Rough-and-tumble character actor Ross Hagen was born Leland Lando Lilly on May 21, 1938, in Williams, AZ, the son of Lando Irvin Lilly and Mary Alice Johnson. Handsome and rugged, with a highly distinctive deep gravelly voice and a commandingly raw masculine screen presence, Ross was frequently cast as charming and likable tough guys on both sides of the law in a colorful and eclectic array of films and TV shows.
Hagen began his acting career in the mid-’60s doing guest spots on various television programs before crossing over into exploitation theatrical features with leading roles in the biker flicks The Hellcats (1968), The Mini-Skirt Mob (1968) and Five the Hard Way (1969). Hagen’s most memorable movie roles include smooth insurance agent Mike Harber in Wonder Women (1973), bumbling former coal miner turned wannabe mobster Charlie Jacobs in Bad Charleston Charlie (1973), vicious hitman Ray Mitchell in Avenging Angel (1985), backstabbing con artist Cory Thorton in Armed Response (1986), all-girl baseball team owner Midnight in Blood Games (1990), hard-nosed Army Capt. Jason Briggs in _Dinosaur Island (1989)_ (qv_, a skeptical sheriff in _Sideshow (1988)_ and private investigator Elwood Dick in Murder on the Yellow Brick Road (2005). Among the TV series he has guest-starred on are The Virginian (1962), The Big Valley (1965), The Fugitive (1963), The Invaders (1967), Daktari (1966) Bonanza (1959), Gunsmoke (1955), Mannix (1967), Kung Fu (1972), Mission: Impossible (1966), Cannon (1971), The Wild Wild West (1965) and The Fall Guy (1981). He acted in almost 20 pictures for director Fred Olen Ray. His wife Claire Polan acted in a few movies with Hagen (the couple also briefly ran an acting school). In addition to acting, Hagen directed seven films (which include the immensely enjoyable action oddity The Glove (1979) and the not half bad medical thriller B.O.R.N. (1989)), and he either co-produced and/or co-wrote a handful of features.
Ross died from cancer at age 72 on May 7, 2011.