Tom Laughlin / Billy Jack
Tom Laughlin — aka Billy Jack — died on December 12th at age 82. (I just saw the news story today.)
The movie “Billy Jack” was the second of a series of movies where he played the character Billy Jack. I didn't see any of the other Billy Jack movies; just “Billy Jack.” Of all the movies that capture that undefinable late '60s/early '70s zeitgeist, Billy Jack is right up there with Easy Rider and Getting Straight (Elliot Gould and Candice Bergen). In spite of all the violence and tragedy, the movie just oozed that feelgood quality, IMHO.
Billy Jack was released in 1971, but Tom Laughlin had already written the script in 1954, based on the treatment of Native Americans in South Dakota.
Billy Jack is still the highest-grossing independent film of all time. Tom Laughlin's wife, Delores Taylor — they were married from 1954 until his death four days ago — acted in and co-produced all of the Billy Jack films.
In 1975, Tom Laughlin said “The youth of this country have only two heroes, Ralph Nader and Billy Jack.”
I never knew, or maybe I just forgot, that Tom Laughlin ran for president in 1992, 2004 and 2008.