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Why Johnny Tyler From Tombstone Looks So Familiar

"Tombstone" is one of the most iconic western movies of the 20th century. It stars some of the most well-known Hollywood actors at the time, including Val Kilmer, Bill Paxton, Dana Delany, and Kurt Russell. The movie's plot was based on the history, rumors, and legends of some of the Wild West's most famous outlaws, not the least of which included people like Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp. Although many of the figures depicted in the movie actually did exist once upon a time, "Tombstone" was certainly more of an entertaining Hollywood reimagining of their lives, as opposed to a depiction of true history. Nonetheless, the film was critically successful and widely loved by audiences.

In the film, Johnny Tyler is a would-be gambling tycoon whose business gets interrupted when the Earps and friends come into town and usurp him. Even though Tyler is a relatively minor character in the overall film, you have definitely seen the actor who portrays him in many, many other roles before. And his very strong, prestigious career shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

Billy Bob Thornton played Karl Childers in Sling Blade

In case you haven't guessed it yet, the actor in question is none other than Billy Bob Thornton, and one of his earliest, best-known parts was playing Carl Childers in "Sling Blade." The protagonist, who possesses an intellectual disability, murders his mother and her lover at 12 years old and spends most of his life in a psychiatric hospital. Following his release back into the outside world, he forms a friendship with a mother and her young son. 

Thornton didn't just start in "Sling Blade" — he also directed it and wrote the screenplay, which he adapted from previous creative works of his. The film performed spectacularly well and took audiences by storm. Thornton ended up getting an Academy Award for the screenplay he wrote, and was also nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (via IMDb) which, sadly, he didn't win. 

Billy Bob Thornton starred alongside Halle Berry in Monster's Ball

The 2001 film "Monster's Ball" was historic, in that Halle Berry became the first — and so far, only — Black American woman to win an Academy Award for Best Actress. Her obvious shock and tearful acceptance speech was a particularly memorable part of the ceremony. 

The film itself depicts the characters of Leticia Musgrove (Berry) and Hank Grotowski (Billy Bob Thornton) falling in love — but this occurs several years after Hank, a corrections officer at the local prison, carries out the execution of her incarcerated husband.

"Monster's Ball" is a complex movie, and is still remembered for its many layers. As much as people might want to feel sorry for Leticia, instances of her committing child abuse make viewers less than sympathetic. And audiences may dislike Hank at the beginning of the movie for being abusive towards his own sons, but when he reveals his softer side towards Leticia and gives her a place to stay, it shows that his character actually has redeeming qualities. The movie still has an 85% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Billy Bob Thornton put the 'bad' in Bad Santa

Billy Bob Thornton went on to star in the dark comedy "Bad Santa," in which he played Willy T. Soke, a hard-drinking, sex-addicted professional thief who takes a job as a department store Santa while also plotting to rob the place. Hijinks ensue, and at one point, Willie befriends a young boy who is being tortured by bullies. 

His friendship with the young boy pulls him back from the brink of suicide, and after he is shot by police trying to deliver him a Christmas present, he is cleared of all charges so that the department can save face.

Over a decade later, Thornton reprised his role in the movie's sequel, "Bad Santa 2." The movie takes Willie on a journey to Chicago where his verbally cruel mother talks him into robbing a charity. The young boy from the first movie is all grown up now, and travels to Chicago to be with Willie for Christmas — because Willie is basically the only family he has left. After his mother betrays him and tries to take all of the money for herself, he rats her out to the cops and, once again, gets absolved of all charges for his cooperation. Near the end of the movie, he accepts the young boy as family and gets a job as a janitor at the charity he tried to rob, so that the two of them can continue to live together in the same city.

Billy Bob Thornton coached the Permian High Panthers in Friday Night Lights

In real life, high school football in Texas is a cultural phenomenon. People sometimes take their enthusiasm to the extreme, celebrating their young local athletes as much — or more — than professional adult football players. The film "Friday Night Lights" is based on this reality. The pressure for high school athletes to perform well is palpable, especially in rural areas of Texas where parents and older family members may put pressure on kids to earn an athletic scholarship and eventually drag their family out of poverty. "Friday Night Lights" exposes and tackles a lot of these issues — and the most compelling thing of all is that it's based on a true story. 

The plot revolves around the football team of Permian High School in Odessa, Texas in the late 1980s. Here, Billy Bob Thornton played the football coach who desperately wants his team to succeed. His character, Gary Gaines, makes some questionable coaching choices throughout the course of the movie that almost get him fired from his job. Nonetheless, his team makes it to the playoffs and they eventually face off against the rival Dallas Carter High School for the championship. Throughout this process, the life lessons that the characters learn are just as valuable — if not more so — than winning.

Billy Bob Thornton was Lorne Malvo in the TV adaptation of Fargo

The 1996 Cohen Brothers film "Fargo" was a cult success, featuring many big Hollywood names doing their best Minnesota accents, as a pregnant police chief tries to catch the inept murderers behind the kidnapping of a used car salesman's wife. It would later go on to not only be entered into the National Film Registry of the United States (via Reuters), but also be adapted for television on the FX Network.

Billy Bob Thornton was only in the first season of the TV adaptation, but it was an impactful performance nonetheless. He played the malevolent villain Lorne Malvo, a sociopathic contract killer and con man who has sympathy — and sometimes, even, admiration — for the people who are smart enough and tenacious enough to successfully come after him. He has very little faith in humanity and points to the beastly actions of humankind as justification for swindling and murdering people. 

Billy Bob Thornton is the star of Goliath

"Goliath" is a legal drama from Amazon Studios, which features Billy Bob Thornton in a much less malevolent television role than some of his previous work. He plays a formerly disgraced lawyer named Billy McBride, seeking justice for the wrongs which were not only committed against him, but everyone else who is currently searching for truth and justice amid the corruption in the American legal system. However, troubles with McBride's drinking habits — as well as his estranged family — make his efforts that much more complicated throughout the series.

Thus far, "Goliath" has proven to be a big hit, with Rotten Tomatoes showing it with a brag-worthy 82% approval rating from critics (though the average audience score is 65%). On top of that, the show has been nominated for several Satellite Awards, and Thornton even won a Golden Globe Award in 2017 for best actor in a television series drama, according to IMDb.