Sam Bottoms is remembered by most as Lance B. Johnson, the surfing soldier in Apocalypse Now and as the mute boy in The Last Picture Show. Those two performances alone should have pushed him to the next level, but for whatever reason, his career ended with sub-par made-for-television movies and forgettable straight-to-video productions.
Clint Eastwood seemed to be the only person with power who was aware of his talents, casting him in supporting roles in two of his films, The Outlaw Josey Wales and Bronco Billy. Sam Bottoms certainly had the talent, good looks and charm to go far, but like so many others that are profiled in this blog, he was never rewarded what he deserved.
In 2008, Sam Bottoms died of a brain tumor at the young age of 53, stealing any chance of landing that one role that would get him back on the A-list. Shame on you Hollywood. You never seem to know what you have until it's gone.