Born to Merrill Vestal Boothe and his wife Emily Kathryn Reeves.
Powers Boothe was an American actor who appeared in film, television, and video games. His most notable roles included his Emmy-winning portrayal of Jim Jones in the 1980 CBS miniseries Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones, Cy Tolliver on HBO’s Deadwood, and Vice President Noah Daniels on 24. He also played Curly Bill Brocius in Tombstone, Sheriff Curly Wilcox in Red Dawn, and Lamar Wyatt in Nashville.
Boothe was born on June 1, 1948 in Snyder, Texas, the son of Emma Louise (née Bradley) and James Thomas Boothe, a rancher. He had a twin sister, Amy Louise Boothe, who died at the age of two months. His parents were both of English descent.
Boothe was raised in a strict Baptist home and graduated from Snyder High School in 1966. He attended Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) on a football scholarship, but left after one semester to pursue an acting career.
Boothe began his acting career in the late 1960s with guest appearances on such television shows as The Mod Squad and Ironside. His first film role was in the 1969 Western The Last Picture Show. In 1970, he appeared in the film Patton playing Pvt. Snuffy Braden.
Boothe’s most notable role came in 1980, when he played Jim Jones in the CBS miniseries Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones. His performance earned him a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.
In the late 1980s, he appeared in several films, including The Emerald Forest (1985) and Extreme Prejudice (1987). He also appeared in the 1989 political thriller Slipstream, which starred Boothe and was directed by Steven Spielberg.
In the 1990s, Boothe played supporting roles in such films as Rapid Fire (1992), Sudden Death (1995), and U-571 (2000). He also had a recurring role as Cy Tolliver on HBO’s Deadwood from 2004 to 2006.
Boothe’s final film role was as Lamar Wyatt in the 2013 musical drama Nashville. He also made several guest appearances on television shows such as The A-Team, The Fall Guy, and Simon & Simon.
Boothe died on May 14, 2017 at the age of 68. The cause of death was not immediately known.
Boothe was survived by his wife, Pam, and their two children, Preston and Lillian. He was also survived by his twin sister, Amy Louise Boothe-Miller, and his brother, James Thomas Boothe Jr.
1.87 m, 1.88 m
University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Movie
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film, CableAce Award for Actor in a Movie or Min...
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Tombstone, The Emerald Forest, Sin City, Frailty, Southern Comfort, Red Dawn, Extreme Prejudice, Sudden Death, The Avengers, MacGruber, The Final Season, Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones, Rapid Fire, Men of Honor, U Turn, Joan of Arc, Superman: Brainiac Attacks, C...
Frequently plays authority figures, military or government agents or clergy
[on playing the U.S. President on 24 (2001)] One of the more interesting things about doing this is I don't have to worry about my wardrobe... because it's the same every day, all day.
[2007, on beginning as an actor] One role leads to another. For the first 10 years [that] I was a professional actor, all I did was Shakespeare. And the show I did in New York that brought me out [to L.A.] was a flat-out comedy. And they never let me do comedy.
I've been fortunate in my career to have the opportunity to pick and choose the parts I play. I've also been lucky to always be involved with quality actors, quality directors, quality writers.
[accepting his Emmy Award, 1980] This is either the most courageous moment of my career or the stupidest... I also thought long and hard whether or not I would attend, but I came here because this is America and one must do what one believes. I believe in the Academy. I also believe in my fellow actors in their stand.
Lives in Los Angeles, California, where he raises racing quarter horses.
His favorite role is in the science fiction horror film Mutant Species (1994).
He was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in Austin, Texas in March 2009.
Received his Master's degree in Fine Arts from Southern Methodist University and went on to become a resident actor at the Oregon Shakespeare Company.
He was named after a friend of his father's that was killed in World War II.
In September 1980, in an act of defiance, he showed up at the Emmy Awards ceremony to collect the award he had won for playing Jim Jones. The Screen Actors Guild was in the middle of a strike and members boycotted the ceremony until the strike was settled. He was the only winner in an acting category who showed up. The incident was referenced in the James L. Brooks comedy film I'll Do Anything (1994).
He was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity at Southwest Texas State University.