By Maureen Lee Lenker
January 22, 2020 at 07:30 PM EST
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Credit: Everett Collection

Jack Kehoe, the character actor known for his roles in the 1973 films Serpico and The Sting, died Jan. 4 at 85, his family announced Wednesday.

Kehoe, who enjoyed a 50-year career, had been inactive in recent years after suffering a debilitating stroke in 2015.

The actor scored some of his best of his roles throughout the 1970s, including that of Joe Erie, a.k.a. the Erie Kid, a grifter who’s part of Paul Newman and Robert Redford’s characters’ con game in the Best Picture winner The Sting. That same year he played cop Tom Keough in Sidney Lumet’s Serpico, opposite Al Pacino.

Other notable roles included the gas-pumping cowboy Scruggs in 1976’s Car Wash, marksman “Set Shot” Buford in 1979’s The Fish That Save Pittsburgh, Al Capone’s bookkeeper Walter Payne in 1987’s The Untouchables, and two-faced bail bondsman Jerry Geisler in 1988’s Midnight Run.

Kehoe was born Nov. 21, 1934, in the Astoria section of Queens. After high school, he served three years in the Army, before going on to work odd jobs while studying acting with renowned teacher Stella Adler.

He made his feature film debut as the bartender in The Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight in 1971. This came after notable performances on the New York stage, including a 1963 Broadway production of Edward Albee’s The Ballad of the Sad Cafe and Off Broadway productions of Bertolt Brecht’s Drums in the Night and Eugene O’Neill’s A Moon for the Misbegotten. In 1977, he reunited with Pacino for a Broadway production of David Rabe’s The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel.

Additional film and TV credits included The Friends of Eddie Coyle, Dick Tracy, Reds, Young Guns II,The Twilight Zone and Murder She Wrote.

Kehoe’s survivors include Sherry Smith, his companion of 40 years, as well as his nephew Michael Henry and niece Ronnie Henry and their families.

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