James Winburn, ‘Halloween’ Actor, Dead at 85

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/FilmMagic)

James Winburn, who is known for his role as Michale Myers in the original 1978 film and 1981 sequel of Halloween, has passed away at the age of 85. 

According to the DailyMail, James Winburn died from an undisclosed health issue over the weekend. Monopoly Events, which featured Winburn in its For the Love of Horror fan convention, posted a special tribute to the late actor and stuntman on Monday (November 21st).

“We are extremely sad to learn of the passing of James Winburn,” the tweet reads. “James was an absolute pleasure to work [with] and shared some amazing stories with everyone over the weekend. Our sincere condolences go out to his family, friends, and fans.” 

Along with Monopoly Events, Monster-Mania Con also posted a tribute to the late Halloween star. “Sad to learn of the passing of James Winburn today,” the organization wrote on Facebook. “ James was an absolute pleasure to work with and we had hoped to see him again for our show in Oaks, PA but sadly a health issue prevented that. James was always appreciative of the Halloween fans and truly enjoyed meeting everyone. Our sincere condolences go out to his family, friends and fans.”

James Winburn Revealed How He Landed the Role as Michael Myers in ‘Halloween’ 

While speaking to Halloween Daily News in 2018, James Winburn recalled when he was first approached to play Michael Myers in Halloween. 

“Originally, [producer] Debra Hill called me,” James Winburn explained. “I was under contract with Warner Bros., and we were working in downtown Los Angeles, slinging cop cars and all that stuff. I told her I didn’t know if I could get off, but they wrapped early because they had to move to another location, so I was relieved. And I went over to Hollywood on Orange Grove Avenue.”

James Winburn further explained that he knew Hill really well because they had worked together on various shows over the years. “Dean Cundey, the cameraman, and his whole crew, they were a great independent group. And Don Behrns, who was the production manager, we were very close friends. So everybody knew me, except John [Carpenter]. It was my first time meeting John.”

James Winburn then spoke about working with the crew all night long and did the iconic Halloween fall. “One time. I rigged it. See the balcony railing was higher than on a normal balcony, because of the lady’s grandchildren or whatever. It was too low (to protect the children), so they built it up higher. At the edge of the roof, if you measured it down to the level of the balcony railing, it was 18 inches [higher than the top of the railing]. So I had to go through 18 inches without hitting my head.”

That was when Carpenter asked him to be Michael Myers. “So we worked it out. I did the pickup shots, and then I went over [the balcony] and hit the mat, and everything ent great. One shot.”