Photography 05

John T. Dilg

February 8, 1945 ~ November 13, 2019 (age 74)


John T. Dilg also known in the film industry as John T. Dillon died from a sudden acute illness on November 13, 2019 in Santa Fe, NM. He was 74. He was the first of identical twin boys born to Lavinia "Lee" Dilg and Gifford F. Dilg of New Haven, CT. John's wife of 37 years Joan Rutherford-Dilg preceded him in death in 2015. John is survived by his son, Jeff Dilg of Santa Fe, NM; his twin brother, Michael Dilg and wife Judith Brown of Santa Barbara, CA; and his sister, Diane Sullivan and husband John Sullivan of San Augustine, FL. John is also survived by Kati Duffey Schwartz of Santa Fe, NM. John and Kati met in January 2019 and they truly loved and adored each other from the moment they met. John graduated from Notre Dame High School in West Haven, CT in 1962. John attended the University of New Haven at Yale and studied economics and psychology. John proudly served as a medic in the US Coast Guard. Three weeks before John was honorably discharged from his service in 1968, he was hired to drive Senator Ted Kennedy around Washington, D.C. after the Chappaquiddick scandal. John remembered him as being, "A really nice guy." After college, while John was living and working for the Benny Goodman family in New York City, he played the drums with the Benny Goodman Orchestra during their 1967 summer European Tour. While living with the Goodman's, John snuck in a stray wire haired fox terrier. Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward lived across the street from the Goodman's and one day John's terrier raided their chicken coop. Years later, John ran into Nell Newman and she was still upset over losing her beloved chickens. John led an adventurous life. He crewed Frank Sinatra's boat "Christina" for 3 years. He survived a fiery explosion after the boat caught fire and he was blown into the water. John was rescued by the Coast Guard as the boat sunk. An avid skier since high school, John moved west to Vail, CO in 1969. He landed a job doing all the trick ski jumps in the movie, "The Ski Bum." He was hooked on acting and moved to California to stake his claim in the movie business. He lived in Manhattan Beach with five roommates who became lifelong friends. John earned his Screen Actors Guild Membership in 1971. The director, John Logan gave him his first speaking role in the movie "Shoot Out" starring Gregory Peck, Susan Clark, and Dean Martin. John worked on Scarecrow 1973 with Gene Hackman and Al Pacino. Notable TV credits include; The Rockford Files, Miami Vice, and All My Children. He worked with Rock Hudson, Susan Saint James, Don Johnson, and Susan Lucci. John had a role in "Desperado" with Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz in 1993. John's production company filmed numerous commercials and music videos throughout New Mexico. John and Ali MacGraw met while his production company was filming her popular "Yoga in the Desert" video in White Sands. John and Ali remained friends and often walked their dogs together on the Plaza in Santa Fe. John once played the iconic "Marlboro Man" for a cigarette commercial. John admitted, "I never really smoked!" John landed a job with the New Mexico Transportation Department. He played a crash test dummy to promote public safety for wearing seat belts. John had several roles the Coen brother's movie "No Country for Old Men" in 2007. John's quick action saved Ethan Coen from a deadly rattlesnake bite while they were filming on location in Marfa, TX. John worked with Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Tess Harper, Woody Harleson, Kelly MacDonald, Josh Brolin, and Willford Brinkley. John always loved a friendly game of poker especially when his Manhattan Beach, CA roommates from the 1970's met for reunions. John is remembered for supplying an inferno of fireworks during a reunion on Catalina Island celebrating his friend Fred Blitzer's 50th Birthday. Another reunion was held at Lake Tahoe. While on the lake, the roommates raced their boat past the Fleur du Lac Estate yelling, "Fredo" a famous line from the movie, The Godfather Part II. Over the past year, John "held court" at the La Posada de Santa while sipping morning coffee in the lobby with guests and the other club members. John always had his loyal dog, Cooper, a great dane/German shorthaired pointer mix at his side. John and Cooper walked a circuitous route between the La Posada de Santa Fe, the St. Francis Cathedral, and the Hotel La Fonda almost every day. Sadly, John's best friend and loyal companion, Cooper, preceded him in death by crossing the "Rainbow Bridge" on February 7, 2019. John was a smart and lucky gambler. John's take home winnings always outnumbered his loses. No matter if he was betting on the horses at Del Mar in San Diego or shooting craps in Las Vegas or playing slot machines in Santa Fe, he always came out ahead. John's brother Michael recalls a highlight of John's life was seeing his best friend, Ronnie Bedard. John and Ronnie were West Haven, CT friends since the 4th grade. He visited John at the Albuquerque Balloon Fest for many years. Jeff Dilg and Kati Duffey Schwartz hosted a memorial dinner celebrating John's life with a small gathering of friends in the Poker Room at The Legal Tender Saloon and Eating House, in Lamy, NM on February 8, 2020. It would have been John's 75th Birthday! Jeff Dilg asks that memorials be sent in honor of his father to the American Cancer Society .

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