Dennis Burkley, 'King of the Hill' actor, dies
Dennis Burkley, 'King of the Hill' actor, dies, Actor Dennis Burkley, best known for his work on "King of the Hill," died in his Los Angeles home at age 67 after combating health issues, according to his son Shawn. Burkley voiced the role of Carl Moss, the middle school principal on the long-running animated Fox series.
At 6'3" and for some time weighing over 300 pounds, Burkley was a physically imposing figure whom friends called "Big D," according to the Hollywood Reporter, although the paper noted he had shed weight in recent years.
In a career that included more than 130 film and TV credits, Burkley's roles were often tied to his large size and beard. The actor was in semi-retirement when he died, according to CNN.
His agent David Ankum told CNN, "Dennis could do both comedy and drama, and he had a tender side — he didn't look it, but he did."
Born in Van Nuys, Calif., Burkley was discovered in 1976 when he was working as a pool cleaner at the home of "Five Easy Pieces" director Bob Rafelson, who gave him his first role in "Stay Hungry." The movie starred another then-unknown, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
He co-starred on a 1980 "Sanford and Son" reboot called "Sanford," which lasted only one season. Another memorable role for Burkley was as the mute biker Dozer in "Mask."
Among the 62 films he acted in were "Tin Cup" and "The Doors" and his TV credits include appearances on "Starsky and Hutch," "Maude," "The Dukes of Hazzard," "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air," and "Hill Street Blues," according to his website.
In addition to teaching an acting class, Burkley directed an independent film about acting students, called "Repetition," in 2005. The Hollywood Reporter said he appeared in 35 episodes of King of the Hill, which went off the air in 2008 after 13 seasons.
Burkley is survived by his wife Laura, their son Shawn, and their daughter Shannan.