Robert Swan, 'Hoosiers' and 'The Untouchables' Actor, Dead at 78

robert swan in the untouchables
Paramount Pictures

The actor died of liver cancer at his home in Rolling Prairie, Indiana.

Actor Robert Swan, best known for roles in The Untouchables, Hoosiers, The Babe, and more, died on Wednesday. He was 78.

Swan died after a battle with liver cancer, a family friend confirmed to multiple outlets

Born in Chicago, Swan got his start in local theater -- earning three Joseph Jefferson Award nominations -- before his first film appearance in the 1980 film Somewhere in Time. He continued to work in film and television throughout his career, playing a Mountie captain in The Untouchables in 1987, and Deputy Napalatoni in 1994's Natural Born Killers.

Two of his most high-profile roles came in sports movies. He played Rollin Butcher, the assistant coach to Gene Hackman's Norman Dale in the 1986 high school basketball drama Hoosiers, and in 1992’s The Babe -- which starred John Goodman in the titular role -- he played Babe Ruth’s father, George Herman Ruth Sr.

Swan was also the founder of Harbor Country Opera, a Michigan-based opera house known for its annual Christmas show. When the show had to be canceled for the first time last year -- due to dangerous blizzard conditions -- Swan released a personal statement.

"This is a first for me as a performer myself. I have never in 50+ years in show business missed a show," he said, via the South Bend Tribune. "Last year, even COVID couldn't stop us. So, instead of the gift of music, we give the gift of safety, and our thanks for your support. We'll be back next year for Christmas, and for a full slate of shows in the warmer months. Stay tuned and stay warm."

Swan is survived by his wife, two brothers, a sister-in-law, and three nephews.