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8 items from 2012

Charles Durning: An appreciation of the SAG honoree

29 December 2012 4:22 AM, PST | Gold Derby | See recent Gold Derby news »

Along with Jack Klugman, character actor Charles Durning also passed away on Christmas Eve. He died of natural causes at his New York City apartment at the age of 89. -Insertgroups:12- As with Klugman, his pursuit of acting had to be put on hold when he was drafted into the Us Army during World War II. Durning served with distinction, despite injuries that resulted in three Purple Hearts, winning both the Silver and Bronze stars for valor. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, he was wounded in the leg while in one of the first units to land on Omaha Beach. He went on to fight in the Battle of the Bulge and was captured by the Germans at one point. Following the war, he worked as a journeyman actor for decades, appearing in small roles in theater, film and television. His big breaks came one after the other in 1973. He was featured »

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Charles Durning obituary

28 December 2012 7:35 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Prolific American actor who was Oscar nominated for roles in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and To Be Or Not to Be

The American actor Charles Durning, who has died aged 89, first grabbed audience attention as the crooked Lieutenant Snyder in The Sting (1973). He makes an explosive appearance, tearing down an alley after the slick grifter played by Robert Redford, and repeatedly lurches out of the shadows throughout the rest of the film. Durning had only a handful of scenes, and over the next 40 years would seldom be granted more screen time in 200-odd film and TV roles. Nevertheless, his jowly face, with its boxer's nose and sly eyes, grew increasingly familiar, and his name in the opening titles usually promised good things ahead. His heavyset frame meant he was often cast as tough guys, but he later assumed more jovial roles, portraying Father Christmas several times.

His first »

- Chris Wiegand

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Broadway dims its lights for Charles Durning on Thursday night

27 December 2012 3:20 PM, PST | Pop2it | See recent Pop2it news »

At exactly 8 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, Dec. 27, Broadway will dim its lights to honor Charles Durning, who died Monday at 89.

Though well known for TV's "Rescue Me" where he played Michael, Tommy's dad for seven years, and as the voice of Francis Griffin on "Family Guy" for a decade, Durning was a steady presence on Broadway since 1964 when he began as an understudy.

By 1972, however, he had a breakout role in "That Championship Season" as the self-promoting mayor.

Durning won a Tony Award in 1990 for his portrayal of Big Daddy in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."

The varied roles continued. And in 1996, Durning had a courtroom duel with George C. Scott -- consider the show of machismo on that stage -- in "Inherit the Wind." The next year he starred with Julie Harris in a Broadway revival of "The Gin Game."

His final Broadway appearance was at the kingmaker, »


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Charles Durning, king of character actors, dies in NYC

25 December 2012 8:42 AM, PST | EW - Inside Movies | See recent - Inside Movies news »

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 theater in Buffalo, N.Y. When one of the comedians showed up too drunk to go on, »

- Associated Press

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Charles Durning Dies

25 December 2012 4:30 AM, PST | | See recent news »

Charles Durning, the versatile character actor whose friendly face and full form was recognizable to movie audiences since the mid-'70s, died of natural causes at his Manhattan home Dec. 24, his agent confirmed. He was 89. Among his roles: The corrupt cop in The Sting, the show-stopping Governor in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (for which he was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar), Jessica Lange's father and Dustin Hoffman's love-smitten suitor in Tootsie, a buffoon of a German officer in To Be Or Not to Be (another Oscar nod) and Warren Beatty's law-enforcement boss in Dick Tracy. His range of real-life roles was even broader. Durning, a genuine World War II hero with the Purple Hearts to prove it, worked in a button factory, taught ballroom dancing, sung on radio, trained as a stockbroker and painted bridges. According to a 1990 People profile, at the time he played Big Daddy to Kathleen Turner's Maggie the Cat in a Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, During had been on his own since age 16, when he left home because his widowed mother, Louise, was having trouble supporting five kids on the money she earned laundering cadets' uniforms at West Point. (His father, an Army sergeant, died when Durning was 12.) »

- Stephen M. Silverman

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Regional Offerings In NY Theater: Looking Outside The City’s Horizons For That Next Show

10 September 2012 9:31 PM, PDT | Scott Feinberg | See recent Scott Feinberg news »

By Sam Negin

Theater Editor & Columnist


For regular theatergoers like me, trying to figure out what to see next can become a game. But what do you do when you’ve seen everything around town before the next crop of shows comes up for the fall? Maybe see Book of Mormon again?

Try going to a regional theater like Playwrights Horizons or the Papermill Playhouse. Even a New York-based theater company like The Public Theater has a number of wonderful offerings each year. A number of their productions have come to Broadway over the years, and this season, there are a number of shows at each of these theater companies that have their eye on Broadway.

A few of the productions that got their start at Playwright’s Horizons in the past are Clybourne Park (which won this year’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Best Play), Assassins, Grey Gardens, »

- Sam Negin

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Kiefer Sutherland Talks Touch and the 24 Movie

22 January 2012 9:23 AM, PST | | See recent news »

The new Fox drama Touch, debuting with a preview on January 25th (prior to its March 19th premiere), shows how seemingly unrelated people all over the world affect each other’s lives in ways that are both seen and unseen, known and unknown. From creator/writer Tim Kring (Heroes) and actor/executive producer Kiefer Sutherland, the series will follow widower and single father Martin Bohn (Sutherland), who learns that his emotionally challenged 11-year-old son, Jake (David Mazouz), possesses the ability to perceive the seemingly hidden patterns that connect every life on the planet and he figures out a way to communicate directly with his son through numbers instead of words. While at the TCA Winter Press Tour, Kiefer Sutherland talked about how he came to be doing another television series so soon after 24, why he responded so deeply to this compelling idea, gave hints about where the series will go after the pilot, »

- Christina Radish

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Kiefer Sutherland: Big-Screen ’24′ Will Be Like Going Home

14 January 2012 11:34 AM, PST | | See recent news »

By Beck/Smith Kiefer Sutherland smiles when he talks about anticipating the late April-early May start of production on the big-screen “24″ movie. “That’s like going home,” he says of getting back into Jack Bauer’s skin.

It’s been more than five years since the “24” team first set its sites on making a feature. Sutherland acknowledges, “That process has taken us so long; it’s such a complicated script to write. Normally, we have 24 hours to tell a story. Trying to condense it into two hours involves a lot of hard choices: What kind of story do you want to tell? How political do you want to make it? How character-driven do you want to make it?”

Sutherland was in fine form at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour this week, talking about his Jan. 25-debuting Fox “Touch” series that has him as the father of a mute, »

- Beck / Smith

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