Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Charles Durning, 1923-2012

Charles Durning (l.) with Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie

One more actor who has died is veteran charcter actor Charles Durning, who passed away last night at the age of 89. I'm not certain which of his roles will be best-remembered, since as a character actor he appeared in a huge number of movies and TV shows. One of the roles that should be high on the list is in Tootsie. Here, he plays the father of Jessica Lange, and falls in love with Dustin Hoffman's alter ego, not realizing of course that the alter ego is actually a man in women's clothing. This didn't earn Durning an Oscar nomination, however. In fact, Durning was nominated the same year for playing the governor in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Durning would go on to earn a second nomination the next year for playing the Col. Erhardt role in the Mel Brooks remake of To Be or Not To Be.

Among Durning's many other roles are as the man who wanted frogs' legs -- specifically Kermit's legs -- in The Muppet Movie; as a cop who gets conned by Robert Redford and Paul Newman in The Sting, and as one of the angels trying to save Earth in Two of a Kind.

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