Joe Turkel, an unmistakable screen presence as Lloyd the ghostly bartender in The Shining or replicant creator Dr. Eldon Tyrell in Blade Runner, has died at 94. A repeat collaborator with Stanley Kubrick, Turkel became a visually stunning pop culture character thanks to the two roles above despite maintaining a long film career.
Turkel's career kicked off in the late 1940s, getting screentime in film noirs of the time while barely over the age of 21. City Across the River, The Glass Wall, Duffy of San Quentin, The St. Valentines Day Massacre, and many, many more. Turkel also had a memorable slew of performances on TV over the years, appearing on Bonanza, The Untouchables, Tales from the Darkside, Miami Vice, The Lone Ranger, and others.
But it's his roles in The Shining and Blade Runner that live on for fans. The bartender Lloyd from the Overlook Hotel only speaks under 100 lines in the film, but playing opposite Jack Nicholson's Jack Torrance sets a scene that Kubrick pushed to get right.
"Stanley was looking for the perfect shot," Turkel said, noting that he once worked from 9 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. on the set, leading to a leaky end to the day. "I got to my dressing room, took my shirt off, took my T-shirt off and wrung [the sweat] out."
The role earned him attention and secured him the Blade Runner role as Dr. Eldon Tyrell, the corporate head that creates replicants and lives in a giant golden pyramid brought to life in Ridley Scott's film. He has another short time on screen, but it is impactful once again thanks to his co-star.
When Rutger Hauer's Roy Batty visits his creator near the end of the film and demands an extension to his four-year lifespan, Tyrell explains why he can't fulfill Batty's request. "The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy," he tells Hauer's character before one of the more shocking on-screen deaths, with Tyrell having his face crushed, with blood oozing out.
Before his death, Turkel finished his memoir The Misery of Success, and his family plans to release it later in the year. It is sure to be an interesting read for Kubrick fans or film fans.