‘Sons of Anarchy’ Actor and Hells Angels Founder Sonny Barger Dies at 83 — Here Is His Final Message

Sons of Anarchy fans may not be aware that the founder of the Hells Angels motorcycle club, Sonny Barger, appeared in the series. Barger died yesterday, June 29th of cancer at 83 years old. The actor left a final message behind which appeared on Facebook today. Here’s what it said.

Portrait of biker and Sons of Anarchy actor Sonny Barger (born Ralph Barger) as he sits at a table in San Francisco, California on January 1979. Barger has a mustache and wears a biker kutte.
Sonny Barger (1979) | Janet Fries/Getty Images)

Hells Angels founder Sonny Barger appeared in several episodes of ‘Sons of Anarchy’

Sonny Barger was one of the founding members of the Hells Angels motorcycle club. Over the decades, the biker had several run-ins with the law, including being acquitted of a 1972 murder charge, Deadline reports. Additionally, Barger wrote several books, such as his autobiography Hell’s Angel — The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club.

What people may not know is that Barger also appeared as Lenny “The Pimp” Janowitz in three episodes of Sons of Anarchy. Interestingly, Lenny is a member of the First 9, one of the founding members of SOA. In the series, Lenny is serving life at Stockton State Prison, but he still proves useful to the club at times. According to Deadline, Barger reportedly, “assisted show creator Kurt Sutter as a sort of de facto consultant on biker culture.”

Sonny Barger left a message behind

Sonny Barger died yesterday, June 29 of cancer. The biker left a pre-written message behind. It appeared on his Facebook page today. “If you are reading this message, you’ll know that I’m gone. I’ve asked that this note be posted immediately after my passing,” he began.

“I’ve lived a long and good life filled with adventure. And I’ve had the privilege to be part of an amazing club. Although I’ve had a public persona for decades, I’ve mostly enjoyed special time with my club brothers, my family, and close friends.”

“Please know that I passed peacefully after a brief battle with cancer. But also know that in the end, I was surrounded by what really matters: My wife, Zorana, as well as my loved ones. Keep your head up high, stay loyal, remain free, and always value honor. Sonny.”


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Barger defended the Hells Angel’s intellectual property later in life

Nowadays, the Hells Angels are the most notorious and well-known biker club in the country. As the club’s notoriety grew, Sonny Barger reportedly grew very protective of the club’s intellectual property, The New York Times writes.

Barger sold an array of Hells Angels merchandise online. At age 75 he explained what he would do if he came across someone wearing unofficial Hells Angel’s attire. “I would say: ‘Look, we can do this two ways. You can give me the shirt and I’ll give you a legitimate one.’ Or if the guy says, ‘Hey, none of your business where I got it,’” Barger continued, “I’d beat him up and take it.”

All episodes of Sons of Anarchy are currently streaming on Hulu.