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Beetlejuice Actors You Might Not Know Passed Away

What happens when we die? According to Tim Burton's classic 1988 supernatural comedy "Beetlejuice," departed souls are subject to an endless postmortem bureaucracy, where those who died by suicide are cursed to be receptionists and case workers; where the dead are guided by a handbook written in impenetrable legalese; where a vast extradimensional desert full of giant two-headed sandworms lurks just outside of a ghost's designated haunting grounds; and where those who are sick of living with the living can summon a "freelance bio-exorcist" by saying his name three times.

"Beetlejuice" was only Burton's second feature film, but already his sensibilities are fully formed and on display, from its kid-scary creature design to its midcentury kitsch (courtesy of Harry Belafonte) to Danny Elfman's antic score. The film made a star of Michael Keaton as the eponymous spookster, paving the way for his and Burton's collaboration on "Batman" the following year, and bolstered the careers of co-stars Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Winona Ryder, and Catherine O'Hara.

Being a decades-old film concerned with the afterlife, it's only natural, though still tragic, that some of its actors are no longer with us. Here's a list of "Beetlejuice" actors you might not know passed away.

Hugo Stanger

Character actor Hugo Stanger appears early in the film as Bill (listed in the credits as "Old Bill"), the barber whose shop shares a building with the hardware store owned by the Maitlands (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis). When Adam Maitland (Baldwin) stops into the store to pick something up during his and Barbara's (Davis) staycation, Bill sees him and starts in on a story about their house's foundation, and is still talking (to no one in particular) after Adam leaves. It's a fun bit of local color, showing off Adam and Barbara's small town New England life, just before it quite literally ends.

Born in 1901, Stanger came to acting later in life; other than a few credits from the 1950s, he didn't establish himself as a screen actor until the early 1980s, when he himself was in his eighties. As such, many of his roles have names like "Grandfather" in the raunchy video arcade comedy "Joysticks," or "Old Man" in the Burt Lancaster-Kirk Douglas film "Tough Guys." His final two roles, in "Beetlejuice" and the Demi Moore apocalypse thriller "The Seventh Sign" were released the same week in 1988. Stanger passed away in January 1990 ion Los Angeles (per IMDb).

Jack Angel

Longtime voice actor Jack Angel voices Preacher, the short ghostly clergyman with an oversized, desiccated head who presides over Beetlejuice's attempted marriage to Lydia Deetz (Winona Ryder) at the climax of the film. Angel only provided the intonations of Preacher, however; the actor seen on screen is Tony Cox, perhaps best known for his supporting role in the "Bad Santa" series.

Angel got his start on the radio before moving to film and television voiceover roles starting in the mid-1970s. He voiced DC superheroes Samurai, The Flash, and Hawkman on multiple "Super Friends" series throughout the 1970s and '80s, as well as King Zarkon on over 120 episodes of "Voltron: Defender of the Universe." He was a fixture of The Disney Afternoon, voicing characters on "TaleSpin" and "Darkwing Duck," and was featured in a number of Disney and Pixar films, including the "Toy Story" series and "Lilo and Stitch." In 2001 he voiced Teddy in Steven Spielberg's dystopian "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence." The author of two books on the art of voiceover, Angel was a leader in his field, and his life was recently celebrated at a "Transformers" fan convention in March 2022; he died in October 2021, less than a week before his 91st birthday.

Carmen Filpi

When Adam and Barbara travel from their attic to the other side, they find themselves in a waiting room alongside other deceased oddballs, such as a hunter with a shrunken head, a smoker who incinerated himself, and a magician's assistant who was actually cut in half. The character designs, courtesy of makeup artist Robert Short, are all wonderfully macabre, particularly the afterlife employee played by Carmen Filpi, who was literally flattened in a car accident — complete with tire marks running the length of his two-dimensional body.

Like his co-star Hugo Stanger, Massachusetts native Filpi got a later start in acting, making his film debut at age 46 in the 1969 exploitation flick "Wild Gypsies." He made dozens of film and television appearances over the decades, the kind of actor you might recognize from an episode of "Barney Miller" or "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" without necessarily knowing his name. His collaborations with Tim Burton began with Burton's feature debut "Pee Wee's Big Adventure," where Filpi played Hobo Jack, whose incessant folk singing causes Pee Wee (Paul Reubens) to throw himself from a moving train. Filpi would appear in several more Burton films, as well as the first "Wayne's World" and the Adam Sandler vehicles "The Wedding Singer" and "Eight Crazy Nights." He died in 2003 at age 80.

Simmy Bow

After being dropped off by Carmen Filpi's messenger, Adam and Barbara enter a dark, blue-tinted room of various doors and windows leading to who knows where. When a window shade unexpectedly pops up to reveal decayed spirits floating in an infinite void, a janitor played by Simmy Bow ominously explains that these are ghosts who have been exorcised by the living. "That's death for the dead."

The Chicago-born Bow, like Filpi, was making his sophomore appearance in a Tim Burton film. He had previously struck a similarly creepy tone in "Pee Wee's Big Adventure," where his nameless diner patron tells Pee Wee the story of Large Marge, the ghostly trucker who had just given Pee Wee a lift he'll never forget. Bow had appeared in small roles in the original "Rocky" and the 1980 "Jaws" ripoff "Alligator," but most of his work was on television, going all the way back to an episode of "Get Smart" in 1968. Over the next twenty years he would appear on "Happy Days," "Baretta," "Night Court," and "Sledge Hammer!," among many others. "Beetlejuice" would unfortunately turn out to be his final role. He died in December 1987 of complications from a stroke, about five months or so before the film premiered.

