Charles Durning

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Charles Durning
CharlesDurningMay2008.jpg
Durning at the 2008 National Memorial Day Concert in Washington, D.C.
BornCharles Edward Durning
(1923-02-28)February 28, 1923
Highland Falls, New York, U.S.
DiedDecember 24, 2012(2012-12-24) (aged 89)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Resting placeArlington National Cemetery
Arlington County, Virginia
Section 66, Grave 127[1]
38°52′25″N 77°03′51″W / 38.8737°N 77.0641°W / 38.8737; -77.0641
OccupationActor
Years active1951–2012
ReligionCatholicism
Spouse(s)
  • Carole Doughty (1959–1972; div.)
  • Mary Ann (Amelio) Durning (1974–2010; legally separated)
Children
  • Michele Durning
  • Douglas Edward Durning
  • Jeanine Durning
Parents
  • Louise Durning (née Leonard; 1894–1982)
  • James Durning (1883 – c. 1939)[2]
Relatives
  • James G. Durning (brother)
  • Clifford John Durning (brother)
  • Frances Durning (sister)
  • Gerald J. Durning (brother)
  • 5 more sisters[1]
Military career
AllegianceUnited States United States
Service/branchFlag of the United States Army (1775).gif Army of the United States United States Department of the Army Seal.svg
Years of service1943–1946
RankArmy-USA-OR-03.svg Private First Class
Awards9 awards, 2 badges, 1 button
 
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Charles Durning
CharlesDurningMay2008.jpg
Durning at the 2008 National Memorial Day Concert in Washington, D.C.
BornCharles Edward Durning
(1923-02-28)February 28, 1923
Highland Falls, New York, U.S.
DiedDecember 24, 2012(2012-12-24) (aged 89)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Resting placeArlington National Cemetery
Arlington County, Virginia
Section 66, Grave 127[1]
38°52′25″N 77°03′51″W / 38.8737°N 77.0641°W / 38.8737; -77.0641
OccupationActor
Years active1951–2012
ReligionCatholicism
Spouse(s)
  • Carole Doughty (1959–1972; div.)
  • Mary Ann (Amelio) Durning (1974–2010; legally separated)
Children
  • Michele Durning
  • Douglas Edward Durning
  • Jeanine Durning
Parents
  • Louise Durning (née Leonard; 1894–1982)
  • James Durning (1883 – c. 1939)[2]
Relatives
  • James G. Durning (brother)
  • Clifford John Durning (brother)
  • Frances Durning (sister)
  • Gerald J. Durning (brother)
  • 5 more sisters[1]
Military career
AllegianceUnited States United States
Service/branchFlag of the United States Army (1775).gif Army of the United States United States Department of the Army Seal.svg
Years of service1943–1946
RankArmy-USA-OR-03.svg Private First Class
Awards9 awards, 2 badges, 1 button

Charles Edward Durning (February 28, 1923 – December 24, 2012) was an American actor, with appearances in over 200 movies, television shows and plays.[3] Durning's memorable roles included the Oscar-winning The Sting (1973) and Dog Day Afternoon (1975), along with the comedies Tootsie (1982), and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) and To Be or Not to Be (1983).

Early life[edit]

Durning was born in Highland Falls, New York, the ninth of ten children. His three brothers James (Roger) (1915–2000), Clifford (1916–1994),and Gerald Durning (born 1926), and his sister Frances (born 1919) survived to adulthood, but five sisters lost their lives to scarlet fever and smallpox as children.[1][4] His mother, Louise (née Leonard; 1894–1982), was a laundress at West Point, and his father, James Durning (1883 – c. 1939),[2] was an Irish immigrant.[5][6] His mother was also of Irish descent.[7] Durning was raised Catholic.[8][9]

In 1959, Durning married his first wife, Carole Doughty. They divorced in 1972. He was legally separated from his second wife, Mary Ann (Amelio) Durning, in 2010. He is survived by his three children from his first marriage.

