Tuesday, December 25, 2012

RIP, Charles Durning. War Hero, Actor Dead at 89

Charles Durning, 1923-2012
Dec. 25, 2012 - Actor Charles Durning, star of stage and screen, died yesterday in his New York City home at the age of 89. The Hollywood Reporter says that his agent "told The Associated Press that he died Dec. 24 of natural causes."

Durning was one of the greats of Hollywood, equally commanding in both comedic or dramatic roles. Durning's 50-year acting career included roles in film, television and Broadway. He played supporting roles in memorable movies such as "Tootsie," "Dog Day Afternoon," "The Hudsucker Proxy," "Home for the Holidays," "Dick Tracy" and more.

"Durning also was an accomplished stage actor and once said he preferred doing plays because of the immediacy they offered," reports Reuters. "He gained his first substantial acting experience through the New York Shakespeare Festival starting in the early 1960s and won a Tony Award for playing Big Daddy in a 1990 Broadway revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."

Military Hero: Acting was not the most impressive aspect of Charles Durning. He was also a highly-decorated soldier in World War II. In real life, Durning's is a story of incredible heroism. For his service during World War II, notes Military Money Matters, "Charles Durning was awarded the Silver Star Medal and three Purple Hearts."

Durning's death came on the same day as that of another great actor, Jack Klugman, who died of natural causes in his home in Northridge, CA.