Actor Charles Durning Dead at 89
“King of the Character Actors” indeed. I couldn’t even find a movie poster with his image on it for this article, yet he was a very popular, dependable supporting actor for many years and everyone knew who he was. He scored back-to-back Oscar noms for BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS (1983) and TO BE OR NOT TO BE (1984). He appeared in quality films such as THE STING, TOOTSIE, DOG DAY AFTERNOON and many more. Looking at his credits, it appears he never worked for a quick paycheck (there’s not a single horror film in his filmography), but made careful decisions about what he was associated with. He was a WWII hero, among the first wave of U.S. soldiers to land at Normandy during the D-Day invasion and the only member of his Army unit to survive. He was captured in the Battle of the Bulge and survived a massacre of prisoners yet, like many of the greatest generation, refused to discuss his military service for which he was awarded the Silver Star and three Purple Hearts later in life. Charles Durning was 89.
From The New York Times:
Charles Durning, who overcame poverty, battlefield trauma and nagging self-doubt to become an acclaimed character actor, whether on stage as Big Daddy in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” or in film as the lonely widower smitten with a cross-dressing Dustin Hoffman in “Tootsie,”died Monday in New York. He was 89. He died of natural causes, The Associated Press reported, citing Judith Moss, his agent and friend. Charles Durning may not have been a household name, but with his pugnacious features and imposing bulk he was a familiar presence in American movies, television and theater, even if often overshadowed by the headliners. Alongside Paul Newman and Robert Redford’s con men, Mr. Durning was a crooked cop in the 1973 movie “The Sting”; starring with Nick Nolte; he was a dedicated assistant football coach in “North Dallas Forty” (1979); in the shadow of Robert De Niro, he was a hypocritical power broker in “True Confessions” (1981). If his ordinary-guy looks deprived him of leading-man roles, they did not leave him typecast……..
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