Tom Bower: Die Hard 2 and The Waltons star dies aged 86 as actor found dead at Los Angeles home

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US actor Tom Bower, who starred in hits such as Die Hard 2 and The Waltons, has died at the age of 86.

Bower’s brother confirmed the sad news to The Hollywood Reporter. The actor was found dead at his home in Los Angeles and is believed to have died in his sleep. A cause of death has not been determined as of yet.

Bower, who was born in Denver, Colorado as Ralph Thomas Bower, had originally had dreams of becoming a baseball player. However, when this didn’t happen for him, he turned his attention to acting, saying during a 2012 interview: "I started acting with more of a purpose while still in high school, and I guess when I chose a senior play over my senior season of baseball, the die was cast."

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He began his long career in Hollywood in 1973 with bit parts on television. His break came two years later, when he was cast as Dr Curtis Willard in the hit TV series The Waltons.

He appeared in 27 episodes of the show until his character was seemingly written out of the show in a storyline in which Dr Curtis Willard was sent to fight at Pearl Harbor. He spoke about the moment he was written out, saying: "I asked for a very small raise, so they sent me to Pearl Harbor. Then, when they decided to bring the character back, washed up on a shore somewhere - which I didn't think was a great idea anyway - I asked for the same small raise... They just cast a different actor."

He also made appearances on various TV shows such as Murder, She Wrote, Miami Vice and Dallas throughout the 1980s. In 1990, his biggest film role came in Die Hard 2, in which he played Marvin, a janitor who helps Bruce Willis’ John McClane foil the plan of terrorists at the airport.

In his later career, he went on to star in hit TV shows such as West Wing, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and Criminal Minds.

Tributes came been paid to Bower, including from screenwriter Simon Underwood. He said: "Farewell Tom Bower. A face you were always glad to see pop up.”

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