Patrice Martinez

When Adam and Barbara arrive in the afterlife waiting room, they are chided for their lack of preparation (no appointment, hadn't read the handbook, didn't know what they were here to do exactly) by a blue-skinned receptionist played by actress Patrice Martinez. Like the poor souls in her waiting room, the harried, overworked receptionist is stuck in the condition her body was upon her death, which in her case means she is wearing a 1950s pageant gown and a "Miss Argentina" sash. The sickly pallor of her skin is explained by her "little accident," as she calls it: A pair of slashed wrists that have doomed her to an eternity of filing paperwork for the deceased.

Raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Martinez got her start as a teenager in the Sam Peckinpah trucker flick "Convoy." After high school she attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, and in 1986 she played the female lead in the Steve Martin/Chevy Chase/Martin Short Western comedy "Three Amigos." She co-starred in a syndicated series based on "Zorro" in the early 1990s, but only made a handful of appearances after that show ended in 1993. Her final role was in a 1999 episode of the Lorenzo Lamas series "Air America." Martinez passed away in December 2018; her mother Margarita died just a few months later.

Robert Goulet

Singer and Broadway legend Robert Goulet appears in the film as Maxie Dean, a New York bigwig whom Charles Deetz (Jeffrey Jones) hopes to rope into an investment scheme by luring he and his wife (Maree Cheatham) with the promise of two real ghosts. But when Adam and Barbara don't show up, the Deetzes' odious interior designer Otho (Glenn Shadix) stages an impromptu exorcism. Only Beetlejuice can save them, which he does in part by knocking Maxie and his wife through the ceiling via a giant carnival game.

Goulet got his start in show business in the late 1950s, and in 1960 he was cast in his signature role, as Lancelot in Lerner and Lowe's hit musical "Camelot." A year later he signed to Columbia records as a singer and won the Grammy for Best New Artist. By 1970, however, he put his recording career aside to focus on acting and touring. Over the years he starred in touring productions of "Man of La Mancha" and "South Pacific," was a perennial favorite on stage in Las Vegas, and won acclaim for television productions of "Brigadoon" and "Carousel." Outside of musicals, he starred in the short-lived World War II series "Blue Light" in 1966 and appeared on a number of episodes of "Fantasy Island." He often lampooned his own image (and so did Will Ferrell), playing himself on episodes of "Mr. Belvedere" and "The Simpsons," commercials and movies like "Scrooged." Goulet returned to Broadway late in life as one of the leads in "La Cage Aux Folles." He died in October 2007 at age 73.

Sylvia Sidney

After a trip through afterlife bureaucracy that apparently takes three months, Adam and Barbara finally meet their case worker Juno, played by 1930s starlet turned showbiz lifer Sylvia Sidney. Juno, as with most social workers on either side of the great divide, is overworked, likely underpaid, and has little patience for the Maitlands' cluelessness about how the whole being dead thing works. Even in the afterlife she still enjoys cigarettes, as smoke plumes from the apparently self-inflicted slash across her neck.

Born Sophia Kosow in the Bronx, Sidney made her stage debut at age 15 and her film debut two years later in the 1927 film "Broadway Nights." She was a fixture of the silver screen in the 1930s, starring in Alfred Hitchcock's "Sabotage" and working with famed director Fritz Lang on "Fury" and "You Only Live Once." After spending much of the 1940s on stage, Sidney embraced television and appeared frequently throughout the medium's golden age. Her work in the 1960s and '70s slowed down, but only by comparison to her earlier prodigious output; she was still a consistent guest star on "Starsky and Hutch," "Ryan's Hope," and many more. She remained a working actress up until her death in 1999, appearing in the films "Used People" and Burton's "Mars Attacks," as well as the short-lived Malcolm McDowell reboot of "Fantasy Island."

Glenn Shadix

Glenn Shadix's Otho is perhaps best personified by his action figure name: Otho the Obnoxious. Delia's (Catherine O'Hara) ally in avant garde interior design, the haughty, single-named Otho looks down his nose at everyone and is seemingly an expert in everything; he was a hair analyst, did a stint with The Living Theatre, and was a paranormal researcher in the early '70s, according to himself. He is always decked in the hippest clothes the late '80s could muster, which is why Beetlejuice saves for him the cruelest cut of all: A powder-blue leisure suit.

Alabama-born Shadix had just a couple of small roles before "Beetlejuice," appearing in an episode of "The Golden Girls" and the 1981 Jack Nicholson-led remake of "The Postman Always Rings Twice." After playing Otho, he remained friends with Tim Burton, voicing the mayor in "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and an orangutan in Burton's 2001 "Planet of the Apes" remake. He reunited with co-stars Winona Ryder in "Heathers" and Michael Keaton in "Multiplicity," and made many appearances on sitcoms and animated series throughout the 1990s. The 2000s saw his output decrease, though he still booked recurring roles on the HBO prestige series "Carnivale" and Cartoon Network's "Teen Titans." The final years of his life were beset with health issues and personal tragedies, including a fire that destroyed his Alabama mansion in 2008. He died in 2010 from blunt force trauma caused by a fall.