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'Big Love's' Luke Askew Dies, 80

Appeared in more than 80 productions in his lifetime

Luke Askew, whose final roles were playing the scary and somewhat crazy polygamist Hollis Green in the HBO series "Big Love" has died. He was 80.

Askew passed away on March 29 from complications of lung cancer, but news didn't really get out until this week when Oregon Live broke the story.

Born in Georgia, Askew died quietly in the Lake Oswego, Ore., condominium he shared with his wife. He had just turned 80 three days before.

Nancy Hedin, Askew's neighbor, told Oregon Live that she would sometimes visit the couple and watch some of Askew's work with them.

"They both mostly kept to themselves, but every once in a while, I could hear his voice from my unit," Hedin said. "You could just tell he was an actor."

Askew was born March 26, 1932, in Macon, Ga. He got his first big break in acting in 1967 when he was 35 years old and cast in "Hurry Sundown" with Michael Caine, Jane Fonda and Faye Dunaway. He would later appear in a number of other popular movies, mostly in smaller or bit roles, including "Cool Hand Luke" in 1967, "The Green Berets" in 1968 and "Easy Rider" in 1969.

His first big television role was in a 1968 episode of "Mission: Impossible" where Victor Pietro Duchell in the episode "The Execution." He would return in 1973 to play Dawson in the episode "The Fountain. He also had a strong role in a 1971 episode of "Bonanza" where he played Sheriff Hatch.

Spending decades appearing in a number of television shows like "L.A. Law," "Knight Rider," "Murder, She Wrote" and even "The 4400," his longest and probably most popular recurring role wouldn't come until 2007 when he was cast to play Hollis Green in the "Big Love" episode "Dating Game."

Green was the "prophet" of a rival polygamist group, known for being quite merciless when it came to meeting his goals. However, he was also not fully with it, his social mannerisms probably best described as not fully there.

He would appear in 10 episodes of the show, his final appearance in "Blood Atonement" in February 2010.

Askew was never afraid to take on challenging roles, even if there was some negative societal impact. Although playing a violent polygamist would raise eyebrows today, even at the beginning of his career he as not afraid to take chances, in fact being brave enough to don long hair in "Cool Hand Luke" despite it being heavily frowned upon for men to do that. He was one of the first in that era to wear his hear long, but when he was not on set, he had to wear a hat, according to reports that looked back at his time there.

Besides his wife, Askew is also survived by a son, Christopher.

About the Author

Michael Hinman is the founder and editor-in-chief for Airlock Alpha and the entire GenreNexus. He owns Nexus Media Group Inc., the parent corporation of the GenreNexus and is a veteran print journalist. He lives in Tampa, Fla.
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