three films he directed for Stanley Kubrick, with whom he had developed a sort of mutual admiration society. Both men, who were roughly the same age, had been raised in New York as working-class secular Jews. They were both ardent baseball fans. Furthermore, both of them were meticulous in their work.
Mr. Turkel appeared briefly in Stanley Kubrick’s 1956 movie “The Killing,” which is about a racetrack heist, and then made a comeback the following year in “Paths of Glory” as a convicted soldier. He used abrupt explosions of frantic activity and glacial silence in both movies to express meaning that went well beyond his sparse dialogue.
He then established himself as a successful television actor, appearing in roles on hit programs like “Bonanza,” “Ironside,” and “Fantasy Island.”
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In 1980, for the film adaptation of Stephen King’s book “The Shining,” he once more worked with Mr. Kubrick. The protagonist of the tale is a novelist named Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), who relocates with his family to the remote, empty Overlook Hotel after being hired as its winter keeper.
Jack gradually loses his mind as a result of evil otherworldly forces. At one point, he walks into the hotel’s bar and runs across Mr. Turkel’s character Lloyd. In response to Jack’s request for bourbon, Lloyd serves him a shot of Jack Daniel’s. Although Mr. Nicholson predominates their discourse, the film’s darker tone is actually brought on by Mr. Turkel’s menacingly impassive presence.
In 2014, Mr. Turkel remarked, “In wardrobe and behavior, he’s the quintessential old-school hotel barman.” The majority of bartenders are fashionable and slightly sinister; he certainly takes pride in his occupation and the corruption he supports. However, poor Lloyd is unable to distinguish between bourbon and Tennessee whiskey.
On July 15, 1927, Joseph Turkel was born in Brooklyn. His mother, Gazella (Goldfisher) Turkel, was a housewife and occasional opera singer, and his father, Benjamin Turkel, was a tailor.
In a 1999 interview for the “Blade Runner” fan site Blade Zone, he said, “I’ve done some amazing films.” “I am aware of several actors who have been in excellent movies. No matter what they’ve done, they still need to go to an audition, meet the producer and director, and win over these folks. Of course, large, famous stars don’t behave like that. However, some excellent actors do that, and they find it insulting.”