Military service[edit]

Charles Durning served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was drafted at age 20 and participated in the Normandy Invasion of France. He was wounded by a German “S” Mine on June 15, 1944 at La Mare des Mares, Normandy. Durning was discharged with the rank of Private First Class on January 30, 1946.[10]

Durning was known for participating in various functions to honor American veterans. He was the chairman one year of the U.S. National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans.[11] He was an honored guest speaker for over a decade at the National Memorial Day Concert televised by PBS every year on the Sunday evening of Memorial Day weekend.

Durning was paid a special tribute at the May 26, 2013 National Memorial Day Concert when Taps was sounded in his honor.

Military awards and decorations[edit]

For his valor and for the wounds he received during the war, Durning was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart Medals.[12] Additional awards included the Army Good Conduct Medal, the American Campaign Medal and the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one bronze service star, and the World War II Victory Medal[13] His badges included the Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Badge with Rifle Bar, and Honorable Service Lapel Pin.[10]

Durning received the French National Order of the Legion of Honor from the French consul in Los Angeles in April 2008.

Badges and pins
Combat Infantry Badge.svgArmyQualExpertBadgeHi.jpg
ArmyQualBadgeRifleBarHi.jpg
Ruptured duck pin.gif
Combat Infantryman BadgeExpert Badge with Rifle BarHonorable Service Lapel Button
Ribbons
  
Bronze star
Silver StarBronze Star
Purple HeartGood Conduct MedalAmerican Campaign Medal
EAME Campaign Medal (2x)World War II Victory MedalLegion of Honour – Chevalier

Acting career[edit]

While pursuing an acting career, Durning, a professional ballroom dancer, taught at Fred Astaire Dance Studio in New York City.

Referred to as "the King of Character Actors", Durning began his career in 1951. While working as an usher in a burlesque joint, he was hired to replace a drunken actor onstage. Subsequently, he performed in roughly 50 stock company productions and in various off-Broadway plays. He attracted the attention of Joseph Papp. Beginning in 1961, he appeared in 35 plays as part of the New York Shakespeare Festival. "That time in my life was my best time," Durning told Pittsburgh's Post Gazette in 2001. "I had no money at all, and he (Joseph Papp) didn't pay much. You were getting a salary for performance plus a rehearsal salary. We would do three plays in Central Park for the summer. And then you'd do three to six plays every year down on Lafayette Street -- new plays by new writers: Sam Shepard, David Mamet, David Rabe, John Ford Noonan, Jason Miller."

During this period, he segued into television and movies. He made his film debut in 1965, playing in "Harvey Middleman, Fireman". He appeared in John Frankenheimer's "I Walk the Line" (1970) starring Gregory Peck, two Brian De Palma movies, "Hi, Mom!" (1970), credited as Charles Durnham, with Robert De Niro and "Sisters" (1973). He also appeared in "Dealing: Or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues" (1972) with Barbara Hershey and John Lithgow.

Durning's performances in Broadway productions include "Drat! The Cat!" (1965), "Pousse-Café" (1966), "The Happy Time" (1968), "Indians" (1969), "That Championship Season" (1972), "In the Boom Boom Room" (1973), "The au Pair Man" (1973), "Knock Knock" (1976), "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (1990), "Inherit the Wind" (1996), "The Gin Game" (1997), Gore Vidal's "The Best Man" (2000).

In 2002, he performed in the Tony Randall produced "The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui" by Bertolt Brecht with Al Pacino. He played the role of Jack Jameson in Wendy Wasserstein's final play, "Third" (2005) with Diane Wiest at Lincoln Center's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre.

Durning won the L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award for his powerful performance in The Westwood Playhouse's 1977 production of David Rabe's "Streamers". In 1980, he won critical acclaim for his performance as Norman Thayer, Jr. in Los Angeles's Ahmanson Theater's production of "On Golden Pond" opposite Julie Harris.

