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Will Sampson
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Actor
    (September 27, 1933-June 3, 1987)
    Muscogee Creek Native American
    Best known for his role as Chief Bromden in the movie 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)'
    Also acted in 'Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (1976),' 'The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976),' 'The White Buffalo (1977),' 'Orca (1977),' 'Fish Hawk (1979),' 'Firewalker (1986)' and 'Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)'
    Recurring role as Harlon Two Leaf in the TV series 'Vega$'
    His first love was painting, but since he couldn't pay his bills, he worked in construction, oil fields, as a utility linesman and as a rodeo rider.
    His height has been listed as both 6'7 and 6'9.
    When asked by a reporter if he was impressed with his movie career, he said he wasn't and stated: 'Movies offer me a lot of time to paint.'
    He has been linked to the so-called 'Poltergeist curse' of actors who have died shortly after completing work in one of the three movies in the series. Others include Dominique Dunne, Heather O'Rourke and Julian Beck.
    He grew up in miserable conditions during the dust bowl era during Oklahoma portion of the Great Depression.
    Ken Kesey thought he was perfect for the role of Chief Bromden in his breakthrough movie, leading to future roles.
    He spoke at prisons and schools about the struggle of the contemporary Indian and the deep-seated prejudice he believed still existed towards his people.
    He used some of his movie earnings to help a program called Red Wind, which offers assistance to Native Americans with substance-abuse problems.
    He founded the American Indian Registry for the Performing Arts, a central registry of American Indian performers and technicians in the entertainment industry to supply information, offer casting assistance, and encourage cultural authenticity (1983).
    He died at age 53 of complications after receiving a heart-lung transplant. (1987)
    His co-star in 'Poltergeist II,' Craig T. Nelson, visited his remote grave site at the height of the cicada season. As loud as the insects were, when he got to the grave and announced himself, the noise of the cicadas tapered off and within a few seconds stopped altogether.

Credit: Scar Tactics


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