The Only Major Actors Still Alive From Dirty Harry


In 1971, Clint Eastwood’s Harry Callahan saved San Francisco from a theatrical serial killer while simultaneously establishing the “loose canon” genre of cop movies. “Dirty Harry” saw Andrew Robinson’s Scorpio Killer sniping innocent Franciscans before he’s taken down by Eastwood’s lone wolf cop, in a film that caused significant controversy upon its release with many critics accusing it of being fascist propaganda. As time has gone on, the prevailing view of the film has become much more favorable, and “Dirty Harry” is now considered easily one of the best films of the 1970s, and even 21st century as a whole.

That’s a good thing, because despite the fact that Eastwood’s cavalier inspector appears to be a walking endorsement of police brutality and extreme right-wing values, the movie as a whole should leave any discerning viewer conflicted and reflective. After all, director Don Siegel obviously went to great lengths to draw a parallel between Callahan’s violent nature and the Scorpio Killer’s depraved deeds.

But too often, the conversation surrounding “Dirty Harry” becomes mired in the film’s supposed politics and totally overlooks the fact that this is one hell of an action thriller. Eastwood’s first outing as Harry Callahan remains as gripping as it was when it first arrived in 1971, with Siegel making excellent use of the San Francisco backdrop to deliver an unforgettable adventure.

For these reasons, “Dirty Harry” will always be remembered as one of the greats, long after the people involved with its production have passed on. It’s now been a good 50-odd years since the movie first debuted, during which time many of the cast and crew have indeed departed. With that in mind, here’s a rundown of who’s still knocking about half a century after “Dirty Harry” was released.

Clint Eastwood (Inspector Harry Callahan)

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This one’s no secret. Clint Eastwood, Dirty Harry himself, simply refuses to give up the ghost, as if death is merely another one of the many punks that tried and failed to challenge the legendary Harry Callahan. “Dirty Harry” would be nothing without its hot-headed and insubordinate protagonist, and Eastwood played him with characteristic ease while remaining scintillatingly intense throughout.

We’re all well aware of the now 93-year-old Eastwood’s ongoing presence in Hollywood, not just as an actor but as an accomplished director. In 1971, the same year “Dirty Harry” debuted, the legendary star made his directorial debut with “Play Misty for Me” and has remained in the director’s chair ever since, most recently helming 2021’s “Cry Macho,” in which he also starred. He’ll soon do the same in the upcoming “Juror #2,” which is set to arrive sometime in the near future, most likely in 2024.

Between “Dirty Harry” and his latest project, however, the veteran star found time to re-team with director Don Siegel for 1979’s “Escape from Alcatraz,” before going on to win the Best Director and Best Picture Oscars for his 1992 western “Unforgiven.” He then repeated the exact same feat with “Million Dollar Baby” in 2004. It’s also worth mentioning that Eastwood directed and starred in what could be considered an unofficial entry in the Dirty Harry franchise with 2008’s “Gran Torino.”

But my favorite Eastwood role has been as the star of the hilariously mundane photos that populate his official Twitter profile — an account that’s so obviously run by a team with very little idea of what Twitter even is. While he’s obviously known worldwide as the indefatigable star of classic films, I’ll always have a soft spot for his role as a distracted man in dimly-lit blurry photo.


Andrew Robinson (Scorpio Killer)

How else could Harry Callahan justify his questionable methods than by using them in the pursuit of a truly despicable villain? While the acts of the Scorpio Killer themselves are reprehensible enough (they were inspired by the real-life Zodiac Killer) the antagonist of “Dirty Harry” just wouldn’t have come across as so odious without the efforts of actor Andrew Robinson, who made his film debut in the role at 28 years old.

Responsible for some of the best moments in “Dirty Harry,” Robinson made the Scorpio Killer his own, doing such a memorable job that he struggled to shake the role for years. In a 2021 interview with Rue Morgue, Robinson spoke about shooting the movie as being “the most creative experience [he’d] ever had in film,” before adding, “the sad thing is, I thought all film experience was going to be like that. I was quickly educated to the contrary.”

After playing the Scorpio Killer, Robinson quit acting for some time, choosing to live in what he described as a “small, mountain town” and remaining completely removed from the industry for years. He did, however, find time to star in Siegel’s 1973 effort “Charley Varrick” but otherwise found he was only being offered parts similar to his role in “Dirty Harry.”

He did, however, play a lead role (or rather two) in 1987’s “Hellraiser,” in which he appeared as Frank and Larry Cotton, before portraying Elim Garak in the show “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” which ran from 1993–1999. He’s since directed multiple episodes of various series, and taught acting at USC for several years before retiring in 2018. Now 81, having more than proved his talent as an actor and director, he can still be found attending the odd horror convention.

Josef Sommer (District Attorney William T. Rothko)

He might not have starred in “Dirty Harry,” but Josef Sommer did a solid job as District Attorney William T. Rothko, and is one of the only other members of the cast who are still alive today. Unsurprisingly, Harry Callahan clashes with Rothko, who admonishes Eastwood’s inspector for gaining evidence against the Scorpio Killer illegally, making it inadmissible in court.

After appearing in “Dirty Harry,” the German-born Sommer continued acting, appearing in a number of movies throughout the ’70s and ’80s. These include “The Front” in 1976, “Silkwood” in 1983, and “Witness” in 1985. The actor also appeared on-stage, including in the 1995 Broadway production “Racing Demon,” and held several TV roles including a part as a Judge on “Law & Order.” Modern audiences might recognize him as the president from “X-Men: The Last Stand” or from his brief appearance in the Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg buddy comedy “The Other Guys,” in which he also played a District Attorney — a fitting final role for the now retired 89-year-old.