Sam Bottoms


Actor
Sam Bottoms

About

Also Known As
Samuel John Bottoms
Birth Place
Santa Barbara, California, USA
Born
October 17, 1955
Died
December 16, 2008
Cause of Death
Brain Cancer

Biography

Sam Bottoms grew up in a family of actors. All three of his brothers have tried their hand at the craft, with brother Timothy ("Johnny Got His Gun," "The Last Picture Show") the most well known. Sam's career, however, was distinguished by Francis Ford Coppola's Vietnam War epic "Apocalypse Now," in which he played the California surfer turned riverboat gunner, Lance B. Johnson. The role ...

Biography

Sam Bottoms grew up in a family of actors. All three of his brothers have tried their hand at the craft, with brother Timothy ("Johnny Got His Gun," "The Last Picture Show") the most well known. Sam's career, however, was distinguished by Francis Ford Coppola's Vietnam War epic "Apocalypse Now," in which he played the California surfer turned riverboat gunner, Lance B. Johnson. The role of a So-Cal surfer was not far from Bottoms' real-life background; he had grown up as a surfer in Santa Barbara. Bottoms portrayed Johnson as a wide-eyed, eager-to-please greenhorn whose innocence seems to serve as his protection in the hostile jungle. Bottoms got his first acting job when he followed his brother down to the set of "The Last Picture Show." He was spotted hanging around, and wound up in the picture as Billy, the speech-impaired street sweeper. Bottoms also appeared in a couple of Clint Eastwood Westerns, "The Outlaw Josey Wales" and "Bronco Billy." He never really got to work on another film at the level of "Apocalypse Now," but he did have a solid career that, in later years, centered on television. He played Cal Trask in the TV miniseries version of "East of Eden" and guest-starred on episodes of "21 Jump Street," "Murder, She Wrote," and "NYPD Blue," among others. He died of a brain tumor at the age of 53.

Life Events

1971

First film appearance as the retarded Billy in Peter Bogdanovich's classic, "The Last Picture Show"; appeared in several scenes with older brother Timothy

1973

Garnered notice playing Marty in "The Class of 44"

1976

First collaboration with Clint Eastwood in "The Outlaw Josey Wales"

1979

Played hotshot PFC Lance in Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now"; co-starred Marlon Brando and Martin Sheen

1980

Again worked with Clint Eastwood on the Western comedy "Bronco Billy"

1981

Starred in the TV-miniseries remake of "East of Eden" as Cal Trask, while his brother Timothy played his father, Adam Trask

1987

Co-starred with brothers, Tim and Joseph Bottoms, in the short-lived TV pilot "Island Sons"

1987

Re-teamed with director Francis Ford Coppola, to play the more sober-sided Lt. Webber in "Gardens of Stone"

1997

Again collaborated with brother Joseph Bottoms in Philippe Mora's "Snide and Prejudice"

2003

Appeared in the Gary Ross directed drama "Seabiscuit"

2005

Cast in Anand Tucker's "Shopgirl"; film based on the novella by Steve Martin

2006

Played Maggie Gyllenhaal's father in the independent drama, "Sherrybaby"

Videos

Movie Clip

Last Picture Show, The (1971) - She Was Just A Girl High schooler Sonny (Timothy Bottoms), pal Billy (Sam Bottoms) in tow, with mentor Sam "The Lion" (Ben Johnson), reconciled after a disagreement, fishing outside town, in 1951 Texas, in Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show, 1971.
Last Picture Show, The (1971) - Too Rough For Me Opening scenes, Sonny (Timothy Bottons) in sleepy Anarene, TX, 1951, picks up pal Billy (brother, Sam Bottoms) and visits Sam (Ben Johnson) at the pool hall, who comments on last night's football game, in Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show, 1971.
Last Picture Show, The (1971) - Trashy Behavior Texas teen Sonny (Timothy Bottoms) and pals are ashamed, bringing mute Billy (Sam Bottoms) back to town after buying a prostitute for him, called out by pool hall and theater owner Sam (Academy Award winner Ben Johnson), in The Last Picture Show, 1971, Peter Bogdanovich directing, from Larry McMurtry's novel.
Outlaw Josey Wales, The (1976) - Whooped 'em Again! After escaping a slaughter by lawless Union troops in post-Civil War Missouri, a textbook horseback conversation from director and title character Clint Eastwood, with Sam Bottoms as his frightened protegè Jamie, preceding their horse-tackling stunt to avoid capture, in The Outlaw Josey Wales, 1976.
Outlaw Josey Wales, The (1976) - I've Got Nothing Better To Do Jamie (Sam Bottoms), alone among surrendering Missouri post-Civil War rebels, senses a trap, nasty Senator Lane (Frank Schofield) and turncoat Fletcher (John Vernon) behind it, and director and title character Clint Eastwood turning the tables, big-ly, in The Outlaw Josey Wales, 1976.

Bibliography