In the annals of cinematic male rape, even before Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, there was Deliverance, which forever entered “Squeal like a pig!” into the national lexicon. Today, the world mourns as the man who uttered that famous line, Bill McKinney (above right), is dead at 80 from lung cancer. Ladies and gentlemen, today, we lost a titan of buttrape. (*solemly pours out KY*)
McKinney was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He had an unsettled life as a child, moving 12 times before joining the Navy at the age of 19 during the Korean War.
Discharged in Long Beach, California, in 1954, McKinney settled in southern California, attending acting school at the famous Pasadena Playhouse in 1957, where his classmates included Dustin Hoffman and Mako. McKinney supported himself as an arborist, trimming and taking down trees, a job he continued into the 1970s, when he was appearing in major films. McKinney has had a life-long love affair with trees since he was a child. [*stifles snicker* -Ed.]
After his time at the Pasadena Playhouse, McKinney was admitted to Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio. He made his movie debut in the exploitation picture She Freak (1967) and was busy on television, making his debut in 1968 on “The Monkees” (1966) and attracting attention as Lobo on “Alias Smith and Jones” (1971). But it was as the Mountain Man in John Boorman’s Deliverance (1972), a movie nominated for Best Picture of 1972 at the Academy Awards, that brought McKinney widespread attention and solidified his reputation as one of moviedom’s all-time most heinous screen villains.
In his autobiography, Burt Reynolds (whose character dispatches The Mountain Man with an arrow in the back) said of McKinney, “I thought he was a little bent. I used to get up at five in the morning and see him running nude through the golf course while the sprinklers watered the grass….”
McKinney denies this, and also disputes Reynolds contention that he was overly enthusiastic playing the infamous scene where his character buggers Ned Beatty.
“He always played sickos,” Reynolds said of McKinney, “but he played them well. With my dark sense of humor, I was kind of amused by him…. McKinney turned out to be a pretty good guy who just took the method way too far.”
McKinney told Maxim magazine in an interview honoring him and his Mountain Man partner ‘Herbert “Cowboy’ Coward’ as the #1 screen villains of all time that Reynolds’ stories were untrue.
“If you lose control on a movie set,” McKinney told Maxim, “it’s not acting, it’s indulgence.” [IMDB Bio]
McKinney’s Facebook page contains a statement … reading, “Today our dear Bill McKinney passed away at Valley Presbyterian Hospice.”
The statement continues, “An avid smoker for 25 years of his younger life, he died of cancer of the esophagus. He was 80 and still strong enough to have filmed a Doritos commercial 2 weeks prior to his passing, and he continued to work on his biography with his writing partner.” [TMZ]
McKinney played a number of other memorable goons and villains in films like First Blood (Rambo) and The Outlaw Josie Wales, but will always be remembered as “the crazy, rapist mountain man,” (TMZ’s words), which should be a point of pride, not shame. The scene was seared into our collective minds, largely because of the humanity he brought to the role. We won’t forget you, backwoods hillbilly butt rapist. In fact, I’ve heard that on a quiet day in southern California, when the Santa Ana winds are blowing just right, if you listen closely, you can still hear the trees whisper “SQUEEEEEEEEEE! SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE!”