The Tall Man Passes – RIP Angus Scrimm

I’ve spent the better part of this morning processing the fact that the genre has lost yet another true icon. I awoke this day to the sad news that Angus Scrimm had passed, the Tall Man from Phantasm no longer walked this earth and like the films he starred in it seems almost surreal that he’s no longer with us. I didn’t know him personally but the Phantasm films were such a mainstay in my young horror viewing days that I certainly feel like he’s a part of my family. I think a lot of you can relate to that.

There are only a few film characters that I can truly recall seeing for the first time but Angus Scrimm’s Tall Man would be one of them. I clearly recall seeing Scrimm on the giant screen — very little make up — there was nothing grotesque about the Tall Man — just the expression, the gait, the voice. It was all Scrimm and for me that makes him even more of an icon than most, just that look and that booming voice. “BOOOYYYY!” I’ll never forget the first time I heard that.


The term iconic almost doesn’t do him justice and his portrayal in some ways actually defines the genre. What a legacy to leave.

Director and long time friend Don Coscarelli notified Entertainment Weekly via email:

“Angus Scrimm passed away peacefully tonight surrounded by his friends and loved one,” [His] performance as the Tall Man is a towering achievement in horror film history. He was the last in a long line of classic horror movie stars. He was a terrific actor and an even better friend. He will be missed.”

Angus Scrimm
Image from ( Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times )

Angus Scrimm was 89 years old.

In the coming days and weeks tributes and remembrances will be flooding the net but for today lets just remember a kind, gentle and gifted man who with immense talent and just a little glee forever changed the lives of a generation of genre fans.

RIP Angus Scrimm.

Dave Dreher
Co-Founder / Lead News Reporter at Gruesome Magazine
Dave is co-founder and lead news reporter for Gruesome. Dave has built his resume working for Diabolique Magazine, The Horror Channel,, House of Horrors and Creature Corner. He has worked with Tom Savini on his official site since 1997 and is also co-host of the popular podcast Horror News Radio.