Woody Harrelson is one of those actors that can always be relied on to give a decent performance, straddling the line between supporting roles in broad studio blockbusters and lending intense support in prestige dramas. It’s a balance he’s struck to great effect and then maintained for almost the entirety of his career, dating right back to his breakout part in Cheers over 35 years ago.
The three-time Academy Award nominee also has something of an interesting personal life, which has seen the longtime vegan advocate for both drug and environmental reform, resulting in several arrests. However, one of the most famous stories surrounding Harrelson is the tale of his father, who was a hitman for an organized crime outfit that was convicted of assassinating a federal judge.
After being acquitted for one murder and then released on good behavior five years into a fifteen-year stretch following being charged with another, in 1979 Charles Harrison shot U.S. District Judge John H. Wood Jr. in a San Antonio parking lot as he was hired by a local drug dealer to perform the hit. He was ultimately handed two consecutive life sentences, and he remained in prison until his death in March 2007.
Despite the easy availability of any and all information in the social media age, some internet users were still shocked to discover that Woody Harrelson’s father had a murky past, as you can see from the reactions below.
My timeline is really sleeping on the fact that Woody Harrelson’s dad was a HITMAN
— Sydney (@Sydneyalex333) June 3, 2021
I was today years old when I learned that Woody Harrelson's dad was a hitman in Texas and murdered a US District judge in the late 70's. ? https://t.co/QblRWLgjNW
— Brandon Ramos (@im_anonhuman) June 3, 2021
Didn’t expect “Woody Harrelson’s father was a hitman” on my 2021 Bingo Card. https://t.co/rzLUmatSs3
— Neworld007 (GET THE VAX) (@IanRanen) June 2, 2021
Just learned that Woody Harrelson (the twinkie guy from Zombieland) is the son of a hitman who was allegedly involved in the JFK assassination. Just thought I would share.
— ☆krutika☆ (@KrutikaSurve) May 29, 2021
— josé (@JoseWorldPeace) June 3, 2021
Woody Harrelson's dad is/was a HITMAN? WHAT?
— kit. (@VisageOfAVixen) June 3, 2021
It’s literally impossible to be my friend and not know that Woody Harrelson’s dad was a hitman, it’s one of my favorite things to talk about
— taffy lee fubbins (@JellybeansRaw) June 3, 2021
Wait. So… Woody Harrelson's dad was a hitman?? pic.twitter.com/nTGF0PQvVw
— Conan the Bernsbarian (@EarlNoahBernsby) June 3, 2021
i remember when i first found this out and for some odd reason it didn’t surprise me that woody harrelson is a hitman’s son lol. https://t.co/VYo4cD2gj2
— ? (@EustaciaLondon) June 3, 2021
Woody Harrelson was caught planting hemp seeds. His dad was a hitman. Chaos.
— John (@mcconaizzance) June 3, 2021
There were also stories linking him to the assassination of John F. Kennedy, while he mounted an escape attempt from a medium security prison in 1995, which resulted with him being transferred to a supermax facility until his passing. It’s a wild tale for sure, but at least Woody Harrelson managed to thrive despite his dark family history.