Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Charles Durning Has Died


Charles Durning grew up in poverty, lost five of his nine siblings to disease, barely lived through D-Day and was taken prisoner at the Battle of the Bulge.

His hard life and wartime trauma provided the basis for a prolific 50-year career as a consummate Oscar-nominated character actor, playing everyone from a Nazi colonel, to the Pope to Dustin Hoffman's would-be suitor in Tootsie.

Durning, who died Monday at age 89 in New York, got his start as an usher at a burlesque theatre in Buffalo, N.Y. When one of the comedians showed up too drunk to go on, Durning took his place. He would recall years later that he was hooked as soon as heard the audience laughing.

27 comments:

Sherry said...

Oh how I loved him in "Oh Brother ". His on screen magic will be missed.

SusanB said...

I loved this guy. A true hero in WW2 and a great guy. RIP

Patty said...

Two legends gone today. Too sad. RIP Charles and Jack. You were both outstanding actors that will always be remembered.

timebob said...

losing so many great actors and not many coming up to fill their absence.

Sherry said...

I loved him!

MISCH said...

He was wonderful...Tootsie Ah

rejectedcarebear said...

Loved him. RIP Charles. Tootsie was great and he was also very good in Home for the Holidays and Rescue Me

Jamie 2 said...

Great stage actor too - I saw him in Cat in New York. It's amazing how many movies he's been in. He's got to be one of the best character actors ever.

Roman Holiday said...

May they rest in peace.

Momster said...

I had no idea he had such a rough early life--God bless you, Charles Durning. He was in the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas years ago. The guy who wrote it, Larry King, died last week.

(And no, not the other Larry King, apparently he will live forever)

katsm0711 said...

First I read simply that he survived D Day, Malmedy, and killed a Nazi with just a rock. Then another story elaborated that he saw the Nazi running at him with a gun but bc he was just 14 -15 years old, he couldn't fire his gun at him. The kid stabbed him with his bayonet 7 times and he STILL managed to grab a rock and bludgeon him to death. Then he held the boys body and cried. I can't cut and paste but the new York Times has a nice article on him. I don't remember him as an actor but I'm fascinated with WW2 vets. What movie was he most memorable in?

HalleGoLightly said...

You see that building? Without enough novocaine I had two wisdom teeth removed there.

jk said...

He was was such a great character actor---The Sting, Best Little Whore House, Tootsie, North Dallas 40. Loved him in Evening Shade on TV--why is only 1 series of that out on DVD when all the lousy new shows get released the second they're done for the season? (i say that about St Elsewhere, too)

Jason Blue Eyes said...

He was amazing in "Dog Day Afternoon." He was just one of those guys that made any movie or TV show better by just being in it. He still gave it his everything in later years as Denis Leary's dad in the great "Rescue Me."

Steppy said...

He was terrific as a guest star on NCIS. Also, loved him on Rescue Me. Great actor, great man.

Michelle said...

Great actor. Rest in peace.

parissucksliterally said...

RIP. SUCH a great actor!

Henriette said...

Gonna watch Tootsie!

Tru Leigh said...

I saw him once in a bookstore. After he left the clerk said he was buying books of naughty limericks.

Probably what kept him alive for so long.

califblondy said...

I loved him in everything, but most recently was Rescue Me. He seemed to get very frail as the series went on. I didn't realize he had such a harsh upbringing.

auntliddy said...

I loved this guy too. Always enjoyed his work, and respected his service in WW2. Classy guy. Rip, my friend.

JaneBond462 said...

Charles Durning was a guest star on one of my favorite episodes of my fave show, NCIS. He played Ernie Yost, a Medal of Honor recipient who wants to turn himself in for murdering a fellow marine during the Battle of Iwo Jima. It was a great episode and Charles Durning was a class act.

motcollins said...

He used to be at the National Memorial Day Concert every year, often reading a letter from a soldier from the war being honored that year. He is scheduled to be buried at Arlington.


Invain said...

You have to watch him in Home For The Holidays....BEST movie EVER!

Jennmcn said...

Wow. All the good ones are going. I loved Jack Klugman and Charles Durning watching them. Durning was hilarious in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and just so funny.

My Dad was in the Army Air Corps in WWII and flew bombing missions over Germany died last year. We're losing the greatest generation. We are at war right now but most of us aren't sacrificing anything. I have a son in the Marine Corps but he hasn't had to go overseas yet. I have friends that have sons and husbands over there but we don't feel it at home like in WWII.

So let's raise a toast to the Greatest Generation who, like Charles Durning made huge sacrifices so we can still enjoy the freedoms our Founding Father's endowed us with.

Zeeky_Boogy_Doog said...

There's a bunch of celebrities with amazing backgrounds like this, especially the ones in their 70's-plus.

Parts of Christopher Lee's service is classified to this day. He's one of my favorites because he volunteered to fight for Finland in 1939, when Russia illegally invaded.

This article is incredible! There are some you'd expect, but others are very surprising. Julia Child.

http://www.cracked.com/article_18905_11-celebrities-who-were-secretly-total-badasses

pusssykatt said...

Invain I agree...he was wonderful as the father of Holly Hunter, Cynthia Stevenson and Robert Downey Jr., husband of Anne Bancroft and unrequited love of his sister-in-law Geraldine Chaplin in "Home For the Holidays." It's one of the few Thanksgiving movies, and it still hasn't lost it's appeal. I love that movie, and he's so good in it...everyone is good in it! If you haven't seen it, and you like quirky...then watch this one.