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St. Petersburg Times (13/Sep/1992) - Anthony Perkins, 60, starred in 'Psycho'



Anthony Perkins, 60, starred in 'Psycho'

Anthony Perkins, who played the murderous motel keeper Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho and multiple sequels of the movie, died Saturday, his publicist Leslee Dart said. He was 60.

Perkins died in his Hollywood home from complications of the AIDS virus, Dart said. He died peacefully in his bedroom with his wife and sons at his side.

Perkins, the son of stage and film actor Osgood Perkins, gained fame playing awkward, often neurotic young men. Later, his name became synonymous with horror films.

He broke into movies in 1953, appearing in The Actress with Spencer Tracy, Teresa Wright and Jean Simmons. He went on to make Friendly Persuasion in 1956 with Gary Cooper, which earned him an Oscar nomination for supporting actor, and co-starred with Gregory Peck and Fred Astaire in the acclaimed 1959 anti-war film, On the Beach.

But it was the legendary Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock's classic horror film, that made Perkins — and his character, Norman Bates — film legends. The movie proved so popular that the actor starred in three sequels.

In the 1960 film, Bates played the owner of a lonely motel where vicious murders take place, including the stabbing of a character played by Janet Leigh. That murder scene, shot in a shower with quick flashes from many angles, is among the most famous in film.

Among his other movies, Perkins appeared in Winter Kills (1979), a black comedy about the younger half-brother of a slain U.S. president who goes into politics to find out the truth behind the murder and discovers a labyrinthine, long-hidden plot.

He also starred in the movie Tall Story, opposite Jane Fonda. The film, based on the 1957 novel Homecoming Game, featured Perkins as a basketball player.

Earlier this week, Perkins put together a statement about his condition, Ms. Dart said.

"I chose not to go public about this because, to misquote Casablanca, `I'm not much at being noble but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of one old actor don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world,' " he said.

"There are many who believe that this disease is God's vengeance, but I believe it was sent to teach people how to love and understand and have compassion for each other. I have learned more about love, selflessness and human understanding from the people I have met in this great adventure in the world of AIDS than I ever did in the cutthroat, competitive world in which I spent my life."

Perkins is survived by his wife, Berry Berenson Perkins, and two sons.