Geoffrey Lewis: a career in clips

Remembering the 50-year-long career of the late film and television actor, from Clint Eastwood westerns to Van Damme action films

Geoffrey Lewis, an actor with over 200 screen credits, died yesterday from natural causes.

The 79-year-old was a frequent collaborator with Clint Eastwood, starring in films such as Every Which Way But Loose and Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, and was most recently seen in war comedy Retreat! with Richard Roundtree. The father of Juliette Lewis, he was also nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance in 80s TV comedy Flo.

High Plains Drifter

Lewis started his career in westerns with small roles in The Culpeper Cattle Co and Bad Company, both in 1972. But it was the next year that gave him his first major role, alongside Clint Eastwood, in High Plains Drifter, where he played outlaw Stacey Bridges. It marked the first of many such films.

Fletch Lives

After showing his worth in comedies such as Every Which Way But Loose and Any Which Way You Can, Lewis had a memorable role as the Ku Klux Klan leader in the Chevy Chase sequel Fletch Lives. Lewis continued to see success outside of his work with Eastwood, especially on TV with roles in Little House on the Prairie, Murder She Wrote and The A-Team.

Double Impact

In 1991, Lewis scored a major role opposite both versions of Jean Claude Van Damme in the identical-twin action film Double Impact, as sidekick Frank Avery. No stranger to action, Lewis got to fire his umpteenth movie gun alongside Van Damme(s) and in real life, he was a firearms enthusiast. The decade continued to be busy for him with roles alongside Pierce Brosnan in The Lawnmower Man and Mel Gibson in The Man Without A Face.


Lewis worked with Gibson again in the 1994 western Maverick. It took him back to the genre he became known for and in 1998, he worked with Clint Eastwood again in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The period also saw him take on more small screen roles in The X Files and Walker, Texas Ranger.

The Way of the Gun

One of his greatest roles arrived in 2000 with Christopher McQuarrie’s dark crime comedy The Way of the Gun, which saw him as the tragic, suicidal Abner. It also allowed him to star with his daughter Juliette Lewis, although her on-screen father was played by James Caan. In the following years, he had more TV roles in Nip/Tuck and Dawson’s Creek. He still has one film set for release next year, the sports drama High and Outside, with Ernie Hudson.


Benjamin Lee

The GuardianTramp

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