‘Deliverance’ Actor Herbert “Cowboy” Coward Killed In Crash

‘Deliverance’ Actor Herbert “Cowboy” Coward Killed In Crash | Classic Country Music | Legendary Stories and Songs Videos


Actor Herbert “Cowboy” Coward has died at the age of 85 

Herbert Coward died Wednesday when the Nissan he was driving was struck by a pickup truck driven by a 16-year-old in Haywood County, North Carolina. Coward’s girlfriend, Bertha Brooks (78), was also killed in the collision along with the couple’s pet chihuahua and squirrel. 

North Carolina State Highway Patrol officials report that Coward and Brooks were leaving a doctor’s appointment when the crash occurred around 3:30 p.m. on U.S. 19/23 between Clyde and Canton. Neither were wearing seatbelts. 

The young driver of the pickup truck was taken to the hospital. The troopers report that the driver was not speeding at the time of the collision. No charges have been filed. 


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The story behind Herbert “Cowboy” Coward

Herbert Coward was born on Aug. 21, 1938, in Haywood County, North Carolina, and was the youngest of nine children in his family. After his mother, Moody, died when he was young, he left school barely able to write his name. 

In his late 20s, Coward was approached by Hubert Presley, a business developer working on a Wild West-themed amusement park on Buck Mountain. He was hired and earned his “Cowboy” nickname for operating bulldozers that built Ghost Town, which opened in June 1961. 

In a 2017 interview, Coward recalled

“I was working on pretty heavy equipment for $18 and $20, that’s big money for back then. I’d run them and [his boss would] say, ‘Ride ’em, cowboy!’” 


Herbert “Cowboy” Coward was known for his role in the 1972 Burt Reynolds film Deliverance 

Herbert Coward and Burt Reynolds first crossed paths in the early 1960s when they were both working at the Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park in North Carolina. Years later, Reynolds thought Coward would be a great fit for the villain in Deliverance. Reynolds recalled

“He couldn’t read or write and he stuttered, but he was a wonderful actor.” 

In the Warner Bros. film, nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, Coward portrayed a sadistic toothless man who terrorized canoeists and audiences alike with the chilling line, “He got a real pretty mouth, ain’t he?” 

Coward got his toothless grin when he was struck by a pistol that knocked out two front teeth during a staged gunfight at the amusement park where he learned to do his own stunts. 

Coward later appeared in Ghost Town: The Movie and Hillbilly Blood.

We are sending prayers to the loved ones of Herbert “Cowboy” Coward and Bertha Brooks. Watch a 2022 interview with “Cowboy” below.

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