"Paris, Texas" stars Stanton as a wanderer with amnesia who finds and reconnects with his family.
A native of Kentucky, Stanton served in the Navy during World War II then did his first acting work in a University of Kentucky production of "Pygmalion".
Starting out, Stanton often played menacing black hats or crusty sidekicks on such TV shows as The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, U.S. Marshal, Bat Masterson, The Rifleman, Johnny Ringo and The Untouchables.
Born in 1926 in rural Kentucky as the son of a tobacco farmer and barber Sheridan Harry Stanton and Ersel, he harboured a desire to become a singer or an actor from an earlier age.
Baby Driver director Edgar Wright tweeted a still of Stanton from Repo Man, captioning it, "RIP to the legendary Harry Dean Stanton".
Along with his acting career, Stanton was a talented musician who sang and played guitar in the Harry Dean Stanton Band.
The actor was most recently seen in the series revival of David Lynch's Twin Peaks, after also appearing in the director's 1992 Twin Peaks follow-up Fire Walk With Me. A faction most loved since the '70s with parts in "Cockfighter", "Two-Lane Blacktop" and "Cisco Pike", his more popular credits went from the Oscar-winning epic "The Godfather Part II" to the science fiction great "Outsider" to the teenager flick "Beautiful in Pink", in which he played Molly Ringwald's dad. 'Roger Ebert once said, "No movie featuring Harry Dean Stanton can be altogether bad.' That is the power of a truly extraordinary actor". "He has this pride in appearing to not have to work hard to be good", says Sophie Huber, who directed a 2012 documentary about Stanton.
Jack Nicholson was responsible for helping Stanton make a name as one of the late 20th century's best character actors. Andie's dad tried, he really did, and Stanton was just so honest in this role you couldn't help but want to hug him a million times over even when his daughter was having an angsty moment. Stanton died less than two months after Shepard, a playwright, 73-year-old with whom he had a close relationship.
Stanton never married, although he had a long relationship with actress Rebecca De Mornay, 35 years his junior. "Loads of love to wherever you are now!"