‘Deliverance’ Actor Killed Alongside His Girlfriend, Pet Squirrel, and Dog

He got a real purty mouth, ain’t he?

Herbert Coward, the actor behind perhaps the creepiest villain in the 1972 film Deliverance, was killed in a car crash earlier this week alongside his girlfriend and two pets. Coward, who gained fame for playing the Toothless Man in the nightmarish thriller, was pulling out of a doctor’s office Wednesday in Haywood County, North Carolina, when another car struck him, killing him, his girlfriend Bertha Brooks, and his pet squirrel and chihuahua, local authorities said.

squeal like a pig” 

Coward was fondly called “The Squirrel Man” around Haywood County for his penchant of bringing his pet squirrel, Cowgirl, everywhere he went, local newspaper The Mountaineer notes. Both Cowgirl and his chihuahua Little Man were frequently by his side, and tragically also along for the ride that claimed their lives this week.

Coward, 85, famously landed his iconic role in Deliverance after Burt Reynolds saw him performing a shoot-out at the Wild-West themed Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park that sits atop a North Carolina mountain.

The driver of the other car was a 16 year-old. He was not charged.


In the classic 1972 thriller “Deliverance,” Coward played the frightening role of a hillbilly with missing front teeth known as the “Toothless Man.” In one of the movie’s horrific scenes, Coward’s character and his hillbilly sidekicks sodomized a man in front of his friend, who was tied to a tree in the forest.

Coward was 85.


Sgt. Michael Owens with the North Carolina Highway Patrol said troopers responded to a 911 call reporting the collision at 3:23 p.m. Owens said Coward and his partner, Bertha Brooks, were leaving a doctor’s appointment from an office off U.S. 19 between Clyde and Canton when Coward failed to yield. The small Nissan passenger car he was driving was struck on the passenger side by a Ford F-150 driven by a 16-year-old. Neither Coward nor Brooks were wearing seatbelts, and Owens added that speed was not a factor.

“We had multiple witnesses who stated the driver of the F-150 wasn’t speeding,” he said. “And our investigation of the damage at the scene also led us to believe that.”

Smoky Mountain News

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