Charles Durning, Actor, 1923 - 2012
Versatile character actor Charles Durning passed away on Monday, December 24, 2012, at his home in Manhattan at the age of 89. Durning was born in poverty (the ninth of 10 children, only 5 of whom lived to adulthood) and went through harrowing combat experiences during World War II, surviving the assualt on Omaha Beach on D-Day and killing a German soldier in hand-to-hand combat with a rock. His big break as an actor came in 1962 when Joseph Papp invited him to audition and subsequently cast him in 35 stage productions (often as a clown in a Shakespeare play). On TV and movie screens, he is best remembered for his role as a corrupt police lieutenant in The Sting; a widower smitten with a cross-dressing Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie; the suicidal industrialist Waring Hudsucker in The Hudsucker Proxy; and as sleazy, governors in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and O Brother, Where Art Thou? Durning had a semi-recurring role as Francis Griffin in Fox’s Family Guy, as well as voice-over roles in The Land Before Time IV and The Butter Battle Book.