Eloy Casados was a versatile and prolific actor who appeared in more than 20 films and 30 television series. He was best known for playing Ishi in the 1978 NBC television movie Ishi: The Last of His Tribe and as Sheriff Sam Coyote in the CBS action television series Walker, Texas Ranger. He also had roles in movies such as Cloak & Dagger, White Men Can’t Jump, Frost/Nixon, and Bridesmaids. He died of undisclosed causes on April 19, 2016 at the age of 67. Here is a look at his life and career.
Early Life and Career
Eloy Phil Casados was born on September 28, 1949 in Long Beach, California. He was of Native American and Mexican descent. He started his acting career in 1970 with a role in the film Pieces of Dreams. He then appeared in several TV shows and movies throughout the 1970s, such as The Blue Knight, Family, Mustang, Walk Proud, and The Incredible Hulk. He gained recognition for his portrayal of Ishi, the last surviving member of the Yahi tribe, in the TV movie Ishi: The Last of His Tribe, based on the book by Theodora Kroeber. According to Wikipedia, he received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance.
Breakthrough Roles and Later Work
In the 1980s and 1990s, Casados continued to work steadily in film and television. He played supporting roles in films such as Under Fire, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, The Best of Times, Born in East L.A., Blaze, Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, The Linguini Incident, Skeeter, Ty Cobb, The Nature of the Beast, Play It to the Bone, Girl’s Best Friend, Dark Blue, Hollywood Homicide, D-War, and McFarland, USA. He also guest-starred in TV shows such as Young Dan’l Boone, The Legend of Walks Far Woman, Knight Rider, Hill Street Blues, The Alamo: Thirteen Days to Glory, Houston Knights, Hunter, Equal Justice, Bar Girls, The Great Los Angeles Earthquake, Adam-12, Northern Exposure, Human Target, Bloodlines: Murder in the Family, Hudson Street, Murphy Brown, Grand Avenue, Nash Bridges, and Murder Live!
His most notable TV role was as Sheriff Sam Coyote in Walker, Texas Ranger. He joined the cast in 1993 and appeared in 23 episodes until 2001. He played a friend and ally of Cordell Walker (Chuck Norris) and James Trivette (Clarence Gillyard). According to Looper, he was one of the few actors who could match Norris’ martial arts skills on screen.
Death and Legacy
Casados’ final screen role came in an 2019 independent film version of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, which was set in the modern-day Southwest. Casados died of undisclosed causes on April 19, 2016 at the age of 67. According to Wikispro, he passed away from a non-communicable disease. His death was not widely reported by the media.
Casados was remembered by his fans and colleagues as a talented and versatile actor who brought authenticity and charisma to his roles. He was also praised for his representation of Native American and Latino characters on screen. He left behind a rich legacy of film and television work that spanned five decades.