Charles Dierkop, actor in “The Sting,’ ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,’ dead at 87

Charles Dierkop

Charles Dierkop, who played tough-guy characters on film in “The Sting” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” died Sunday. He was 87.

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Dierkop died at Sherman Oaks Hospital in Sherman Oaks, California, after a recent heart attack and pneumonia, his daughter, Lynn, told The Hollywood Reporter.

The character actor also appeared in 90 episodes of the television series “Police Woman” as Detective Pete Royster from 1974 to 1978, according to IMDb.com.

Dierkop, who was born on Sept. 11, 1936, in La Crosse, Wisconsin, played a gangster in 1967′s “The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” and played a murderous Santa Claus in the 1984 horror film, “Silent Night, Deadly Night,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Dierkop had an uncredited role in “The Hustler,” the 1961 film starring Paul Newman, the entertainment news website reported. He would appear with Newman again in 1969 in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” as outlaw George “Flat Nose” Curry and played a bodyguard to crime boss Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw) in “The Sting” four years later.

Dierkop’s agent believed that the actor, who had broken his nose several times as a youth, was a perfect fit for the role of Curry in “Butch Cassidy,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“My agent was on a plane reading a script and it says, ‘Flat Nose Curry’ … I think I have someone in mind,” Dierkop said in a 2018 interview. “So I got an interview with (director) George Roy Hill and got cast, quite simply.”

When Dierkop was an infant, his father left the family and his mother moved away, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He was raised by his aunt and uncle.

Dierkop dropped out of high school as a junior to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps and served during the Korean War, the entertainment news website reported.

He later studied acting in Philadelphia, and then in New York at The Actor Studio, run by Lee Strasburg.

According to Extra, Dierkop also appeared briefly in the background of R.E.M.’s 1992 music video, “Man On the Moon.”

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