RIP: Memphis Actor John Malloy


John Malloy as King Lear (L) with Jazzy Miller. And as Jones (R) in "Cannery Row."
  • John Malloy as King Lear (L) with Jazzy Miller. And as Jones (R) in "Cannery Row."

I'm really going to miss getting the random "catching up" phone call from Memphis actor John Malloy.

Malloy, who passed away this week at the age of 82, was a character actor's character actor, as comfortable on stage as he was in front of a camera. He played one of the lovable bum's in the 1982 film adaptation of John Steinbeck's Cannery Row with Nick Nolte and Debra Winger, and appeared in a number of other films such as Black Snake Moan, Hoffa, and My Blueberry Nights. Malloy also taught theater classes for the University of Memphis' Continuing Education program. " 


I only had the pleasure of working with Malloy once, in a rough and tumble production of Shakespeare's Henry V, produced in the beer garden of the Tennessee Brewery. The gruff-edged actor loved Shakespeare, and loved acting as much as anyone I've ever seen. He told the best backstage stories and was incredibly patient as a certain young actor (turned theater critic) asked endless questions about McNary Co. Sheriff Buford Pusser and the drive-in movie classic, Walking Tall: The Final Chapter. 

If you don't know about Pusser and the Walking Tall Movies, this is as good a place as any to start. 

In the final installment of the original Walking Tall trilogy, Malloy played Mel, a Hollywood producer who comes to Tennessee to make a movie about Pusser's tragic life and crime-fighting exploits. 

Here's the scene where Mel meets Buford. I especially enjoy how believably Bo Svenson, the actor playing Pusser, delivers the line, "huh?" Enjoy it. And rest in peace John Malloy, you were one of a kind. 


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