CHICAGO — A actor who grew up in Chicago and acted in a few movies based in the city while also having roles in some major sports films has died.
Robert Swan, who grew up in Hyde Park passed away at the age of 78 in Rolling Prairie, Indiana after a long battle with cancer, according to an obituary set up for him by the Kuiper Funeral Home in Highland, Indiana.
Swan played a number of small yet memorable parts in films, with a few of them coming in prominent sports films. Many remember his portrayal of Rollin Butcher in the film “Hoosiers,” where he was a parent of a player from Hickory High School and would later be an assistant alongside Gene Hackman’s character Norman Dale, the head coach of the team.
He uttered the memorable line “coach stays” as he ripped up a voting tally when the town decided not to oust Dale from his position on the team after a so-so start to his tenure at the high school.
In 1993, he had a small role in the movie “Rudy,” which was based on the story of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger’s journey to Notre Dame and joining their football team as a walk-on. Swan was the priest who officiated the funeral of Rudy’s friend, Pete, before he left South Bend.
Swan would also portray George Ruth Sr. in the 1992 film “The Babe,” which was based on the life of legendary baseball player Babe Ruth.
As far as Chicago movies go, he was in the 1987 film “The Untouchables,” which followed Bureau of Prohibition agent Eliot Ness’ pursuit of notorious gangster Al Capone. Swan was a Canadian Mountie who was on the scene when Ness’ agents intercepted a liquor purchase at the United States/Canada border.
He uttered another memorable phrase “I do not approve of your methods” to Ness, who was portrayed by Kevin Costner.
In 1991, he was also in the movie “Backdraft,” which followed brothers in the Chicago Fire Department, playing a small role as a bartender.
Swan also had roles on television, and voice-over work while remaining active in theatre productions. He was the founder of Harbor County Opera in Three Oaks, Michigan.