Dale Critchlow, who played Lyle in the Jared Hess film Napoleon Dynamite, died Friday at the age of 92. His family said Critchlow passed away at the MorningStar Senior Living facility in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Critchlow became a town celebrity after playing Farmer Lyle in Napoleon Dynamite. He also made an appearance in Kurt Hale’s 2006 comedy, Church Bell. That was the last time he would appear in a film.
During a 2020 interview with EastIdahoNews.com, Critchlow talked about how he ended up with a role in the movie.
“My wife called Jared Hess’ mother and asked if one of her boys was there,” Critchlow said. “He came over, and he had a friend with him. I drove the truck out into the pasture, and the sheep came over. They grabbed those bucks and pushed them into the truck … and we got them out of there.” The Napoleon Dynamite director subsequently contacted Critchlow and asked if he could be in a movie.
His status among the people of Preston, Idaho, grew and soon passerby’s were asking for pictures, autographs when they saw him in public.
“I went to a wedding reception in Salt Lake, and my oldest son was just waiting for the reception to start,” Critchlow recalled. “This guy comes by, and he said, ‘Hey, I seen you in a show!’ He took some pictures.”
When asked what lessons he had learned over his lifetime, Critchlow thought for a moment and replied, “It pays to be a little daring but not too daring,” he said. “When people help you, help them back if you can.”
He leaves behind four children. Funeral details are being planned and have not been announced.
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