Deliverance actor Herbert ‘Cowboy’ Coward killed in car crash alongside girlfriend

Deliverance actor Herbert “Cowboy” Coward has reportedly died in a car crash in North Carolina. He was 85.

Coward, who played Toothless Man in the 1972 classic, died in the crash along with his girlfriend Bertha Brooks, 78, and his pet dog and squirrel.

The crash was first reported by local news outlets WLOS and Fox Carolina and later reported by People.

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Coward, who was driving the vehicle, reportedly turned onto a highway when his car hit an oncoming truck.

The truck driver, 16, was transported to hospital with injuries — he was not believed to be speeding.

Local publications reported that neither Coward nor Brooks was wearing a seatbelt.

Herbert ‘Cowboy’ Coward speaks onstage. Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Coward was best known for his role in Deliverance, which was nominated for three Oscars, including Best Picture, in 1973.

Co-stars included Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox.

The Toothless Man was a small but memorable role, remembered in the film as having a disturbing scene with actor Jon Voight.

He delivered the well-known line from the film, “He got a real purty mouth, ain’t he?”

Deliverance actor Herbert Coward has died. Credit: Warner Bros

Coward’s character is later killed by an arrow and is lowered into the river — a stunt he performed himself.

When he was younger, Coward got his toothless smile after being struck by a pistol that knocked out his two front teeth.

The actor was well known in later life for bringing his pet squirrel with him on outings, clear in a tribute online.

“He was a nice man, and had a pet squirrel that went everywhere with him. The community will miss him,” an X user wrote.

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