Photo of the Week
“Billy Jack” admired in Indian Country
THOUSAND OAKS, CALIFORNIA — Monday night’s article about the death of Tom Laughlin, who is best known in Indian country as Billy Jack, published in the Native News Online became its most read story this past week.
Laughlin passed away on December 12, near his home in Thousand Oaks, California. He was 82 years old.
Many of our readers’ comments concentrated on their appreciation to Laughlin for opening the eyes about American Indian culture and issues. Several readers mentioned seeing the film, “Billy Jack,” decades ago as teenagers. Some mentioned seeing “Billy Jack” numerous times. Elvis Presley reportedly watched the film nine times.
One particular comment sums up many sentiments shared in Indian country: “His love for the Natives and his voice and his fight for the Natives made him a brother of the native people! That is why so many of the Native people are honoring Tom Laughlin (Billy Jack) in his journey to the Great Spirit world.”
Laughlin is survived by his wife of 62 years, Delores Taylor, who played the character Jean in the Billy Jack movies. One reader commented that she noticed the longevity of their marriage, which she thought was as impressive as his Billy Jack roles. Given Hollywood’s standard in rates of marriage survival, the reader is correct.
In all Laughlin starred in and directed four films—over the course of a decade—in a series about the iconic character Billy Jack. They included: “The Born Losers,” a 1967 biker movie; “Billy Jack” in 1971; and “The Trial of Billy Jack” in 1974. A fourth film, “Billy Jack Goes to Washington,” had only a limited release after its production in 1977.
With the major impression Tom Laughlin, aka – Billy Jack, had in and out of Indian country, his photo becomes Native News Online’s Photo of the Week.
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