Richard Lynch, the Bad Guy in Horror and Sci-Fi Films, Dies at 76

His scores of TV and film credits include “The Sword and the Sorcerer,” “Halloween,” “Battlestar Galactica” and “The Ninth Configuration.”

Richard Lynch, whose scarred face helped make him the perfect villain in such films as 1982’s The Sword and the Sorcerer, was found dead June 19 at his home in Palm Springs. He was 76.

During his prolific four-decade career, Lynch also appeared as the heavy in such movies as writer-director William Peter Blatty’s The Ninth Configuration (1980); Chuck Norris starrer Invasion U.S.A. (1985); Little Nikita (1988), opposite Sidney Poitier; and the horror thriller Bad Dreams (1998).

Lynch’s last role is in the yet-to-be-released The Lords of Salem, directed by Rob Zombie, for whom the actor played Michael Myers' principal in the 2007 Halloween reboot.

“I woke up this morning to the news that our friend Richard Lynch has passed away,” Zombie said on his Facebook page. “Richard was great to work with and really gave it his all. I will never forget the way he scared the crap out of the kid actors in Halloween. As soon as I said action!”

Lynch reportedly suffered scarring in 1967 after he accidentally set himself on fire while under the influence of LSD. It later became part of his signature look in scores of film and television appearances.

A native of Brooklyn who trained with Lee Strasberg as a member of the Actors Studio, Lynch made his film debut in Scarecrow (1973), winner of the Grand Prix Award at the Cannes Film Festival. He quickly followed with roles in such films as the gritty cop drama The Seven-Ups (1973) and The Happy Hooker (1975).

Lynch’s performance as the evil Cromwell in the fantasy film The Sword and the Sorcerer earned him a Saturn Award for best actor from the Academy of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

The busy, blond Lynch also appeared in such TV series as Baretta, Police Woman, The Streets of San Francisco, Battlestar Galactica, Vegas, Matt Houston, Hunter, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Six Feet Under as well as the 1979 telefilm Vampire.