Character Actor Eddie Rouse Dies at 60

Eddie Rouse - H 2014

Eddie Rouse - H 2014

He recently landed a key role in the high-profile upcoming HBO series 'Westworld'

Eddie Rouse, a versatile character actor who stood out in such films as American Gangster, The Number 23 and Pandorum, has died. He was 60.

Rouse, who just weeks ago filmed the pilot for the HBO series Westworld in Utah, died Sunday at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica of liver failure, his manager, Stephen Spacek of Spacek Management, told The Hollywood Reporter.

See more  Hollywood's Notable Deaths of 2014

Rouse starred as a Sammy Davis Jr. impersonator hired through Craigslist to perform at a boy’s birthday party in Todd Rohal’s Rat Pack Rat, which was funded through Kickstarter and won a jury prize in the shorts competition at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Last month, it screened at AFI Fest in Los Angeles.

“He really made our little short shine this year,” producer Clay Liford said on Twitter.

Rouse made his feature debut as a cranky uncle in David Gordon Green’s George Washington (2000) — it was Green's debut as a feature writer, director and producer, too — and they reteamed for All the Real Girls (2003), a romantic drama with Zooey Deschanel, and the comedies Pineapple Express (2008) and The Sitter (2011), starring Jonah Hill.

He worked with Seth Rogen on Observe and Report (2009) and The Green Hornet (his scenes were cut from the 2011 film) as well as on Pineapple Express, and he showed off his dramatic chops by portraying a chef gone crazy in the horror film Pandorum (2009).

In addition to the 2007 releases American Gangster from director Ridley Scott and The Number 23 from Joel Schumacher, Rouse had roles in the basketball movie Juwanna Mann (2002), in the Joaquin Phoenix faux documentary I’m Still Here (2010) and in the thriller Alyce Kills (2011).

He had been quite busy lately, with roles in Being Flynn (2012), Nature Calls (2012) and Low Down (2014).

On Westworld — set in a futuristic amusement park, executive produced by J.J. Abrams and based on the 1973 film written and directed by Michael CrichtonRouse was to play Kissy, short for Kisecawchuck, a laconic American-Indian card and contraband dealer from the town's saloon.

“This was the thing he wanted so badly,” Spacek said, “to get in front of an audience to show the world what he was all about.”

Rouse went to Olney High School in Philadelphia and began his acting career with the city’s Bushfire Theatre of the Performing Arts. He attended the North Carolina School of the Arts, where he met Green and actor Danny McBride.

Survivors include two sons, three daughters, nine grandchildren and a brother.

Spacek said that a celebration of Rouse’s life will take place from 2-4 p.m. Sunday at Argentum Photo Lab at 6550 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood.

Twitter: @mikebarnes4