Tom Laughlin of 'Billy Jack' Fame Dead at Age 82

BY HILLEL ITALIE
AP National Writer
NEW YORK
Tom Laughlin, whose production, marketing and making of "Billy Jack" set a standard for breaking the rules on and off screen, has died.

Laughlin's daughter told The Associated Press that he died Thursday at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Laughlin was 82 and Teresa Laughlin says the cause of death was complications from pneumonia.

"Billy Jack" was released in 1971 after a long struggle by Laughlin to gain control of the film.

He wrote, directed and produced "Billy Jack" and starred as the ex-Green Beret who defends a progressive school against the racists of a conservative Western community. The film became a counterculture favorite and the theme song, "One Tin Solider," was a hit single for the rock group Coven.

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