Just weeks after he returned to movie theaters as part of the cast of Rob Zombie’s 3 From Hell, horror and exploitation film legend Sid Haig has died. His wife, Susan Oberg, announced the news on Haig’s Instagram, writing “On Saturday, September 21, 2019, my light, my heart, my true love, my King, the other half of my soul, Sidney, passed from this realm on to the next. He has returned to the Universe, a shining star in her heavens ... He adored his family, his friends and his fans. This came as a shock to all of us.” Haig was 80 years old.

3 From Hell was the third part of the trilogy that most enamored Haig to modern movie lovers, starting with Zombie’s 2003 film House of 1000 Corpses, and continuing through its 2005 sequel, The Devil’s Rejects. Haig played Captain Spaulding, a demented clown and patriarch of the sinister Firefly family. This is a typical scene (with a fair amount of NSFW language) that shows off Haig’s unique charisma in the role of Spaulding, a guy who was both absolutely repulsive, and also kind of hilarious:

Although Zombie’s trilogy are perhaps Haig’s most high profile films, he had a long and unusual career. Born Sidney Eddy Mosesian in 1939, he got his start in show business in the music world, performing in vaudeville and then as a drummer with the rock group the T-Birds. He started acting in high school, and then hooked up with director Jack Hill while he was still in film school. After appearing in Hill’s UCLA student film, he went on to co-star in many of Hill’s pictures, including the blaxploitation classics Coffy and Foxy Brown.

All in all, Haig appeared in over 50 films and hundreds of hours of television including the original Batman TV series, Mission: Impossible, and Jason of Star Command, where he played the bad guy, Dragos.

Haig grew weary of the endless villain roles he was offered, and retired for a period in the 1990s, then returned to Hollywood to play a judge in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown. House of 1000 Corpses followed a few years later, which sparked a renewed period of activity in Haig’s career, appearing in many more horror films and thrillers. As recognized by filmmakers like Hill and Zombie, Haig had a singular screen presence, and could flip from terrifying to hilarious in a matter of seconds. His presence was always welcome in any movie, and he will truly be sorely missed. 3 From Hell will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on October 15.

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