Today has brought the sad news that Sid Haig has died at the age of 80.
Most people today know Sid Haig as Captain Spaulding but Sid had a long career that reached back to the 60s. Before he was cast as Spaulding, Sid played a lot of what he called “stupid heavies,” inarticulate thugs who only existed to start fights and get beaten down by the heroes. Haig even retired briefly from acting in 1992 and turned down a chance to play Marcellus in Pulp Fiction because he thought it was just going to be another low-budget B-movie. Like many actors who were often cast as brainless characters, Sid was intelligent, funny, and poetic off-screen.
My favorite Sid Haig roles will always be Django, the guerrilla leader that he played in The Big Bird Cage. It was one of the many films that Haig did opposite Pam Grier and, for once, he got to be one of the good guys. Haig did much of his best work opposite Grier. Pulp Fiction even had the potential to be a Grier-Haig reunion film because, just as Sid was considered for Marcellus, Grier read for Mia. Quentin Tarantino eventually would bring them together again for Jackie Brown. Sid finally got to play a judge.
Sid Haig, RIP.