‘Midnight Run,’ ‘Heartbreak Kid’ actor was 86

Charles Grodin, the television and film actor who brought his whimsical delivery to films like “The Heartbreak Kid” and “Midnight Run” Robert De Niro, and the “Beethoven” Family dog ​​movies, has died. He was 86 years old.

Grodin died Tuesday of bone marrow cancer at his Wilton, Connecticut home. His son Nicholas Grodin confirmed this to the US TODAY.

Grodin also starred in “Dave”, “The Woman in Red” and “Heaven Can Wait”. On Broadway, he starred with Ellen Burstyn in the long-running comedy “Same Time, Next Year” from the 1970s.

In the 1990s, Grodin made a name for himself as a liberal commentator on radio and television. He had his own CNBC talk show in the 1990s and was a frequent late night talk show guest, appearing regularly as a slide on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” and on “Late Night With David Letterman”. He moved to MSNBC and then to CBS ’60 Minutes II.

He also wrote plays and television scripts, and won an Emmy in 1997 for his work on a Paul Simon special. Grodin wrote several books in which he humorously reflected on his ups and downs in show business, including 1989 “It would be so nice if you weren’t here: My Journey through Show Business”.

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Charles Grodin, left, and Robert De Niro in a scene from the 1988s

“One of the funniest people I’ve ever met,” actor Steve Martin, who starred with Grodin in “The Lonely Guy” in 1984 wrote in a Twitter tribute.

“Chuck was as good a person as an actor,” De Niro said in a statement. “Midnight Run was a great project to work on and Chuck made it even better.”

“He will be missing,” added De Niro. “I’m supposed to hear very, very much about his death.”

Grodin was born on April 21, 1935 in Pittsburgh, Penn, and graduated from the University of Miami to pursue acting. The aspiring actor auditioned for the title role in Mike Nichols’ 1967 film “The Graduate,” but the part for what became a classic went to Dustin Hoffman instead.

Grodin had a small role as obstetrician Dr. Hill in “Rosemary’s Baby” from 1968 and was part of the large cast of Nichols’ adaptation of “Catch-22,” but became widely known in the 1972 Elaine May comedy “The Heartbreak Kid,” “as the selfish newlyweds who were his neurotic bride leaves to go after a beautiful, wealthy blonde played by Cybill Shepherd.

In 1976 Grodin starred in an elaborate remake of “King Kong” as the greedy showman who brings the big ape to New York. (The World Trade Center replaced the Empire State Building at its height.) He was Warren Beatty’s devious attorney in Heaven Can Wait and Gene Wilder’s friend in The Woman in Red.

Grodin played a mischievous jewel thief who courted Miss Piggy for ulterior motives in The Great Muppet Caper in 1981.

Miss Piggy’s official Twitter account wrote a loving tribute that said, “My beloved Charles Grodin was a fabulous friend who moved on and off screen. Debonair, handsome, talented, charming – and great taste! I will miss him dearly.”

In 1988’s Midnight Run, Grodin distinguished himself as a harassing, bail-out mob accountant. De Niro starred as the gruff bounty hunter who tried to get him safely across country to Los Angeles – pursued by another bounty hunter and the vengeful mob staff.

“Beethoven” brought him success in 1992 in the family animal comedy genre. He repeated the role of angry father George Newton, owner of a drooling St. Bernard dog, for the 1993 sequel, “Beethoven’s 2nd”.

Charles Grodin hosted his CNBC show from 1995 to 1998.

In his 2002 book, “I Like You Better When You’re Funny,” Grodin said that too many television programmers believe that viewers are best served “if we only hear from lifelong journalists.” He argued that “people outside Washington and in professions other than journalism” also deserved a soap box.

In 2006 he returned to the big screen as Zach Braff’s know-it-all in “The Ex”. Newer credits are “The Comedian” and appearances on the TV series “Louie”. His last credit was the 2017 film An Imperfect Murder.

Grodin and his first wife Julia Ferguson had a daughter, comedian Marion Grodin. The marriage ended in divorce. He and his second wife, Elissa Durwood, had a son, Nicholas.

Contributor: The Associated Press


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