Morgan Paull, best known to sci-fi fans as the Blade Runner Holden, who appears in the opening scene of the movie, has died aged 67 after a short battle with stomach cancer.
The actor was originally hired by director Ridley Scott to simply perform in screen tests being filmed to film the lead actresses, but was soon given the brief but memorable role of Holden, who meets his end at hands of the replicant Leon. Paull recommended the casting of Daryl Hannah as Pris, but did advice Scott against giving Sean Young the role of Rachael.
Paull recalled the experience in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter:
“My agent called and said, ‘Would you stand in and do the tests for these girls?’I said, ‘Are you kidding?’ And he said, ‘Just do it.’ So I did it.
“Halfway through the tests, Ridley fell in love with me. He wanted me around all the time. He cast me as Holden, and whenever he had an idea, he’d say, ‘Hey, Morgan, what do you think of this?’ ”
As well as his brief but iconic Blade Runner appearance, Paull appeared in dozens of movies including Patton, Norma Rea, and TV shows including The F.B.I., Gunsmoke, The Waltons, Quincy M.E., McCloud, Black Sheep Squadron and Ironside.
Away from his on-screen career, Paull involved himself with Screen Actors Guild politics and also became a talent agent during the 80s.
Former Screen Actors Guild Vice President Kent McCord told The Hollywood Reporter:
“I knew Morgan long before we became friends. First, from his wonderful work as an actor and then as adversaries fighting for what we felt was the right direction for SAG to take during a time of change in the picture business. He has always been a straight shooter who said exactly what he thought. His love of acting and his love for the Screen Actors Guild were always what motivated his fight to protect actors wherever they worked. I’m going to miss him.”
Paull is survived by partner Jenny Elam, and daughters Melissa Paull and Kristen McCarthy Paull.