Powers Boothe, Actor Who Played Cult Leader Jim Jones, Has Passed Away At 68

Powers Boothe, the Emmy Award winning actor has died Sunday at the age of 68.


Long-time friend Beau Bridges broke the news via Twitter saying, “It’s with great sadness that I mourn the passing of my friend Powers Boothe. A dear friend, great actor, devoted father & husband.” His publicist Karen Samfillippo stated Powers Boothe had died in his sleep from apparent natural causes. A private service will be held in Texas, and a public memorial service is being considered for a later date.

Any donations can be made to the Gary Sinise Foundation for the nation’s service members, veterans, first responders and their families. Powers Boothe graduated from the Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. Joining the repertory company of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Boothe took on such roles as Henry IV, Troilus and Cressida amongst others. Boothe made his Broadway debut in 1974 in a production of Richard III.

His Emmy Winning performance in 1980 as Jim Jones, a cult leader responsible for the mass murder-suicide of 918 of his followers in Jonestown, Guyana, brought him to national attention. Time magazine’s story on the CBS docudrama Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones production praised Boothe “There is one extraordinary performance. A young actor named Powers Boothe captures all the charisma and evil of ‘Dad’, Jim Jones.”.

His performance saw him beat Hollywood veterans Henry Fonda and Jason Robards for the coveted Emmy. Often cast as heavies, villains, madmen or politicians Powers Boothe told the American Profile magazine in 2014 “The heavies are more fun, and I think they’re more interesting.” Roles included Curly Bill a grinning sociopath terrorizing the citizens of Tombstone, a drug trafficker in Extreme Prejudice, and in HBO’s Deadwood he played a ruthless Saloon owner Cy Tolliver.

In Sudden Death he played a CIA agent holding the Vice President Hostage at a hockey Arena. Recently Powers Boothe played the vice president in Season 6 of the FOX series 24, a special operative in the cult comedy MacGruber and the World Security Council leader Gideon Malick in Marvel’s the Avengers and the ABC show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.