We just lost Jack Klugman on Monday and today another beloved actor has died. According to Sky.com Charles Durning, two times Oscar winner died of natural causes. Klugman was 90 and Durning was 89. These veteran actors of Hollywood will be missed. Hollywood is honoring the death of both these fine actors. Both of actors were favorites of mine.
Durning’s friend and agent Judith Moss said Durning died at his home in New York City. “Durning is best remembered for his Oscar-nominated roles as a comically corrupt governor in The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas and his portrayal of a bumbling Nazi officer in To Be Or Not To Be in 1983. He was also the would-be suitor of Dustin Hoffman, posing as a female soap opera star in Tootsie.” “Tootsie was just hilarious and one of my favorite movies.
Charles During began acting at the Shakespeare Festival his success came with the tony award play, “That Championship Season in 1972.” The play was also a Pulitzer winner. “He went on to appear in more than 100 films, winning a Golden Globe in 1991 for his role in the TV film “The Kennedys Of Massachusetts and a Tony in 1990 as Big Daddy in the Broadway revival of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.”
He received his star on Broadway in 2008. His recipe for success; he never turned down a role and never argued with the producer. The man lived for acting and when he didn’t have a role to play he “drove his wife crazy” checking the mail.
He came from humble beginnings. His father was injured during World War I and could not work. His mother supported the family by washing cadet uniforms. Later, he would enlist as a soldier in World War II. He was one of the first American soldiers to reach the Beach of Normandy. He was the only American Soldier from his troop to survive after the D-Day Invasion.
During his time in the service he was bayoneted in the leg by a German soldier and he was one of the prisoners that were taken during the Battle of the Bulge. For his efforts he received the Silver Star and three Purple Hearts.
Despite his bravery and an excellence as a soldier, his first love was always acting. He started as a burlesque theater usher, and eventually he was given the opportunity to replace a drunken comedian. He admits he was hooked the minute he heard the audience laugh.
Charles Durning was Irish and my last name is Irish. Our family is of Irish, English and French Canadian decent. We love the character and temperament of the Irish which is similar to French Canadian. Charles Durning took that fighting spirit into battle and into his work as an actor. He truly lived the roles he played.
One would think that we are losing all the great legends of Hollywood, yet there are still many veterans who are over 80. In terms of male veterans we still have Eli Wallach who was born in 1915. Wallach played alongside Charles Durning in the movie “Tough Guys” in 1986. The veteran actor, Kirk Douglas who is famous for his role as Spartacus was also in that film. Kurt Douglas played alongside Charles Durning in the supernatural movie, “The Fury”, released in 1978.
With an acting career as long as Durning’s it was inevitable that he would star alongside the great legends of Hollywood.