Friday the 13th has a villain named Jason Voorhees. As played by Ari Lehman, he made his debut film appearance on Friday the 13th (1980) as Jason Voorhees, the young son of camp cook-turned-killer Mrs. Voorhees. The character of Jason was developed by Victor Miller and others, including Ron Kurz, Sean S. Cunningham, and Tom Savini, although he was never meant to be the series’ primary nemesis.
Since the film’s inception, the character has served predominantly as the film’s adversary, either directly by following and killing the other characters or indirectly by posing a psychological threat to the film’s protagonist, like in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning. Since Lehman’s portrayal, many actors and stuntmen have taken on the role, often simultaneously, leading to debate about who should be given credit for the role.
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Ted White, Jason Voorhees Actor, Passed Away at 96
In a post on Friday, Bloody Disgusting noted that actor Ted White has passed away at the age of 96. White’s portrayal of Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) is what made him a household name in the horror genre. Filmmaker Sean Clark received the sad news that White had passed away in his sleep. I’ve worked with and known him for nearly two decades.
Clark recalled, “He was my adopted grandpa and hands down the best storyteller you could have ever met.” I’ll really miss you and our weekly steak dinners. His wife, Jeri, and his two sons have my deepest sympathies. I consider it a great privilege to call you a friend. Soothe your worries away. Sending my love to Ted.
Ted White was born on January 25, 1926, in Snyder, Texas. He played football at the University of Oklahoma before deciding to pursue acting instead. He made his film debut in 1949’s The Sands of Iwo Jima, in which he portrayed a random marine and, thanks to his military experience, advised on the design of the island’s setting.
I’m 75 and I still want to be Ted White when I grow up. Tough as nails with a heart of gold. Pure class. He will be missed. Us on set of Friday the 13th part 4. pic.twitter.com/HEd3R6rxZ8
— Tom Savini (@THETomSavini) October 15, 2022
It was on the set of the picture that he first encountered John Wayne, who hired him as a stunt double in 1952. Films like Planet of the Apes (1968) and Soylent Green (1973), as well as Escape from New York (1981) and Gone in 60 Seconds (2000), are on his record as a stunt performer.
White’s acting career was limited to small roles, often uncredited, in films like Tron and Romancing the Stone. He said he took the role of Jason because he was desperate for cash at the time. White declined offers to reprise the role in A New Beginning and Jason Lives.
Although he was featured in documentaries on the Friday the 13th franchise in 2009 and 2013, he refused to return to the series. Biographer Larry K. Meredith published Cast a Giant Shadow in 2017, detailing White’s life and work.
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