'Deliverance' actor Herbert 'Cowboy' Coward killed in crash

Friday, January 26, 2024
'Deliverance' actor Herbert 'Cowboy' Coward dies at age 85
Herbert Coward, who played the Toothless Man in "Deliverance", was killed in a crash Wednesday in Haywood County.

NORTH CAROLINA -- Actor Herbert 'Cowboy' Coward known for his role in "Deliverance" has died at the age of 85.

According to the North Carolina Highway Patrol, the crash happened at about 3:30 p.m. on U.S. 19/23. Troopers said Coward left a doctor's office and was hit by a pickup truck driven by a 16-year-old. Both Coward and his girlfriend 78-year-old Bertha Brooks were killed, along with the couple's chihuahua and Coward's pet squirrel.

Troopers told ABC11 affiliate WLOS that neither Coward nor Brooks were wearing seat belts.

NCSHP said speed was not a factor in the crash and no charges have been filed.

Coward had a small but memorable role in John Boorman's 1972 classic "Deliverance." The film starred Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, and Ronny Cox as a group of businessmen canoeing down a river in remote Georgia. Their adventure turns into a backwoods nightmare when local mountain men assault them.

Coward's character, known as the "Toothless Man" for his missing front teeth, is one of the men who hold several of the paddlers at gunpoint during the assault. Coward became the indelible face to one of the most infamous scenes in 1970s cinema, contributing the line, "He got a real purty mouth, ain't he?"

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Featured video is from a previous report

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