• September 25, 2023

Actor Ned Beatty Of ‘Deliverance’ Has Died At Age 83 : NPR

Ned Beatty, a veteran character actor who worked in film, television, and theater, has died at the age of 83. He was best known for his memorable appearances on Deliverance, Network, and Superman.


Ned Beatty was a character actor best known for his appearances in the films “Deliverance”, “Network” and “Superman”. He died on Sunday at the age of 83. NPR’s Anastasia Tsioulcas recalls Beatty and his long and ongoing career, a career where he played everything from a network manager to a stuffed bear.

ANASTASIA TSIOULCAS, BYLINE: Ned Beatty was born and raised in Kentucky and has worked in film, theater, and television for over four decades. He grew up as a singer in barbershop quartets. After his father died at the age of 15, he began working as an usher in a cinema and was able to see many films. His own first film role was a very memorable one. He appeared in the 1972 film Deliverance, in which he played an unfortunate weekend warrior who was sexually assaulted in the backwoods of Georgia.


TSIOULCAS: In a 1989 comment for the New York Times, Beatty said he was very proud to have played that role. He wrote that he got angry when people yelled at him like a pig when they saw him in public. Instead, he asked how it would be if men really dealt with sexual assault and seriously thought about living with that fear of rape? In 2003, Ned Beatty appeared as Big Daddy in a Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams’ play “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof”. In his diverse career, Beatty also played comical roles from the clumsy henchman Otis in “Superman” and “Superman II” to the bitter Teddy Lots-o’-Huggin ‘Bear who rules Sunnyside Daycare in “Toy Story 3”. “


NED BEATTY: (As Lots-o’-Huggin ‘Bear) As the kids get old, new ones join. When they get old, they are replaced with new ones. You will never outgrow or neglect, never abandon or forget. No owner means no heartbreak.

TSIOULCAS: Beatty received an Oscar nomination for the film “Network” from 1976, in which he appears as a wealthy, feared boss for only a few minutes.


BEATTY: (as Arthur Jensen) You interfered with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won’t have it. Is that clear?

TSIOULCAS: Beatty humbly said in an interview with WHYY’s Fresh Air in 1987 that part of the mystery of his role on “Network” was building his actual appearance on screen.


BEATTY: I have to tell you every time you read a play or a script and they talk about your character page by page before you show up (laughter) …

TERRY GROSS: (laughter).

BEATTY: It’s like a license to steal. It’s wonderful when they talk about you for a long time before you get there. It’s like being on screen the whole time. And this particular character was very focused by a wonderful actor named Robert Duvall who was talking about me and his fear of me all the time.

TSIOULCAS: In his Fresh Air interview, Beatty said he was very lucky not to be labeled as a certain type of character. Instead, he was treated as an actor who could play many different roles. His long filmography and list of television credits are testament to this versatility.

Anastasia Tsioulcas, NPR News, New York.


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