Oklahoma native G.D. Spradlin was many things before he became an actor: attorney, oilman, politico, scholar, wealthy. But at some point he decided all of that wasn't enough, and turned to his greatest passion: acting. And so his became, in a short time, an estimable body of work that spanned screens small (from Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. to Rich Man, Poor Man Book II) and large (The Godfather: Part II and Apocalypse Now, among others). Spradlin died Sunday at the age of 90.
But around here, Spradlin will always be known as B.A. Strother, the cold, computer-obsessed coach of the North Dallas Bulls in the film version of North Dallas Forty, based, of course, on former Cowboys receiver Peter Gent's days playing for Tom Landry. How that movie didn't show up on this ESPN list of the top 25 sports films ever made is unfathomable. Also: unconscionable. Let's watch a few scenes from North Dallas Forty featuring Spradlin on the other side.