Army Vet Houston Tumlin, Star of ‘Talladega Nights,’ Dead at 28

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Houston Tumlin Walker Bobby Talladega Nights
Houston Tumlin as Walker Bobby in "Talladega Nights." (Sony Pictures)

Houston Tumlin has exactly one movie credit, playing Walker Bobby (brother of Texas Ranger) in the 2006 comedy classic “Talladega Nights.” No actor in film history ever had a higher batting average.

Tumlin died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound this week at his home in Pelham, Alabama, at the age of 28.

Related: Suicide Prevention

Only 13 years old when “Talladega Nights” was released, Tumlin left acting behind and later served in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell.

The dinner table scene in “Talladega Nights” is one of the funniest moments in any movie ever made. Will Ferrell is Ricky Bobby, John C. Reilly is his best friend and fellow driver Cal Naughton Jr. and Leslie Bibb is Ricky’s “smokin’ hot” wife, Carley. The late, great Ted Manson plays Grandpa Chip, Tumlin is oldest son Walker Bobby and Grayson Russell is little brother Texas Ranger Bobby.

Walker Bobby is especially devoted to ragging his grandpa’s military service. “I threw a bunch of Grandpa Chip’s war medals off the bridge,” says Walker. After Chip speaks up about Ricky and Carley’s terrible parenting, Walker shouts, “Shut up, Chip, or I’ll go apes**t on your ass,” following up with “Greatest generation, my ass! Tom Brokaw is a punk!”

Don’t forget, “winners get to do what they want.”

Director Adam McKay remembered Tumlin on Twitter: “Truly heartbroken and stunned at Houston’s passing. He was a joyful and talented person. Will never forget the laughs and good times we had. Sending love and prayers to his family and friends.”

We pay tribute to a lot of veterans who enjoyed long careers in movies after they served in the military, but this is the first one we’ve posted about an actor who died so young and did not serve until after his time in show business.

There aren’t many comedy pairs who’ve made people laugh as hard as the brother act from Houston Tumlin and Grayson Russell in “Talladega Nights.” Thanks for the memories and rest in peace, soldier.

If you or someone you know needs help, the Veterans Crisis Line is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-273-8255, press 1. Services also are available online at www.veteranscrisisline.net or by text, 838255.

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