Hollywood character actor Danny Hicks very nearly stole the show back in 1987 when he made a memorable cameo appearance as Jake, the no-nonsense redneck hillbilly stuck in a demonic nightmare with square jawed hero Bruce Campbell in director Sam Raimi’s sequel/remake, Evil Dead 2. Attired in a pair of blue overalls that would have made Denver Pyle green with envy, Hicks was a perfect comedic foil to Campbell’s hapless and reluctant hero ‘Ash’ Williams and he sported perhaps one of the best “answer lines” in film history when actor Kassie Wesley DePaiva (A.K.A. “Bobbie Joe”) protested amongst a blood splattered cabin that Hick’s Deliverance-like oaf was holding her hand just a wee bit too tightly. “Baby,” Hicks intoned expertly, setting up the coup de grace punchline, “I ain’t holding your hand…”
Danny Hicks sure held filmgoers hands, at least. For over three decades. In projects ranging from small and generally overlooked tawdry gems (Porkchop 3D, Easy Wheels) to immense blockbusters and cult favorites such as Spider-Man 2 and Maniac Cop, Mr. Hicks has given his life to crafting unforgettable characters that resonate and kick around in our old grey matter, growing better and delightfully cheesier as the years march on.
Word came down from our compadres over at the superlative horror film site Bloody Disgusting (accept no substitutes, boys and ghouls) that Danny Hicks – a still relatively young 68 – has been given a prognosis of stage 4 cancer. When I read the article I was crestfallen and all I could think about is the sheer joy and fun Danny had given me when as a teenager I trekked out to a New York movie theater to catch a showing of Raimi’s Evil Dead 2. It would be years before I would learn just who Danny was and just how substantive his body of film work actually was after the second installment of the Evil Dead franchise. I learned for example that he had an unbilled role in Army of Darkness. I learned that he was, bar none, a perfect spokesman for the horror genre in a plethora of making of docs that I eagerly devoured over the years, unrepentant geek that I am. And today…Today, I learned that he needed our help courtesy of Bloody Disgusting and his convention manager who is directly appealing to film fans to help a man who has already given so much to so many other people.
Danny Hicks had this to say on Facebook: “To all of the people that I never got to meet, and the 6,018 die hard fans that enjoyed my work. I have some bad news. I have been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. I have approximately 1 to 3 years to live. But I gotta tell ya, I sure as hell packed a whole bunch of living into my 68 years. I got no change coming back that’s for sure. And not too many regrets. Ok, gotta go. I’m gunna find out just what in the hell is going on down in that fruit cellar.”
A fundraiser has been set up by Dominic Mancini on Go Fund Me to help Danny pay for his medical bills. Want even further proof of just what a mensch Danny Hicks is? An autograph from this wonderful actor will be given to anyone who sends along a donation. For horror film fans in particular, this is akin to a shard of cloth from the Shroud of Turin. And do I really need to point out that the idea of an autograph for fans donating to this cause is above and beyond the line of duty for a respected actor who has already given fans so much over the years?
“Danny is not one to ask for charity,” explains Mancini, “but with that, he brings yet another opportunity to his fans. His days of traveling to conventions are in the past, but he has agreed to partake in one last autograph signing for those fans who never got the chance to get one in person. Whether you need him on a cast piece that you have, or want a signed 8×10 photo, we have your back! Full Empire Promotions will be putting up an online store, where 100% of the proceeds will go to help Danny with his medical expenses…
“The store will have the option to buy a signed photo or send in your own item to be signed. The store will be live at www.FullEmpirePromotions.com starting June 4. The signing will take place early/mid July and all orders will be due by July 6…”
Danny Hicks is a part of our cinematic DNA. Let’s have his back as he wanders back down into that fruit cellar. It’s the least we can do.