Billy Drago, born as William Eugen Burrows, Jr. is an American actor. He is best known for starring in the 1985 western ‘Pale Rider’ and in the 1987 gangster film ‘The Untouchables’. Born in Hugoton, Kansas, to an actor/director, he started off as a stuntman. After finishing his studies at the University of Kansas, he served as a radio host for a time before enrolling in an acting company and eventually starting his acting career in 1979. In addition to his film roles, Drago has contributed to television as well. His notable roles on TV include appearances in 'The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.', 'Charmed' and 'Supernatural'. Behind the screen, the talented actor is a widower who was married to popular actress Silvana Gallardo from 1980 to 2012. The two have produced a tutorial video to teach acting techniques. The video, titled ‘The Acting Class,’ is used in schools nationwide.
Billy Drago started his career in 1979 with a role in the film ‘No Other Love’. This was followed by a role in the thriller flick ‘Cutter's Way’. In 1985, he was cast as Deputy Mather in Clint Eastwood's ‘Pale Rider’. The movie grossed nearly $41 million at the American box office and became the highest grossing western film of the 1980s. That year, the actor also starred in the comedy-drama television series ‘Moonlighting’. After this, he played Frank Nitti in the gangster flick ‘The Untouchables’.
Drago began the next decade with the role of Ramon Cota in ‘Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection’, a sequel to the 1986 ‘The Delta Force’. In 1992, he did the movies ‘Secret Games’, ‘Death Ring’ and ‘Guncrazy’. From 1993 to 1994, he played John Bly in ‘The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.’, a series about a lawyer-turned-bounty hunter who is hired by a group of industrialists to track and take hold of outlaw John Bly and his gang. Soon after this, the actor starred alongside David Naughton, Mark Ruffalo and Monique Parent in the erotic horror film ‘Mirror, Mirror III: The Voyeur’.
In 1999, he joined the cast of ‘Charmed’ as Barbas, a role he played until 2004. During his tenure at the show, he also featured in ‘Mirror, Mirror IV: Reflection’ and ‘Mysterious Skin’. Soon after, he portrayed the character of Papa Jupiter in the horror film ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ that follows a family being targeted by cannibalistic mutants while their car breaks down in a desert. Drago next appeared in the 2008 television series ‘Supernatural’. Three years later, he had a role in Joe Soisson’s ‘Children of the Corn: Genesis’.
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Family & Personal life
Billy Drago was born as William Eugene Burrows, Jr. on September 18, 1949, in Hugoton, Kansas, USA, to Gladys Marie Wilcox and William Eugene Burrows, Sr., an actor cum director. He graduated from University of Kansas. He took his mother’s maiden name as his stage name to avoid confusion with another actor.
In 1980, Drago married television and film actress Silvana Gallardo. The couple had a son, Darren E. Burrows (also an actor), and stayed together until Gallardo’s death in 2012.