M. Emmet Walsh, 'Blade Runner' and 'Knives Out' Actor, Dead at 88

The actor also played Dermot Mulroney's dad in 'My Best Friend's Wedding.'

M. Emmet Walsh, a character actor whose career spanned six decades, died on Tuesday of cardiac arrest, ET can confirm. He was 88.

According to his long-time manager, Sandy Joseph, Walsh died at Kerbs Memorial Hospital in St. Albans, Vermont.

The actor -- born on March 22, 1935 in Ogdensburg, New York, and raised in rural Swanton, Vermont -- is known for his work in theater, TV and film. He first made his onscreen debut in Alice’s Restaurant in 1969.

Of his other credits, Walsh portrayed Harrison Ford's Los Angeles Police Department boss in Ridley Scott's 1982 futuristic thriller, Blade Runner, and had a role in the Coen Brothers' 1984 movie, Blood Simple. He also played a corrupt local sheriff in the 1986 sci-fi horror film Critters, and was Dermot Mulroney's dad in the beloved 1997 rom-com My Best Friend's Wedding, starring Julia Roberts. 

M. Emmet Walsh in Blood Simple. - River Road Productions/Circle/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

He also appeared in 1970's Little Big Man with Dustin Hoffman, 1971's They Might Be Giants with Joanne Woodward and George C. Scott, 1972's What’s Up, Doc? with Ryan O'Neal and Barbra Streisand, 1977's Slap Shot with Paul Newman, 1978's Straight Time with Hoffman and 1979's The Jerk with Steve Martin.

As for TV, Walsh was a series regular on Sneaky Pete and The Mind of the Married Man and also had guest roles on Frasier, Home Improvement, The X-Files, NYPD Blue, Army Wives, Damages, McMillan & Wife, The Twilight Zone, The Bob Newhart Show, The Rockford Files and The Waltons. His voice was also used by Ken Burns in his PBS docuseries, The Civil War and Baseball. Walsh's other voice work included The Iron Giant and Pound Puppies.

E. Emmet Walsh and Patricia Richardson on Home Improvement. - ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

His work on Broadway began in 1969 when he starred alongside Al Pacino and Hal Holbrook in Does the Tiger Wear a Necktie?

More recently, Walsh played an elderly security guard in Rian Johnson's 2019 murder-mystery comedy, Knives Out, and also had parts in Brothers, God Loves the Green Bay Packers and The Righteous Gemstones.

Overall, he was in 119 films and 250 television productions, according to his manager.

Walsh's achievements don't stop there. In 2018, he was honored with the Carney Life Achievement Award, which was presented to him by Ford at the Carney Awards, known as the Character Actors Hall of Fame. He was also honored by the Breckenridge Festival of Film in 1998. That same year, Walsh also received The Golden Knight, Clarkson University’s highest alumni award.

Additionally, Walsh established the Blarney Fund Education Trust in 1979, which provides scholarships to Vermont students. 

Walsh is survived by his niece, Meagan Walsh, nephew, Kevin Walsh (Renee), and grandnephews, Emmet and Elliot. He was preceded in death by his father, Harry Maurice Walsh Sr., his mother, Agnes, and his brother, Harry Maurice Walsh, Jr.