Tv - Revered Character Actor Charles Durning Dead At 89

Movie and Tv veteran Charles Durning has died, aged 89.

The two-time Oscar nominee passed away in his native New York on Christmas Eve (24Dec12) - the same day as another beloved Tv and film star, Jack Klugman, who was 90.

He died of natural causes at his home in Manhattan.

Durning, a former professional boxer, martial arts expert and dance instructor, was a World War Two hero who survived the infamous massacre of American Prisoners of War by German troops at Malmedy, Belgium. He served with the 1st Infantry Division and was also involved in the Normandy Invasion on Omaha Beach in June, 1944. He was awarded the Combat Infantryman's Badge, Silver Star Medal and three Purple Hearts among his many accolades for services to his country.

He picked up his fledgling acting career after the war with a series of stage roles but didn't land his big movie break until the early 1970s, following a series of acclaimed plays and appearances on 1960's shows. His first major film role came opposite Robert Redford in The Sting in 1973. He followed that big screen success with a role in Charles Bronson's western Breakheart Pass two years later.

Durning's eclectic and varied film career also included credits in Tootsie, The Muppet Movie, North Dallas Forty, Sharky's MAChine, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Dog Day Afternoon, and he earned Oscar nods for his roles in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and Mel Brooks' comedy To Be Or Not To Be, in which he played a Nazi officer.

Despite his gruff persona and his penchant for playing severe, stern roles, Durning portrayed Santa Claus in five Tv movies, including It Nearly Wasn't Christmas, Mrs. Santa Claus and A Boyfriend for Christmas.

Durning also scooped a Tony Award in 1990 for his portrayal of Big Daddy in a revival of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - not bad for someone who was allegedly kicked out of the American Academy of Dramatic Art drama school for lacking talent!

Paying tribute to his pal on Twitter.com on Christmas Day (25Dec12), Happy Days star Henry Winkler called Durning "the actor's actor".

Durning was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2008. According to Imdb.com, he was still making what was his final film, Scavenger Killers, when he passed away.


Contactmusic

Tags: Charles Durning

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

'Nas: Time Is Illmatic' Marks The 20th Anniversary Of One Of The Greatest Ever Rap Albums [Trailer]

The 1990s marked a turning point for rap and hip hop, with plenty of artists...

'Nas: Time Is Illmatic' Marks The 20th Anniversary Of One Of The Greatest Ever Rap Albums [Trailer]

Big Announcement Time: Christian Bale Will Play Steve Jobs In New Biopic. Another One.

If you’ve seen that Steve Jobs biopic starring Ashton Kutcher, you might think...

Big Announcement Time: Christian Bale Will Play Steve Jobs In New Biopic. Another One.

Martin Scorsese Working on Grateful Dead Career-Spanning Documentary

Martin Scorsese is working on a career-spanning retrospective documentary of the Grateful...

Martin Scorsese Working on Grateful Dead Career-Spanning Documentary

'Interstellar' is Coming: But What Is a Black Hole, Exactly?

We're now just weeks away from the release of Christopher Nolan's sci-fi epic Interstellar -the...

'Interstellar' is Coming: But What Is a Black Hole, Exactly?

Ouch! 'Serena' Is Big Misfire for Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence

It took about 400 years to make, but finally, Serena is here. Well, in the...

Ouch! 'Serena' Is Big Misfire for Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence

Nicole Scherzinger - Big Fat Lie - A Track by Track Interview

Nicole Scherzinger talks us through the tracks on her second solo album 'Big Fat Lie', released...

Nicole Scherzinger - Big Fat Lie - A Track By Track Interview Video

Sam Smith - Like I Can Audio

An audio for Sam Smith's super soulful love ballad 'Like I Can' has now been made available. The song is taken from his...

Sam Smith - Like I Can (Audio) Video

'Ouija' Cast Joined By Fellow TV Stars For Hollywood's Spookiest Social Seance [Video]

With the forthcoming release of supernatural horror 'Ouija', the cast were joined...

'Ouija' Cast Joined By Fellow TV Stars For Hollywood's Spookiest Social Seance [Video]
Advertisement

Comments

Charles Durning Newsletter

Subscribe to this news alert service to receive news and reviews on Charles Durning

Unsubscribe | Unsubscribe All