It is Cult Faction’s sad duty to report that veteran character actor David Huddleston has passed away aged 85 years old. The news was broken by his wife Sarah Koeppe who said he died of advanced heart and kidney disease Tuesday in Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.A.
Huddleston was born Sept. 17, 1930, in the Blue Ridge Mountains region, in Vinton, Va., and raised in Villamont, Va., where he often performed monologues in community productions, Koeppe said. After serving as an aircraft engine mechanic in the Air Force, he attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, where he studied acting on the G.I. Bill.
His acting career spanned more than half a century, and included Broadway, television and commercial roles. In addition to playing guest roles on numerous TV shows (Adam 12, Bewitched, Cannon, Gunsmoke, Ironside, Kung Fu, The Rockford Files, Charlie’s Angels, Hawaii Five-O, Trapper John, M.D., Magnum P.I., Columbo, Murder She Wrote, The Wonder Years, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Walker: Texas Ranger, Jericho, and most recently It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia), he starred in an array of films which includes Slaves, Rio Lobo, Bad Company, McQ, Heatwave!, Blazing Saddles,Sherlock Holmes in New York, Capricorn One, Smokey and the Bandit II, Santa Claus: The Movie, Joe’s Apartment, The Big Lebowski, and The Producers.
He told the Roanoke Times that “Blazing Saddles” was “probably the most fun I have ever had on a set.”
His wife notes that “things were not important to him — people were,” she said of her husband. “He loved entertaining and would rather sit down and talk with someone over dinner.”
Huddleston “had thousands of cookbooks, and he loved reading them because they told him about the history of people and locations,” Koeppe said. “He was always asking people, ‘If this was your last meal, what would you have?”