Bad news from the state capital... Actor Lou Perryman -- who played Claude in Eagle Pennell's 1983 Houston-shot film Last Night at the Alamo -- was stabbed to death April 1 in his South Austin home. Perryman was 68. A suspect is in custody.
Perryman's most prominent role nationally was as L.G. McPeters in Texas Chainsaw Massacre II, but he also had bit parts in The Blues Brothers and Boys Don't Cry.
For Houstonians, though, he'll always be remembered as Claude, the hard-drinking, foul-mouthed, henpecked patron at the doomed, blue-collar Harrisburg Street bar in Last Night at the Alamo (Perryman also co-starred in Pennell's The Whole Shootin' Match.) Perryman stole numerous scenes from lead Sonny Carl Davis in what is perhaps the number one cult classic in Houston's (admittedly skimpy) film history.
Its tagline was also memorable: "Some face the future head-on. Tonight the boys at the Alamo face it dead drunk." Those words would prove prophetic in the case of Pennell, whose alcoholism derailed his once promising career. Pennell died in the summer of 2002; this writer saw him in a dive bar swilling white Russians and clutching his liver days before his demise. The Press's Steve McVicker caught up with Pennell mid-spiral.
For his part, Perryman's roles were never again as prominent, but he scratched out a partial living as an actor in Austin over the last few decades, filling in the gaps by driving a taxi. It's hard to find anyone who ever spoke ill of the tall teddy bear of a man. Police are still trying to find the motive in his slaying, but the suspect is a mentally ill 21-year-old with a violent criminal past, so there might not have been much of one.
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Perryman's daughter posted this one her late father's web page: "He was a wonderful man and was so happy to have you all in his life. He was blessed."