Billy Jack Cast Where Are They Now?

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Billy Jack is a film that has left an indelible mark on American cinema. Released in 1971, it became a cult classic, known for its themes of countercultural advocacy, non-conformity, and a strong stance against racism. The film starred Tom Laughlin as the titular character, a half-Native American Green Beret Vietnam War veteran who champions the cause of a progressive school run by Jean Roberts, played by Delores Taylor. The cast of Billy Jack was a mix of professional actors and newcomers, and their performances contributed to the film’s lasting legacy. But where are the members of the Billy Jack cast now? Let’s take a look at the lives and careers of these actors after their time in the fictional town of Prescott, Arizona.

Tom Laughlin (Billy Jack)

Tom Laughlin was not only the star of Billy Jack but also its director and co-writer. After the success of the film, he continued to work in the industry, reprising his role in the sequels “The Trial of Billy Jack” and “Billy Jack Goes to Washington.” However, none of these films matched the success of the original. Laughlin later attempted to enter politics, running for President of the United States three times as an independent. He passed away on December 12, 2013, at the age of 82.

Delores Taylor (Jean Roberts)

Delores Taylor, who played the compassionate schoolteacher Jean Roberts and was also Laughlin’s wife in real life, co-wrote the Billy Jack films with her husband. After the series, she largely retired from acting to focus on her family and other interests. Taylor was diagnosed with dementia in her later years and died on March 23, 2018, at the age of 85.

Clark Howat (Sheriff Cole)

Clark Howat, who portrayed the antagonistic Sheriff Cole, was a veteran character actor with numerous credits before Billy Jack. After the film, he continued to act in television and movies until his retirement in the late 1980s. Howat passed away on October 26, 2009, at the age of 87.

Julie Webb (Barbara)

Julie Webb, who played Barbara, one of the students at the Freedom School, had a brief acting career following her role in Billy Jack. She appeared in a few more films and television shows before stepping away from the spotlight. Information about her current activities is scarce, as she has maintained a low profile since leaving the entertainment industry.

David Roya (Bernard Posner)

David Roya portrayed Bernard Posner, the son of the corrupt town boss and one of the film’s primary antagonists. After Billy Jack, Roya had a few more acting roles but eventually left acting to pursue a career in sales and marketing. He has since retired and keeps a private life.

Debbie Schock (Kit)

Debbie Schock’s role as Kit, another Freedom School student, was one of her only acting credits. Little is known about her career following the film, and she has since stayed out of the public eye.

Bert Freed (Mr. Posner)

Bert Freed, who played the villainous Mr. Posner, had a prolific career as a character actor both before and after Billy Jack. He continued to work in film and television until his death on August 2, 1994, at the age of 74.

Kenneth Tobey (Deputy Mike)

Kenneth Tobey, known for his role as Deputy Mike, was a familiar face in Westerns and adventure films. After his role in Billy Jack, Tobey continued to act regularly until the late 1990s. He passed away on December 22, 2002, at the age of 85.

Howard Hesseman (Howard)

Howard Hesseman, who had a small role as Howard, a drama teacher at the Freedom School, went on to have a successful acting career. He is best known for his role as Dr. Johnny Fever on the television series “WKRP in Cincinnati.” Hesseman continued to act in film and television and passed away on January 29, 2022, at the age of 81.

Victor Izay (Doctor)

Victor Izay played the local doctor in Billy Jack. He continued his acting career with numerous television appearances, including a recurring role on “Gunsmoke.” Izay passed away on January 20, 2014, at the age of 87.

Summary Table

ActorRolePost-Billy Jack CareerCurrent Status
Tom LaughlinBilly JackActed in sequels, ran for political officeDeceased (2013)
Delores TaylorJean RobertsRetired from actingDeceased (2018)
Clark HowatSheriff ColeContinued acting until late 1980sDeceased (2009)
Julie WebbBarbaraActed briefly post-Billy JackPrivate life
David RoyaBernard PosnerLeft acting for sales and marketingRetired
Debbie SchockKitLittle known post-Billy JackPrivate life
Bert FreedMr. PosnerContinued acting careerDeceased (1994)
Kenneth TobeyDeputy MikeActed until late 1990sDeceased (2002)
Howard HessemanHowardSuccessful acting careerDeceased (2022)
Victor IzayDoctorContinued acting, appeared on “Gunsmoke”Deceased (2014)

FAQ Section

What was the cultural impact of Billy Jack?

Billy Jack had a significant cultural impact, resonating with audiences who were sympathetic to its themes of social justice, pacifism, and civil rights. It became a symbol of the counterculture movement of the 1970s.

Did any of the Billy Jack cast members become major stars?

While Tom Laughlin and Delores Taylor were well-known for their roles in the Billy Jack series, Howard Hesseman went on to achieve significant fame in his later career, particularly on “WKRP in Cincinnati.”

Were there any sequels to Billy Jack?

Yes, there were sequels to Billy Jack: “The Trial of Billy Jack” (1974) and “Billy Jack Goes to Washington” (1977). However, they did not achieve the same level of success as the original film.

What happened to Tom Laughlin after Billy Jack?

Tom Laughlin continued to work in the film industry, directing and starring in the Billy Jack sequels. He also made several attempts to run for political office as an independent candidate.

Are any of the Billy Jack cast members still active in the film industry?

Most of the primary cast members have either retired or passed away. However, some of the supporting cast may still be active in various capacities within the industry.

Conclusion

The cast of Billy Jack left a lasting legacy through their portrayal of characters that stood up against oppression and fought for social justice. While many of the main cast members have since passed away or retired, their contributions to cinema and the cultural landscape of the 1970s remain significant. The film’s message of peace and acceptance continues to resonate with audiences today, and the performances of the cast are a big reason why Billy Jack remains a beloved classic.

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