William Lucking, the veteran character actor who played Piney Winston on Sons of Anarchy, has died at 80. According to an obituary written by his wife Sigrid Lucking, he passed away at his home in Las Vegas on October 18th. The cause of death has not been made public.
Born in 1941 in Michigan, Lucking studied literature at UCLA and acting at Pasadena Playhouse. He broke into Hollywood in 1968 with parts on the original Mission: Impossible TV series as well as the detective drama Ironside. From that point forward, he booked at least one role a year through 2014.
Along the way, he picked up credits on some of the biggest television series of the day, including Bonanza, Gunsmoke, The Magical World of Disney, The Rockford Files, The Incredible Hulk, Days of Our Lives, Dallas, CHiPs, M*A*S*H, Knight Rider, Magnum P.I., T.J. Hooker, The A-Team, Columbo, Murder, She Wrote, NYPD Blue, Walker, Texas Ranger, The X-Files, ER, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and The West Wing.
Several times, Lucking came close to a big break. He played the original colonel and leader of the heroes on The A-Team, though he was replaced after one season, and he had recurring parts on Big Hawaii (1977), Shannon (1981-82), and Outlaws (1986-87), though those shows failed to find and keep an audience. But he never stopped working, and in 2008, after 40 years in Hollywood, when he was nearing 70 years old, he booked the character that made him a household name.
Sons of Anarchy ran for seven seasons, spawned a succesful spinoff in Mayans M.C., and for a while, was the most-watched show on FX. Lucking starred as Piermont “Piney” Winston, an original founder of the motorcycle club whose emphysema sapped his strength but not his fierce loyalty. He played the part for the first four seasons, until his character met his untimely demise.
In her tribute, Sigrid Lucking wrote, *Although William often played toughs and strongmen, in his actual life he was an elegant man with a brilliant intellect who loved to argue about politics and current affairs, discuss philosophy and physics, and assert fine-pointed opinions about art and poetry. He was a giant of a man with the soul of a poet.” You can read the full obituary below in a Facebook post shared by his friend and fellow actor Stephen Macht.