Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Charles Durning (1923-2012) & Gerry Anderson (1929-2012)

Two more passings to report.

Character actor Charles Durning, star of stage, movies, & television, passed away earlier this week at 89. Durning is known to today's generation of television viewers from his appearances opposite Burt Reynolds on Evening Shade, but had amassed quite a film resume over the course of his career, in films such as "The Sting", "Dog Day Afternoon", "Tootsie", and "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas", the latter of which also starred Reynolds and Dolly Parton. Durning won a Tony award for his work in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" in 1990.

What some of you probably don't know is that Durning was also a war veteran, having served in the Army during World War II, and was awarded the Silver & Bronze Stars and 3 Purple Hearts, along with a Victory Medal.

Gerry Anderson was best known for creating puppet adventure series for children such as Stingray, Fireball XL-5, Thunderbirds, & Captain Scarlet and the Mysterions, and the science fiction series, Space: 1999 & UFO. News has just come over the wires of Anderson's passing at 83 earlier today. Anderson also produced the feature film, "Journey to the Far Side of the Sun", which went by the title, "Doppleganger", in England, in 1969.

We will leave you with an intro from Stingray:

And Durning's musical turn, "The Sidestep", from "Whorehouse", uploaded by kjm2672:

Rest in peace, gentlemen.


magicdog said...

I've heard people say Durning's character in "Whorehouse" was Bill Clinton before Bill Clinton was Bill Clinton!

Durning will surely be missed and he worked almost to the end, he so enjoyed performing! I remembered him fondly as the Nazi General from "To Be Or Not To Be" (1983) and as Santa Claus (opposite to Angela Landsbury) in "Mrs Santa Claus"!

Plus there's my favorite episode of NCIS - in which he played a Medal of Honor recipient and veteran of Iwo Jima (ironic since Durning in real life fought in the European theatre) who thought he'd murdered his best friend during the battle.

Durning didn't talkk much of his war experiences on cam - having said that if he did he'd be unable to stop crying. He was the only member of his unit to survive the first wave at the beaches of Normandy on D-Day and was later captured during the Battle of the Bulge. After that he narrowly survived a massacre of POWs by the Germans. He'd been through Hell & back, only to give we the people so much entertainment.

hobbyfan said...

I wonder if Durning & Bubba Clinton were pals......!

I can understand his reluctance to discuss his military days. My late father didn't tell too many stories about his days in the Navy, and he also served in WWII.