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|Also Known As:||Died:||April 22, 1999|
|Born:||February 25, 1925||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Glen Cove, New York, USA||Profession:||Cast ... actor casting director|
Stocky, gritty-looking character player with a shock of wavy hair, bushy eyebrows and strong, lined features. After serving in the Navy in WWII and receiving a Purple Heart, Remsen studied acting at Ithaca College and the Neighborhood Playhouse. During his tenure at the latter in the early 1950s, he performed on Broadway in "The Rainmaker" and in Mae West's revival of her legendary 20s success "Diamond Lil." Remsen also acted on TV in NY-based anthology dramas, including the acclaimed "U.S. Steel Hour" presentation of "Bang the Drum Slowly" (1956) with Paul Newman. Stage tours brought him to Hollywood, where he made his feature debut in Lewis Milestone's "Pork Chop Hill" (1959).
In 1964, Remsen's burgeoning career in features and TV was derailed by an accident on the set of a TV show in which he was performing. He made a handful of appearances during the next decade, but Remsen worked primarily during this period as a casting director for MGM Television, Lorimar, Spelling-Goldberg Productions and Quinn Martin Productions.
The early 70s saw not only the gradual return of Remsen the actor, but also the start of one of his most important creative collaborations. Robert Altman first cast Remsen in a small role in his striking, satirical fantasy "Brewster McCloud" (1970); the actor subsequently appeared in most of Altman's 70s films, including in "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" (1971), "California Split" (1974), "Nashville" (1975) and "The Wedding" (1978). Some of the suitably weathered Remsen's finest work for Altman was as the mangy T-Dub in "Thieves Like Us" (1974), a fine, moody remake of the classic film noir "They Drive By Night" (1948).
A prolific actor from the mid-70s on, Remsen has played a wide range of supporting roles, both large and small, in high-profile films including "Places in the Heart" (1984, memorable as Tee Tot Hightower), "Dick Tracy" (1990), "The Bodyguard" (1992) and "Maverick" (1994). Many of his credits, though, are in smaller films ranging from the uneven but worthy drama, "Inside Moves" (1980), to the standardized but watchable actioner, "Code of Silence" (1985), to the ambitious but off-kilter adaptation, "Miss Firecracker" (1989), and the warm comedy of "Only the Lonely" (1991). His last released film was 1999's "Forces of Nature."
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