Fresno Beehive

‘He will never be forgotten.’ Fans mourn death of Fresno native and horror film icon

Sid Haig, the horror-film and B-movie icon best known for his work with director Rob Zombie, died Saturday at the age of 80.

The Fresno native and Roosevelt High School graduate was admitted to the hospital earlier this month. At the time, his wife asked fans for their prayers in a quick recovery.

On Monday, she posted news of his death.

“He has returned to the Universe, a shining star in her heavens,” she wrote in a caption on Haig’s Instgram page.

“He was my angel, my husband, my best friend and always will be. He adored his family, his friends and his fans. This came as a shock to all of us.”

Zombie, whose just-released film “3 From Hell” featured Haig reprising the role of the killer clown Captain Spalding, posted his own remembrance on Facebook.

“I knew it was very important to Sid that Captain Spaulding make one more round and he did. Sid’s time (in) the film is brief. He was in rough shape that day, but he gave it his all and made his scene very memorable,” Zombie wrote.

“The Captain is gone ... but he will never be forgotten.”

Though Haig had moved to Southern California by the mid-2000s, many Fresno fans remember Haig as a figure around the Tower District. He could often be seen eating breakfast or lunch at Irene’s Cafe with his mother.

Sid Haig’s senior picture from his 1957 yearbook. Photo: Roosevelt High School Nautilus I_Famous Imagine Fresno Custom Publications Photo

Haig, whose birth name was Sidney Mosesian, was born into Fresno’s Armenian community in 1939. He began taking dance classes at age 7. He graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1957.

At 6-foot-4, Haig was an imposing figure and quickly found work doing in film, TV and theater. He was in the 1967 film “Spider Baby” and George Lucas’ infamous “THX 1138,” and starred alongside Pam Grier in action movies like “Foxy Brown,” “Coffy” and “Black Mama, White Mama.”

Zombie recalled first seeing him in the late ’70s children’s series “Jason of Star Command’ and becoming a fan.

Zombie would help the actor revive his career by casting him in the role of Captain Spalding in the 2003 film “House of 1,000 Corpses.” Haig was also in the sequel, “The Devil’s Rejects.”

“Neither of us knew he was creating a character that would live on and grow in popularity every year,” Zombie wrote on Facebook.

“Sid told me many times how thankful he was for the Captain and how that character changed his life. He had completely given up on acting and now suddenly had found a whole new audience at the age of 60. I know he was thrilled and blown away by that fact.”

In 2004, Haig made an appearance at Hero’s Comics as a benefit for The Fresno Chaffee Zoo. He recalled his career to that point in an interview with The Bee.

“I got a lot of work just because they knew I was going to show up on time, I was going to do my homework and that I wasn’t going to make problems on the set,” he said.

His success and status as an icon — cult as it may have been — bewildered the actor.

“I haven’t been able to wrap my mind around it,” he said then.

“I’m still amazed that anyone remembers any damn thing I did.”