Will Sampson, a native of northeastern Oklahoma who was most known for his role as the unspeaking Chief Bromden in the film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” passed away on Wednesday, 43 days after receiving a heart-lung transplant. He was 53. “He was so large and so powerful and so nice, you thought he’d be around forever,” said Marilyn Pourier, an executive with a Boulder, Colorado, Indian legal help fund assisted by Sampson.
“He was so huge and so strong and so kind, you thought he’d be around forever,” The Creek Indian, who stood 6-foot-7 and was born and raised in the area of Okmulgee, passed away at Methodist Hospital with a son and a former wife by his bedside. Brenda Blake, a spokesman for the hospital, said that Sampson had been given a transplant that was considered his “final chance.”
According to Blake, the doctors believe Sampson’s death was caused by a post-operative fungal infection, kidney failure, and Sampson’s emaciated state before the operation. Sampson was afflicted with scleroderma, a persistent and degenerative ailment that manifested in his skin, heart, and lungs. His weight went from 260 to 140 pounds when he was ill due to his protracted illness.
Tenaya Torres, an actress from California who participated in a fundraising effort to assist Sampson with his medical costs, stated, “He had been in a coma off and on.” It has been brought to my attention that he was mobile recently as a week ago. Torres, the Indian maiden who appears in advertisements for Mazola maize oil, stated that a “Samsogee Charity Foundation” had been founded in Houston for transplant patients.
She named the foundation after Sampson’s Indian name. Jack Nicholson, an actor who co-starred with Tim Sampson in the film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” released a statement on Wednesday saying he would “miss a terrific friend.” According to George Tiger, an official with the Creek Nation in Okmulgee, Sampson had envisioned his career in Hollywood as a way for him to assist Native Americans.
Sampson will be remembered in the Okmulgee community with a wake on Sunday at a family home and services on Monday at 1:30 p.m. at the First Indian Baptist Church. Sampson’s mother, father, and two sisters reside in Oklahoma, and one of Sampson’s seven children also calls the state home.