John Saxon, friend and student of Bruce Lee, and co-star in ‘Enter the Dragon’ dies at 83

John Saxon, friend and student of Bruce Lee, and co-star in ‘Enter the Dragon’ dies at 83

  • The Brooklyn-born actor played the character Roper in 1973’s ‘Enter the Dragon’
  • He also appeared in three ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ movies and earned a Golden Globe nomination for ‘The Appaloosa’

John Saxon, Bruce Lee’s friend and student, who co-starred with the Hong Kong martial arts superstar in Enter the Dragon, has died. He was 83.

Saxon gained prominence – especially with martial arts fans – with Lee in the Hong Kong star’s first mainstream American movie in 1973. Lee died just a few days before the Hong Kong premiere of Enter the Dragon.

The Italian-American Brooklyn-born actor Saxon also appeared in three Nightmare on Elm Street movies for director West Craven.

Saxon died of pneumonia in Murfressboro, Tennessee, his wife, Gloria, said according to The Hollywood Reporter.

An underrated actor who earned a Golden Globe nomination playing a Mexican bandit opposite Marlon Brando in The Appaloosa (1966), Saxon will always be remembered for his breakthrough role playing the martial artist gambler Roper in Warner Brothers’ Enter the Dragon, which would launch Lee to superstardom before his untimely death on July 20, 1973.