More bad news is coming in this week as it’s been reported that veteran actor John Mahon has passed away. Known for his roles in movies like The Exorcist and L.A. Confidential, Mahon has been working steadily in movies and television for almost five decades. According to his son, Joseph Mahon, Mahon died of natural causes at his Los Angeles home on May 3, though the family has only just announced the sad news this week. The accomplished actor was 82 years old.
John Patrick Mahon was born on February 2, 1938, in the Pennsylvania town of Scranton. Married twice, Mahon had two children, a son and a daughter, during his second marriage to Margaret Jean Street before the pair divorced in 2011. After Mahon’s death, son Joseph spoke about the kind of person he was with a statement about his father’s life. “He had the ability to fill a room with energy, and was generally found doing his best to make those around him laugh,” Joseph says. “He was generous and empathetic, always rooting for the underdog. He cherished his friendships, adored his family, and will be missed by many.”
A veteran actor with dozens of movie and television roles and a career lasting nearly fifty years, Mahon’s very first role is also among his most famous. In 1973, he made his film debut by appearing in the classic horror movie The Exorcist from director William Friedkin. In the popular movie, Mahon played a language lab director, and the character was featured in a memorable scene wherein he determines the creepy demonic gibberish uttered by the possessed girl (Linda Blair) to actually be English spoken in reverse. In the scene, Mahon shared the screen with his actor Jason Miller, with whom he’d previously performed alongside in an Off Broadway production.
Some of Mahon’s most well-known roles include that of a police chief in the 1997 action movie L.A. Confidential alongside Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey, and Guy Pearce; a police captain in the the 2007 thriller Zodiac, based on the real-life Zodiac Killer; and the NATO Colonel in the classic Mike Myers comedy movie Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Mahon has also appeared in a handful of other movies, including Armageddon, The People Under the Stairs, and One False Move. He has even more of a variety of television show credits, with Mahon appearing in shows like Frasier, Kojack, Knight Rider, The X-Files, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
In 2014, Mahon published the memoir A Life of Make Believe: From Paralysis to Hollywood. The book details his diagnosis of poliomyelitis as a child, which left him paralyzed for nine months. Mahon never regained full use of his left arm and was seen as an inspiration and mentor for other actors working with disabilities. Despite his challenges, Mahon had a lot of success and did a lot of good in his life, and he will be sorely missed. Our thoughts go out to the family at this time. Rest in peace. This news comes to us from Deadline.