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Earl Boen, Actor in the ‘Terminator’ Films, Dies at 81

Earl Boen, the busy character actor best known for his stint as the criminal psychologist Peter Silberman in the Terminator film franchise, died Thursday in Hawaii, his daughter told The Hollywood Reporter. He was 81. 

Ruby Harbin said her dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in November and died quietly in his sleep.

Born on Aug. 8, 1941, Boen amassed dozens of credits during his career. In 1984, he landed his most notable role as Dr. Silberman in James Cameron’s The Terminator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Biehn. He reprised the role in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003). 

One memorable scene in the first Terminator saw the character interrogate Biehn’s Kyle Reese, a freedom fighter from the future that the psychologist believed suffered from paranoid delusions. Nearly 40 years later, Biehn recalled fondly his time working with Boen on the scene.

“He was a wonderful actor, and he was always fun to be around,” Biehn told THR, adding that Cameron “picked Earl because he was special.”

Boen’s other film credits include Battle Beyond the StarsThe Man With Two BrainsAlien NationNaked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult, Sioux City, The Companion, To Be or Not to Be, Walk Like a Man and The Prince.

As for television, he made appearances in such shows as The Golden Girls, Who’s the Boss?, Mama’s Family, The Law and Harry McGraw, Webster, Matlock, Scarecrow and Mrs. King and Boy Meets World.

After he retired from screen acting in 2003, he continued to work as a voice actor in radio, animated series and video games. Some of his credits in that arena include Mr. Bleakman in Clifford the Big Red Dog, Señor Senior Sr. in Kim Possible, LeChuck in the Tales of Monkey Island video games and the narrator in some World of Warcraft video games.

In addition to his daughter, survivors include his second wife, Cathy, and grandchildren Kimmy and Kimo. His first wife, Carole, died in 2001. 

Aaron Couch contributed to this report.



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