William Lucking, the actor most well-known for playing Piney Winston on FX’s Sons of Anarchy, was found dead in his Las Vegas home at the age of 80. His cause of death has not yet been revealed. It was reported that he died last month, on Oct. 18.
“Although William often played toughs and strongmen, in his actual life he was an elegant man with a brilliant intellect,” his wife Sigrid Lucking shared in his obituary. William Lucking “loved to argue about politics and current affairs, discuss philosophy and physics, and assert fine-pointed opinions about art and poetry.”
“‘He was a giant of a man with the soul of a poet,” she continued, “one who ‘contained a tension of sorts within his being like a boulder teetering on a hill, or a balloon expanding towards its extreme,’ as one friend put it.”
The actor with a degree in literature from UCLA and experience performing at the Pasadena Playhouse, was also famous for his role as United States Army Military Police Colonel Francis Lynch, the antagonist of The A-Team television series’ debut season from the 1980s.
He went on to appear as a character actor in many television shows after such as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Mission: Impossible, The Partridge Family, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, M*A*S*H, and Outlaws.
FX”s Sons of Anarchy, the drama about the lives of a fictional motorcycle club in California, was the largest role of his career. He appeared in the first four seasons alongside actors Ron Perlman and Charlie Hunnam.
His character was adapted toward the end of his role to become ill and wear an oxygen tank, but it is unknown if that was simply for the part or the demand of an unwell actor. He appeared in 35 episodes of the FX series from 2008 to 2011.
Stephen Macht, Lucking’s friend and fellow Star TreK: Deep Space Nine actor, said that when he asked him why he became an actor on the set of Big Hawaii, a 1977 NBC television series, he responded saying that it was “because some asshole clapped!”
“Bill transcended all the trappings of the ‘biz’ and reached a rare, splendid, powerful art of acting,” Macht said, calling him “a lion” and a “blessing.”
Lucking, “will forever live in my memory,” he continued. The two were reportedly friends for over 46 years.
Sons of Anarchy co-star Kim Coates, who played “Tig” Trager, wrote on Twitter that he was “never ever gonna forget this guy,” in a tribute to William Lucking.
“Billy broke the mold of pretty much everything he did and accomplished,” he said. “The times we all had on set are legendary… just like Piney. Miss you brother. RIP.”
Kristen Renton, another Sons of Anarchy co-star, wrote that it was “an honor to work with” William on the show.
“You had a presence unlike any other,” she said. “You will truly be missed.”
William Lucking also had a career in film, appearing in Oklahoma Crude, The Magnificent Seven Ride, The Crazy World of Julius Vrooder, The Return of a Man Called Horse, The River Wild, Erin Brockovich, The Rundown, and Contraband.
He was born in Michigan in the 1941, later moving to California with his family in the early 1950s. He co-founded the Santa Paula Theater Center with actor Dana Elcar, where they put on plays such as Harold Pinter’s The Hothouse, Tennessee Williams’ Camino Real, and Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men.
“Toast to his memory and celebrate his legacy,” his obituary told fans.
William Lucking is survived by his wife, Sigrid–a costume designer–and their two children, Marjet Lucking and Juliana Ryan.