Did You Know: Woody Harrelson's Dad Was an Assassin?

Did You Know: Woody Harrelson's Dad Was an Assassin?

Aug 30, 2011


Only 206 more days until fans of The Hunger Games will be able to see Suzanne Collins' novel brought to life. Everyone's favorite stoner, Woody Harrelson, will be playing Haymitch Abernathy – a character who spends a lot of his time nursing a bottle of booze. Harrelson's made a career out of playing oddball characters – some of the violent and unhinged variety. The Zombieland star's inspiration may come from something that hits close to home for the actor, since his own father was a career criminal.
Charles Harrelson was a California encyclopedia salesman and a gambler. In Houston, 1968, he left his family (a wife and three sons, including Woody) and wasn't heard from again until news hit that he was under arrest for the murder of a federal judge. The tragedy marked the first assassination of a federal judge in the 20th century, but it wasn't Harrelson's first time in prison. He was previously convicted of murder-for-hire when he killed a Texas grain dealer over a heroin deal gone bad. Harrelson served his two life terms in prison – unsuccessfully trying to escape at one point and losing an appeal to overturn his case (something Woody tried to help him with in 2003) – until he died of heart disease in 2007. 
Woody tried to maintain contact with his father, visiting him regularly in prison. Their relationship – if you can call it that – was strained until the end, but the actor has spoken kindly of him in the past. "This might sound odd to say about a convicted felon, but my father is one of the most articulate, well-read, charming people I've ever known. Still, I'm just now gauging whether he merits my loyalty or friendship. I look at him as someone who could be a friend more than someone who was a father."
[via Reddit]

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