Harry Dean Stanton (July 14, 1926 – September 15, 2017) was an American actor, musician, and singer.In a career that spanned more than six decades, Stanton played supporting roles in films including Cool Hand Luke (1967), Kelly's Heroes (1970), Dillinger (1973), The Godfather Part II (1974), Alien (1979), Escape from New York (1981), Christine (1983), Repo Man (1984), One Magic Christmas (1985), Pretty in Pink (1986), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Wild at Heart (1990), The Straight Story (1999), The Green Mile (1999), Alpha Dog (2006) and Inland Empire (2006). He had rare lead roles in Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas (1984) and in Lucky (2017), his last film. He also had a guest appearance on the second season of Two and a Half Men.
Stanton was born in West Irvine, Kentucky, to Sheridan Harry Stanton, a tobacco farmer and barber, and Ersel (née Moberly), a cook. His parents divorced when Stanton was in high school; both later remarried.Stanton had two younger brothers, Archie and Ralph, and a younger half-brother, Stanley McKnight. His family had a musical background. Stanton attended Lafayette High School and the University of Kentucky in Lexington where he performed at the Guignol Theatre under the direction of British theater director Wallace Briggs, and studied journalism and radio arts. "I could have been a writer," he told an interviewer for a 2011 documentary, Harry Dean Stanton: Crossing Mulholland, in which he sings and plays the harmonica. "I had to decide if I wanted to be a singer or an actor. I was always singing. I thought if I could be an actor, I could do all of it." Briggs encouraged him to leave the university and become an actor. He studied at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, California, where his classmates included his friends Tyler MacDuff and Dana Andrews.During World War II, Stanton served in the United States Navy, including a stint as a cook aboard the USS LST-970, a Landing Ship, Tank, during the Battle of Okinawa.