LOS ANGELES — Gervase Duan “G.D.” Spradlin, a character actor best known for playing authority figures in television and films, including “The Godfather: Part II” and “Apocalypse Now,” has died. He was 90.
Spradlin died of natural causes at his cattle ranch in San Luis Obispo, Calif., on Sunday, said his grandson, Justin Demko.
A former oil company lawyer and millionaire independent oil producer who didn’t begin acting until he was in his 40s, the tall and lean Oklahoma native played his share of doctors, ministers, judges, military officers and historical figures during his more than 30-year acting career.
He portrayed President Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1985 TV miniseries “Robert Kennedy & His Times” and President Andrew Jackson in the 1986 TV movie “Houston: The Legend of Texas.”
He also played an admiral in the 1988 TV miniseries “War and Remembrance” and was a pro football coach in the 1979 film “North Dallas Forty” and a college basketball coach in the 1977 film “One on One.”
His breakthrough movie role as a character actor was as corrupt Nevada Sen. Pat Geary in director Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather: Part II” in 1974.
Five years later, Spradlin was the Army general who sent Martin Sheen’s Capt. Willard up river to find and kill Marlon Brando’s Col. Kurtz in Coppola’s Vietnam War movie “Apocalypse Now.”
Spradlin, whose other film credits include “The War of the Roses” and “Ed Wood,” retired from acting after playing Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee in the 1999 comedy “Dick.”