‘Napoleon Dynamite’ actor Dale Critchlow dead at 92

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — Dale Critchlow, best known for his role as farmer Lyle in the 2004 film Napoleon Dynamite, died Friday in Idaho Falls, Idaho, his family said. He was 92.

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Critchlow’s family confirmed his death to the Preston Citizen.

The Utah native was not known as an actor until his role in the film that starred Jon Heder, Efren Ramirez and Tina Majorino, according to The Hollywood Reporter. A memorable scene shows Critchlow’s character using a shotgun on a cow just as a busload of children appears.

Critchlow told East Idaho News in a 2020 interview that he landed a role in the film from director Jared Hess after two of his buck sheep ended up in a field of ewes.

“My wife called Jared Hess’ mother and asked if one of her boys was there,” Critchlow told the news outlet. “He came over, and he had a friend with him. I drove the truck out into the pasture, and the sheep came over. They grabbed those bucks and pushed them into the truck … and we got them out of there.”

Hess later contacted Critchlow and cast him in the role of Lyle, KSL-TV reported. “Napoleon Dynamite” reportedly had a budget of $400,000 and grossed $46 million at the box office, according to IMDb.

Critchlow said his role in the film elevated him to celebrity status as fans requested autographs and even selfies.

“I went to a wedding reception in Salt Lake, and me and my oldest son were just waiting for the reception to start,” Critchlow told KSL. “This guy comes by, and he said, ‘Hey, I seen you in a show!’ He took some pictures.”

Critchlow also appeared in the 2006 comedy “Church Ball,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

During his interview with East Idaho News, Critchlow was asked whether he enjoyed watching “Napoleon Dynamite\.”

“I thought it was kind of funny in places, and in a few places, it was kind of dragged out,” Critchlow told the news outlet. “He done a pretty good job.”