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Blade Runner and Blood Simple actor M Emmet Walsh dies age 88

US actor M Emmet Walsh, who starred in hit films including Blade Runner and Blood Simple during his six-decade career, has died aged 88.

The veteran star died from a cardiac arrest on Tuesday at Kerbs Memorial Hospital in St Albans, Vermont, a statement from his manager Sandy Joseph to the PA news agency confirmed.

Walsh was known for playing a variety of roles during his career, including as Harrison Ford’s LAPD boss in Sir Ridley Scott’s 1982 Blade Runner and an unscrupulous private detective in Ethan Coen’s Blood Simple two years later.

M Emmet Walsh
M Emmet Walsh at the Knives Out premiere in Los Angeles (AFF/Aalmy/PA)

He also played Dermot Mulroney’s on-screen father in My Best Friend’s Wedding, which starred Julia Roberts; and Dustin Hoffman’s belligerent parole officer in Straight Time.

Similarly he starred alongside Ryan O’Neal and Barbra Streisand in 1972 hit What’s Up, Doc?; as well as appearing in 1977’s Slap Shot with Paul Newman, and The Jerk in 1979 with Steve Martin.

His body of work includes 119 films and 250 TV productions, with recent roles including playing an elderly security guard in Rian Johnson’s murder-mystery comedy Knives Out with Daniel Craig at the helm.

Born in New York, Walsh made his on-screen debut in Alice’s Restaurant in 1969, but came to prominence with bigger roles including in Oscar-winning drama Ordinary People with Mary Tyler Moore in 1980, and in prison drama Brubaker alongside Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman in the same year.

A year later he starred in Reds with Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton; Critters in 1986 starring Dee Wallace and Billy Zane; Raising Arizona in 1987 with Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter; 1988’s The Milagro Beanfield War with Ruben Blades and Christopher Walken; and in the same year he starred in Clean And Sober with Michael Keaton.

M Emmet Walsh
M Emmet Walsh was born with the name Michael Emmet Walsh (AFF/Alamy/PA)

More recently he starred alongside Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock and Samuel L Jackson in A Time To Kill and Calvary with Brendan Gleeson and Chris O’Dowd.

Walsh became a familiar face on television and on Broadway, making his debut in Does The Tiger Wear A Necktie? in 1969 with Al Pacino and Hal Holbrook.

He also starred in a theatre production of Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird Of Youth; Arthur Miller’s All My Sons; and Sam Shepard’s revival of Buried Child at the National Theatre in London.

The actor was born with the name Michael Emmet Walsh, but became known as M Emmet Walsh due to a “union stipulation which prevented him from using his first name”, Mr Joseph said.

Walsh is survived by his niece Meagan Walsh, nephew Kevin Walsh, and grandnephews, Emmet and Elliot.