Sid Haig, the journeyman genre actor who found latter-day fame as murderous clown Captain Spaulding in the films of Rob Zombie, has died. His wife, Susan L. Oberg, confirmed the news via Instagram, saying, “He adored his family, his friends and his fans.” He was 80.
Born Sidney Eddy Mosesian in Fresno, California, Haig began his career playing drums for the T-Birds, scoring a chart-topping single with the 1958 song “Full House.” Haig then pivoted to film because “the music business was full of crooks, robbers, thieves and nefarious people of ill repute,” landing roles in the likes of John Boorman’s Point Blank, George Lucas’ THX 1138, and the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever. Haig, however, is best remembered for his work in genre, exploitation, and TV—he acted alongside Pam Grief in a number of ‘70s blaxploitation films and guest-starred on everything from Batman, Gunsmoke, and Charlie’s Angels to Mission: Impossible and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. Though he retired in 1992 to become a hypnotherapist, he returned to film in a role written specifically for him in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown. It’s also been said that Tarantino wrote the Pulp Fiction role of Marsellus Wallace—eventually played by Ving Rhames—specifically for him, but Haig reportedly turned it down.
Haig again became a fixture of the genre community in 2003, when Zombie cast him as the cackling Captain Spaulding in House of 1000 Corpses, a role he reprised in 2005's The Devil’s Rejects and this year’s 3 From Hell. In between, he continued to work with Zombie and Tarantino, and also appeared in oodles of genre titles, including S. Craig Zahler’s Bone Tomahawk. Reports of his ailing health began circulating last week.
Zombie paid tribute to Haig on his Instagram this morning, writing, “Horray [sic] for Captain Spaulding. Gone but not forgotten.”
Others in the horror community and elsewhere poured out their memories and memorials throughout social media. See some below.