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Sam Bottoms

Sam Bottoms

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Also Known As: Samuel John Bottoms Died: December 16, 2008
Born: October 17, 1955 Cause of Death: brain cancer
Birth Place: Santa Barbara, California, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Sam Bottoms grew up in a family of actors. All three of his brothers have tried their hand at the craft, with brother Timothy ("Johnny Got His Gun," "The Last Picture Show") the most well known. Sam's career, however, was distinguished by Francis Ford Coppola's Vietnam War epic "Apocalypse Now," in which he played the California surfer turned riverboat gunner, Lance B. Johnson. The role of a So-Cal surfer was not far from Bottoms' real-life background; he had grown up as a surfer in Santa Barbara. Bottoms portrayed Johnson as a wide-eyed, eager-to-please greenhorn whose innocence seems to serve as his protection in the hostile jungle. Bottoms got his first acting job when he followed his brother down to the set of "The Last Picture Show." He was spotted hanging around, and wound up in the picture as Billy, the speech-impaired street sweeper. Bottoms also appeared in a couple of Clint Eastwood Westerns, "The Outlaw Josey Wales" and "Bronco Billy." He never really got to work on another film at the level of "Apocalypse Now," but he did have a solid career that, in later years, centered on television. He played Cal Trask in the TV miniseries version of "East of Eden" and guest-starred on episodes of "21...

Sam Bottoms grew up in a family of actors. All three of his brothers have tried their hand at the craft, with brother Timothy ("Johnny Got His Gun," "The Last Picture Show") the most well known. Sam's career, however, was distinguished by Francis Ford Coppola's Vietnam War epic "Apocalypse Now," in which he played the California surfer turned riverboat gunner, Lance B. Johnson. The role of a So-Cal surfer was not far from Bottoms' real-life background; he had grown up as a surfer in Santa Barbara. Bottoms portrayed Johnson as a wide-eyed, eager-to-please greenhorn whose innocence seems to serve as his protection in the hostile jungle. Bottoms got his first acting job when he followed his brother down to the set of "The Last Picture Show." He was spotted hanging around, and wound up in the picture as Billy, the speech-impaired street sweeper. Bottoms also appeared in a couple of Clint Eastwood Westerns, "The Outlaw Josey Wales" and "Bronco Billy." He never really got to work on another film at the level of "Apocalypse Now," but he did have a solid career that, in later years, centered on television. He played Cal Trask in the TV miniseries version of "East of Eden" and guest-starred on episodes of "21 Jump Street," "Murder, She Wrote," and "NYPD Blue," among others. He died of a brain tumor at the age of 53.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Sherrybaby (2006)
3.
 Winter Passing (2005)
4.
 Shopgirl (2005)
5.
 Looking Through Lillian (2001) Gene
6.
 Unsaid, The (2001) Joseph Caffey
7.
 Joseph's Gift (1998)
9.
 My Neighbor's Daughter (1998) Dennis Cromwell
10.
 Snide and Prejudice (1997) Schaub
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Milestones close milestones

1987:
Co-starred with brothers, Tim and Joseph Bottoms, in the short-lived TV pilot "Island Sons"
1979:
Played hotshot PFC Lance in Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now"; co-starred Marlon Brando and Martin Sheen
2005:
Cast in Anand Tucker's "Shopgirl"; film based on the novella by Steve Martin
1971:
First film appearance as the retarded Billy in Peter Bogdanovich's classic, "The Last Picture Show"; appeared in several scenes with older brother Timothy
2006:
Played Maggie Gyllenhaal's father in the independent drama, "Sherrybaby"
1981:
Starred in the TV-miniseries remake of "East of Eden" as Cal Trask, while his brother Timothy played his father, Adam Trask
1997:
Again collaborated with brother Joseph Bottoms in Philippe Mora's "Snide and Prejudice"
1980:
Again worked with Clint Eastwood on the Western comedy "Bronco Billy"
2003:
Appeared in the Gary Ross directed drama "Seabiscuit"
1973:
Garnered notice playing Marty in "The Class of 44"
1976:
First collaboration with Clint Eastwood in "The Outlaw Josey Wales"
1987:
Re-teamed with director Francis Ford Coppola, to play the more sober-sided Lt. Webber in "Gardens of Stone"
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