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Charles Durning

Charles Durning

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Also Known As: Charles Durnham Died: December 24, 2012
Born: February 28, 1923 Cause of Death: Natural Causes
Birth Place: Highland Falls, New York, USA Profession: actor, dancer, dance instructor, bartender, night watchman, construction worker, cab driver, elevator operator, burlesque house usher, Western Union delivery boy

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A veteran character actor who was a widely recognizable face in film and on television for over five decades, Charles Durning earned his place as a dependable presence often playing pugnacious tough guys and authority figures. After working as a nightclub dancer and instructor, the WWII veteran broke into acting in the 1960s on the New York stage, which lead to him being discovered by director George Roy Hill and cast as a corrupt cop who harasses Robert Redford in "The Sting" (1973). Two years later, he earned considerable praise for playing a Brooklyn cop who negotiates with Al Pacino's bank robber in the classic crime thriller "Dog Day Afternoon" (1975). From there, he stole scenes in "North Dallas Forty" (1979) and "The Muppet Movie" (1979), while in the following decade he earned Oscar nominations as Best Supporting Actor for "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" (1982) and "To Be or Not to Be" (1983). After wooing a cross-dressing Dustin Hoffman in the hit comedy "Tootsie" (1982), Durning was a regular on the popular sitcom "Evening Shade" (CBS, 1990-94), while landing notable supporting turns in films like "The Hudsucker Proxy" (1994). Always busy well into his senior years, Durning delivered...

A veteran character actor who was a widely recognizable face in film and on television for over five decades, Charles Durning earned his place as a dependable presence often playing pugnacious tough guys and authority figures. After working as a nightclub dancer and instructor, the WWII veteran broke into acting in the 1960s on the New York stage, which lead to him being discovered by director George Roy Hill and cast as a corrupt cop who harasses Robert Redford in "The Sting" (1973). Two years later, he earned considerable praise for playing a Brooklyn cop who negotiates with Al Pacino's bank robber in the classic crime thriller "Dog Day Afternoon" (1975). From there, he stole scenes in "North Dallas Forty" (1979) and "The Muppet Movie" (1979), while in the following decade he earned Oscar nominations as Best Supporting Actor for "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" (1982) and "To Be or Not to Be" (1983). After wooing a cross-dressing Dustin Hoffman in the hit comedy "Tootsie" (1982), Durning was a regular on the popular sitcom "Evening Shade" (CBS, 1990-94), while landing notable supporting turns in films like "The Hudsucker Proxy" (1994). Always busy well into his senior years, Durning delivered one quality performance after another and was especially good as Denis Leary's womanizing father on "Rescue Me" (FX, 2004-2011). Though never an above the title name, Durning's durable presence in all genres of television and film made him a one-of-a-kind performer beloved by all.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Life Zone, The (2012)
2.
 IMurders (2009)
3.
 Golden Boys, The (2009)
4.
5.
 Good Dick (2008)
6.
 Forget About It (2008)
7.
 Deal (2008)
8.
9.
 Room and Board (2007)
10.
 Kinky Killers (2007)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Was working as an usher in a Buffalo, NY burlesque house when hired to replace a drunken "second banana" on stage
1944:
Served as Ranger in U.S. Army during WWII; landed in Normandy on D-Day
:
Worked as half of a ballroom dancing act for 11 years
:
Reportedly worked with Alvin Ailey Dance Company for three years
:
Appeared somewhere between 40-50 plays in Brooklyn stock companies; also acted off-Broadway
1962:
Appeared in 35 plays as part of the New York Shakespeare Festival
1965:
Made screen acting debut in "Harvey Middleman, Fireman"
1970:
Acted in Brian De Palma's "Hi, Mom!" (credited as Charles Durnham)
1972:
Discovered by producer George Roy Hill in New York production of Jason Miller's "That Championship Season"; played Mayor George Sitkowski
1973:
Landed breakthrough feature supporting role in Hill's "The Sting" as corrupt policeman Lt. Snyder
1972:
Appeared on NBC soap "Another World"
1973:
Appeared opposite Julie Harris in Broadway production "The Au Pair Man"
1975:
Won plaudits for his turn in "Dog Day Afternoon"
1975:
Starred opposite Maureen Stapleton in the CBS TV-movie "Queen of the Stardust Ballroom"
1975:
First starring TV role, as Officer Frank Murphy on short-lived "The Cop and the Kid" (NBC); series resurfaced as "Diff'rent Strokes" without Durning
1982:
Received Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination for "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas"
1982:
Played a suitor to a cross-dressing Dustin Hoffman in "Tootsie"
1983:
Earned second Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for the remake of "To Be or Not to Be"
1985:
Supported Hoffman in revival of "Death of a Salesman"; recreated role of Charley in CBS television adaptation
1990:
Played town doctor Harlan Elldridge on popular CBS ensemble sitcom "Evening Shade"
1990:
Received acclaim for his portrayal of Big Daddy in Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"
1990:
Portrayed John 'Honey Fitz' Fitzgerald in ABC miniseries "The Kennedys of Massachusetts"
1993:
Starred in "Harlan & Merleen," an unsold pilot spun off from "Evening Shade"
1995:
Cast as Holly Hunter's father in "Home for the Holidays," directed by Jodie Foster
1997:
Returned to Broadway starring opposite Julie Harris in a revival of "The Gin Game"; later toured with Harris
1999:
Provided voice of recurring character Francis Griffin on Fox animated comedy "Family Guy"
2000:
Acted in New Jersey revival of David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross"
2000:
Returned to Broadway, co-starring in a revival of "The Best Man"
2000:
Appeared in "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
2002:
Co-starred on CBS midseason series "First Monday" as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice
2004:
Played Mike Gavin, the retired firefighter father of Denis Leary's character on FX drama "Rescue Me"; character died on season 4 finale; earned Emmy nomination in 2008 for Guest Actor in a Drama Series
2004:
Landed Emmy nominated guest role as a Marine veteran on CBS drama "NCIS"
2005:
Starred in teen comedy "Dirty Deeds" with Lacey Chabert
2006:
Co-starred with Burt Reynolds and Robert Loggia in "Forget About It"
2008:
Received star on Hollywood Walk of Fame next to the one of his idols, James Cagney
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Columbia University: New York , New York -
New York University: New York , New York -

Notes

Awarded a Purple Heart and a Silver Star for valor in WWII after being wounded in action three times.

Inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1999.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Carol Durning. Divorced; mother of Durning's three children.
wife:
Mary Anne Amelio. Married in 1974; had two children from previous marriage.

Family close complete family listing

daughter:
Michelle Durning. Actor. Mother, Carol Durning.
son:
Douglas Durning. Mother, Carol Durning.
daughter:
Jeanine Durning. Mother, Carol Durning.

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