Billy Drago Dies: Hollywood ‘Bad Guy’ Character Actor Was 73

The Untouchables
Billy Drago as Frank Nitti in 1987’s "The Untouchables" Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

Billy Drago, a character actor whose best-known roles were as Hollywood villains, has died. He passed on Monday, June 24 in Los Angeles, according to his publicity firm. No cause of death was given.

Born William Eugene Burrows Jr., Drago appeared in more than 100 film and television roles. His most well-known roles were as hitman Frank Nitti in Brian De Palma’s 1987 film The Untouchables and as the Demon of Fear Barbas in TV’s Charmed.

A versatile character actor whose career spanned four decades, Drago worked with Clint Eastwood, Michael Jackson, Chuck Norris and Takashi Miike, among others. His diverse roles spanned action, comedy and horror films, television series, and music videos.

Drago was born July 18, 1946 in Hugoton, Kansas. He began his career in Kansas radio, first as an Associated Press journalist, then as host of his own highly-rated program. A stint with a touring theater group, along with acclaimed performances in New York City, paved the way for his arrival in Hollywood.

Survivors his sister Patt;, brother Steve; and his two sons, actor Darren Burrows and Derrick Burrows; as well as several grandchildren. His wife, actress Silvana Gallardo, with whom he worked on many projects, died in 2012.

No details on a memorial service have been announced.

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