Alex Cord, actor from 1980s show ‘Airwolf,’ dead at 88

Alex Cord, the star of 1980s military drama “Airwolf,” has died. He was 88.

Cord’s publicist and friend of 20 years, Linda McAlister, confirmed the news to Deadline on Tuesday. The prolific character actor passed away at his Valley View, Texas, home on Monday morning.

The Floral Park, Long Island, native was best known for his role in the CBS series “Airwolf,” in which he played the white suit and eyepatch-wearing Michael Coldsmith-Briggs III (code name: Archangel), a mysterious government contact trying to recover the supersonic helicopter Airwolf from Libya, where it was used by villains to sink American warships.

The show, which also starred Jan-Michael Vincent and Ernest Borgnine, ran for three seasons and is remembered for its synth-heavy soundtrack and for being one of three helicopter-based TV dramas to debut in 1984.

Ernest Borgnine, Jan-Michael Vincent and Alex Cord in a promotional photo for the show "Airwolf."
Ernest Borgnine (from left), Jan-Michael Vincent and Alex Cord in a promotional photo for the show “Airwolf.”
Courtesy Everett Collection
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Alex Cord on the set of the 1966 film “Stagecoach,” directed by Gordon Douglas.
Corbis via Getty Images

While best recalled for the iconic eyepatch-wearing “Airwolf” role, the prolific Cord’s career included both film and television parts. Over a four-decade span from the 1960s through the 1990s, Cord racked up dozens of credits in shows including “Route 66,” “The Love Boat,” “Fantasy Island,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “Police Story” and “Walker, Texas Ranger.” He also appears in the movies “The Last Grenade,” “The Dead Are Alive!,” “Grayeagle,” “The Naked Truth,” “Stiletto,” “Stagecoach” and “Jungle Warriors.”

He also made appearances in both CBS’s original “Mission: Impossible” series, which aired from 1966 to 1973, and a 1988 revival — a distinction which, Variety noted, is an honor few other actors can lay claim to.

Born in 1933, Cord beat polio as a child and went on to become a horseman, a skill he used to score a slew of roles in Westerns, Deadline wrote. He graduated from New York University and Connecticut’s American Shakespeare Theatre before scoring his first role in the NBC western “Laramie” in 1961. His first film came the following year in Warner Bros.’ “The Chapman Report.”

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