Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Torgo's Death Anniversary

As many of you know by now, I played Debbie the little girl in Manos The Hands of Fate and my dad played the Master.  Today's story will continue with John Reynolds aka Torgo.

Today is the anniversary of John Reynolds death.  He committed suicide on October 16, 1966.  He was only 25 years old.

I still remember the day my mother and I heard the news.  We were on our way to school.  She was a teacher on Ben Milam Elementary School on Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, and although my family wasn't military, I was a second grader at the same school.  It was Monday morning, October 17th.   Mom was driving while listening to the news on the car radio and I was daydreaming out the window when I heard my mother gasp and then burst into tears.  She instantly pulled over to the curb, and while still crying, said, "John's dead".  I knew who she meant.    She took some time to compose herself as I just sat in the passenger seat waiting for things to be normal again.  Later, I would get the details from overhearing the adults talking about it. That's when I learned he had put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.   Although he was not military, he was buried at Fort Bliss National Cemetary.

He died almost exactly one month before the world premire of Manos, The Hands of Fate which was at the Capri Theater in El Paso, Texas on November 15th 1966.


  1. Here is something a fan just shared with me.


    John Markward Reynolds, Jr (1941 - 1966) - Find A Grave Memorial

    It is a photo of John Reynolds grave marker for the morbid among you.

  2. Was John showing any signs leading up to his death? In the last blog you mentioned he had problems of his own but was there any real signs, or had you not seen him since production ended?

  3. I don't know if anyone had noticed anything in advance of John's suicide. He was already shy and quiet and none of the cast or crew was really social outside of theater or doing the film. My dad has said that after Manos, everyone just scattered and went back to their lives so 'm not sure anyone saw him in the short time between the end of filming and his death.

  4. So Sad and Tragic. He was so young.

  5. Hi Debbie. I happily found your blog this evening and I just wanted to thank you for writing it. The behind the scenes info about the making of Manos is invaluable to fans of the film so thanks for sharing your memories. There is so much misinformation out there about the cast so it's awesome that someone with real knowledge is setting the record straight.

    As this is an older entry, I'm not sure you'll see this let alone respond to it but I'd like to know a bit more about John Reynolds if you care to share. Was John married or have children at the time of his death? Do you know what he did for a living? Does anyone know what may have lead him to take his own life?

    I know these are personal questions and I'll understand if you'd rather not answer but I've always wondered about him. Thanks!

  6. Great questions. I have actually learned some interesting new things about John Reynolds from talking with my dad recently. I'll write about it here in the next couple weeks. Thanks so much for asking and thanks for reading!

  7. Thank you for answering, Jackey. I look forward to your new blog posts.