Austin Stoker, the star of John Carpenter‘s Rio Bravo-ish action thriller Assault on Precinct 13, passed last Friday (10.7) on his 92nd birthday. HE has long admired Stoker’s performance as Lt. Ethan Bishop, the steely, fair-minded L.A. cop in charge of an about-to-be-abandoned police station in some hellish South Central region of Los Angeles.

Stoker was around 45 when Assault was shot — he looked a good ten years younger.

I first saw John Carpenter’s Howard Hawks-inspired film at the Museum of Modern Art in ’78 or ’79. I’ve re-watched it at least nine or ten times since.

In my book Stoker and costars Darwin Joston (who played the allegedly fearsome but essentially honorable Napoleon Wilson) and Laurie Zimmer (who played a brave Hawksian woman named Leigh) were a much more compelling trio than John Wayne, Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson in Rio Bravo.