David Bowie: Strange (Screen) Fascination

It’s funny, but while he gained global acclaim for continually re-imagining himself and his stage personas in the world of rock music, glam icon-turned-New Wave mentor-turned-electronica experimentalist David Bowie, who passed away this weekend after an 18-month battle with cancer at 69, always remained identifiable in his relatively abbreviated screen acting career.

It didn’t matter who–or what–he was playing: an alien come to Earth to save his dying homeworld; a centuries-old vampire nearing the end of his “unlife”; a WWII British officer in a Japanese POW camp; the devious lord of a fantasy realm; or such real-life figures as Pontius Pilate, Andy Warhol and Nikola Tesla. You could always see and hear him in every offbeat and otherworldly character he played. And no matter how minor the role, you didn’t want to take your eyes off him.

We at MovieFanFare want to remember David with a look at some of those unforgettable performances:



VIRGIN SOLDIERSBowie’s feature film debut, an uncredited cameo (second from left) in The Virgin Soldiers (1969).



Ziggy-Stardust-and-the-Spiders-From-MarsPerforming on stage in Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1973).



Man-Who-Fell-to-EarthPlaying the title extraterrestrial, Thomas Jerome Newton, in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1975).



JUST-A-GIGOLOAs WWI German veteran Paul Ambrosius von Przygodski in Just a Gigolo (1978).



The-HungerIn The Hunger (1983), alongside fellow vampire Catherine Deneuve.



merry christmas mr. lawrence As a British POW in World War II in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983).



INTO THE NIGHTA memorable cameo as a hit man in Into the Night (1985).



ABSOLUTE BEGINNERSAs ad man Vendice Partners in Absolute Beginners (1986).



LabyrinthIn Labyrinth (1986) as Jareth the Goblin King.



the last temptation of christAs Pontius Pilate in The Last Temptation of Christ (1988).



TWIN PEAKS FIRE WALKIn Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) as FBI agent Phillip Jeffries.



BASQUIATAs his friend Andy Warhol in Basquiat (1996).



zoolanderAnother cameo, this time as himself, in Zoolander (2001).



PRESTIGE, THEIn The Prestige (2006), portraying scientist/inventor Nikola Tesla.



BANDSLAMAnd his final screen appearance, as himself once more, in Bandslam (2009).



What are your favorite movie memories of David Bowie? Please share them with us in the comments section.