The father of actor Woody Harrelson was a cold blooded killer. For one of the most recognizable actors in Holly wood, this hardly seems at all possible. Harrelson was after all an Academy Award nominee for best actor. But what he has done in his own life has nothing at all to do with the donor of half of his DNA.
The actors father, Charles Voyde Harrelson, was born in 1938 in Texas. By all accounts his life was relatively normal, and a life of crime seemed as far fetched for the young man as anyone else. To tell you the truth, when he became an adult he sold encyclopedias in California. That hardly sounds all that shady, now does it? However, while in California he also decided to test his chances at becoming a professional gambler. This dabbling in something a little on the dark side. although perfectly legal, led him down a path that would forever change his life.
Now that gambling culture isn’t exactly filled with the best types of people. Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of perfectly normal and nice people involved in gambling. I personally know of a family who attend the races twice a week, then church every Sunday. But as we have already said, while there are tons of nice people in the industry, it also tends to attract the wrong type of people. And when times get a little tough, as they most likely will with gambling, it’s easy to become involved with the wrong crowd. This was Charles Harrelson’s plight.
It didn’t take long for Harrelson to start associating himself with the wrong crowd. Before long he was arrested for his part in an armed holdup. What started as a slippery slope, soon developed into a full scale avalanche of trouble. Not only was he involved in organized, he gained a reputation for his murderous rage.
By the late 60’s his involvement in organized crime was in full swing. He was hired to murder several people, of which he would serve time. He was charged with a 1968 murder, of which he was acquitted in 1970. He was also charged, and stood trial of another murder for hire killing in 1968, of which he was found guilty on a retrial. Sentenced to 15 years, he was released five years later on good behavior, but he was not reformed.
In 1970, only months after being released, he murdered Judge John H. Wood, Jr. Judge Wood came to the attention of organized crime due to his harsh stance on drug dealing. Judge Wood’s murder was the first of a federal judge in the 20th century. For this crime he was sentenced to two life terms.
When he was arrested in 1981 it made headlines. Up until this time Woody Harrelson knew nothing about his father. He left his family when Woody was only young, and remained estranged for years. When Woody heard of his father, he made contact again, despite the news about his father being less than delightful. Woody ended up making regular visits to his father in prison until his death in 2007.
While Charles Harrelson was only ever convicted of two murders, it is likely that he was involved in many more. He has been overheard boasting about the rich and famous people that he has been involved in killing, and has even claimed to be the killer of JFK.