‘Billy Jack’ actor-writer Tom Laughlin dies at 82

Posted on: 4:45 pm, December 15, 2013, by

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LOS ANGELES – Tom Laughlin, the actor who wrote and starred in the “Billy Jack” films of the 1970s, died Thursday, his family confirmed Sunday. He was 82.

Laughlin’s Billy Jack character was a heroic Native American ex-Army Green Beret who used his karate skills to fight racism and oppression.

The second of the series — titled “Billy Jack” — was a low-budget independent film that became a box-office blockbuster in 1971. Laughlin’s vigilante character defends a counterculture “Freedom School” from townspeople who harass and discriminate against the Native American students.