Charles Grodin, Star Of ‘Beethoven’ And ‘Midnight Run,’ Has Died At 86 : NPR

Charles Grodin, pictured in 2013, has starred in such films as Rosemary’s Baby, The Heartbreak Kid, and Midnight Run. Charles Sykes / Invision / AP Hide caption

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Charles Sykes / Invision / AP

Charles Grodin, pictured in 2013, has starred in such films as Rosemary’s Baby, The Heartbreak Kid, and Midnight Run.

Charles Sykes / Invision / AP

Actor Charles Grodin, whose cartoon characters were almost always unhappy and whose serious characters generally gave an eerie twist to this brand dissatisfaction, died Tuesday of cancer at his Wilton, Connecticut home. He was 86 years old.

His death from Bone marrow cancerwas confirmed NPR by his son, actor Nicholas Grodin.

He was the obstetrician who gave Rosemary’s baby to a coven of witches, the dog owner who couldn’t control his giant St. Bernard in the Beethoven films, and the man who met the girl of his dreams a little late in The Heartbreak Kid. Unfortunately he was on his honeymoon.

Grodin credited Elaine May’s direction The heartbreaking child Starting his film career in 1972, he had made his uncredited child actor debut almost two decades earlier in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. He became a familiar face in comedies such as Heaven Can Wait and Midnight Run, in which he played an accountant who was pursued by Robert De Niro after he was embezzled by the crowd.

When Grodin wasn’t working in films, he directed plays on Broadway, including Lovers and Other Strangers in 1968 and Thieves with Marlo Thomas in 1974. And in 1975 he achieved great success alongside Ellen Burstyn as the annual Philanderer in the romantic Broadway comedy Same Time, Next Year (the part went to Alan Alda in the film version).

Grodin once described himself as “reserved but excited,” which is what described many of his characters. And he was so in demand as a talk show guest on late night television (Johnny Carson had him 36 times on the Tonight Show), in the 1990s he hosted a talk show himself.

His talent for dead humor extended to books with titles like How I Must Be Whoever I Am.

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