Home / News / ‘Hoosiers’ actor Robert Swan dies at 78

‘Hoosiers’ actor Robert Swan dies at 78


Actor Robert Swan, who starred in “Untouchables”, “Hoosiers” and “The Babe”, has passed away. He was 78 years old.

Swan’s best friend, Betty Hoeffner, confirmed to The Times that the actor died in his sleep at his Indiana home on Wednesday, after a long battle with cancer.

Swan is best known for playing a Canadian Horse captain in Brian De Palma’s “The Untouchables,” an Indian farmer and father of two in David Anspaugh’s sports drama “Hoosiers,” and baseball master Babe Ruth in “The Babe.”

Born on October 20, 1944, Swan started out in the entertainment world as a singer, bringing his bass baritone talents to various choirs in Illinois. Her work with the Lyric Opera and Chicago Symphony in her 20s eventually led to her stage roles.

In the 1970s, Swan performed with actors Shelley Berman and Robert Conrad at the Little Theater on the Square in Illinois. She starred in the Broadway production of “The Freedom of the City” in 1974.

Years later, Swan had a small role in the 1980s movie “Somewhere in Time.” Acting jobs – film and TV – continued to come in the following years, including Daniel Petrie’s 1984 film “The Dollmaker” starring Jane Fonda.

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In 1986, Swan shared the screen with Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey, Dennis Hopper, and Sheb Wooley in the basketball drama “Hoosiers.” He eventually appeared as Indiana farmer Rollin Butcher, assistant coach to Hackman’s coach Norman Dale.

In the ’90s, Swan appeared in a number of high-profile films, including Quentin Tarantino’s “Natural Born Killers” and Ron Howard’s “Backdraft.” In 1993, Swan and Anspaugh reunited for another sports drama called “Rudy,” starring Sean Astin.

Swan’s additional credits include “Who’s That Girl”, “Backdraft” and “Going All the Way”. She also starred in the TV series “Missing Persons”, “The Twilight Zone” and “Equalizer”.

When Swan’s career fell into recession in the early hours, she turned her efforts into voiceovers. She recorded movie trailers, commercials, and promotions for various products.

Swan was also an opera singer who founded the Harbor Country Opera in Minnesota, which performed “The Magic Flute”, “Les Misérables” and “The Phantom of the Opera”.

He is survived by his wife Barbara, brothers David and Charles, aunt Elizabeth, nephews Christopher, Bryan and Daniel, and two dogs.

A celebration of life, Swan’s script is set to include a reading of “The Saint and the Low,” but further details have yet to be revealed.


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