Stanton died of natural causes on today (Friday 15 September).
Most recently, Stanton appeared on the revival of Twin Peaks this past summer.
He was born July 14, 1926, in West Irvine, Kentucky, to a tobacco farmer father and hairdresser mother who divorced when he was a teenager.
The personality fit into the visions of a diverse array of some of the 20th century's most creative directors, including Francis Ford Coppola, Wim Wenders, John Hughes, Martin Scorsese, Terry Gilliam and David Lynch. "I believe that she wanted it".
Never one to pigeonhole himself, the actor played a convict, an Federal Bureau of Investigation detective, and a polygamist offshoot leader over the course of his decades-long career.
Never mistaken for a leading man, Stanton was an unforgettable presence to moviegoers, fellow actors and directors, who recognized that his quirky characterizations could lift even the most ordinary script. Roger Ebert once observed that no movie with Stanton in a supporting role "can be altogether bad".
Stephen King remembered one of Stanton's greatest moments from the 1983 Carpenter-directed film Christine: "Harry Dean Stanton had the best line in Christine: "I'm selling this s***hole and buyin" a condo.' Rest in peace, HD".
Hamill posted a black and white photograph of Stanton on Twitter, writing alongside it: "Sad to say goodbye to the incomparable Harry Dean Stanton - so profoundly authentic in every role he inhabited". He was known for his roles in movies like Godfather 2, Alien and Cool Hand Luke.
Not many actors can disappear into a character quite like Stanton could.
He was a cook on board a ship during the battle of Okinawa in 1945 during his US Navy service in World War Two.
"The great Harry Dean Stanton has left us", his close friend and frequent collaborator David Lynch said in a statement on Friday. "He's got a patch over one eye and a derby hat", Stanton, in a 2008 interview with Esquire, recalled Nicholson pitching him.
Harry Dean Stanton was shining as the first plan. After that, he studied journalism, only to drop out and beging acting classes in the Pasadena Playhouse in 1949.
His long list of cast credits included roles in TV series ranging from "Gunsmoke" to "Big Love".