In 1972, director George Roy Hill, impressed by Durning's performance in the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning play "That Championship Season", offered him a role in "The Sting" (1973). In the Oscar best picture winner, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, Durning won distinction as the crooked cop, Lt. Wm. Snyder, who polices and hustles professional con artists. He doggedly pursues the young grifter, Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford), only to become the griftee in the end. Other film credits include Dog Day Afternoon with Al Pacino; When A Stranger Calls; The Final Countdown; The Hindenburg; "Twilight's Last Gleaming" with Burt Lancaster; "True Confessions" with Robert De Niro. Some television credits include "The Connection"; Queen of the Stardust Ballroom, the made-for-television musical in which he played the mailman who reaches out to Maureen Stapleton's lonely widow on the dance floor; "Attica"; PBS's "The Dancing Bear" with Tyne Daly; the PBS production "I Would Be Called John" as Pope John XXIII; "Hallmark Hall of Fame: Casey Stengel", in which Durning played the legendary baseball manager Charles Dillon "Casey" Stengel; NBC's mini-series "Studs Lonigan" with Harry Hamlin and Colleen Dewhurst; "The Best Little Girl in the World" with Jennifer Jason Leigh. In 1976, he received both an Emmy and a Golden Globe nomination for his performance in the television mini-series Captains and the Kings.

In 1979, he played Doc Hopper, a man who owns a frog leg restaurant and the main antagonist in The Muppet Movie. In Tootsie, he played a suitor to a cross-dressing Dustin Hoffman. The two actors worked together again in a 1985 TV production of Death of a Salesman. In 1993, he guest starred in the Sean Penn-directed music video "Dance with the One That Brought You" by Shania Twain.

Other film roles include Henry Larson, the benevolent father of Holly Hunter's character in Home for the Holidays (1995) and "Pappy" O'Daniel, a cynical governor of Mississippi (a character loosely based on the Texas politician and showman W. Lee O'Daniel) in the Coen Brothers's "O Brother, Where Art Thou?".

On TV, he played town doctor Harlan Eldridge on the Burt Reynolds sitcom Evening Shade (1990–1994). From 1998-2002, he had a recurring role on Everybody Loves Raymond as the Barone family's long-suffering parish priest, Father Hubley. He also played the voice of recurring character Francis Griffin in the animated series Family Guy. He appeared on the FX television series Rescue Me, playing Mike Gavin, the retired firefighter father of Denis Leary's character.

In 2005, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for his portrayal of a Marine veteran in "Call of Silence," an episode in the television series NCIS, first broadcast November 23, 2004. Durning's character turns himself in to authorities, insisting that he must be prosecuted for having murdered his buddy during ferocious combat on Iwo Jima six decades earlier.[14] The real truth of the incident only becomes known for certain when the guilt-stricken veteran goes through a cathartic reliving of the battlefield events.

For his numerous roles on television, he earned nine Emmy Award nominations. He also received Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor nominations for The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas in 1982 and To Be or Not to Be in 1983. He won a Golden Globe in 1990 for his supporting role in the television miniseries The Kennedys of Massachusetts, having had three previous nominations. That same year, he won a Tony Award for his performance as Big Daddy in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof". He received two Drama Desk Awards for his performances in "That Championship Season" and "Third".

“There are many secrets in us, in the depths of our souls, that we don’t want anyone to know about,” he told Parade. “There’s terror and repulsion in us, the terrible spot that we don’t talk about. That place that no one knows about — horrifying things we keep secret. A lot of that is released through acting.”

In 1999, Durning was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame on Broadway. He was honored with the Life Achievement Award at the 14th Annual Screen Actors Guild Award Ceremony on January 27, 2008. On July 31, 2008 he was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame adjacent to one of his idols, James Cagney.

Death[edit]

Charles Durning died of natural causes at his home in Manhattan on December 24, 2012, aged 89[15][16] and was subsequently buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[17] On December 27, 2012, Broadway theaters dimmed their lights to honor him. The New York Times, which commented on Durning's more than 200 credited roles, referred to him and actor Jack Klugman, who died the same day, as "extraordinary actors ennobling the ordinary".[18] The Huffington Post compared the two men, calling them "character actor titans".[19]

Mr. Durning's three children were with him when he died. All three live in New York City.

Filmography[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
1962The Password Is CourageAmerican GI (uncredited)
1965Harvey Middleman, FiremanDooley
1969StilettoBit Part (uncredited)
1970I Walk the LineHunnicutt
1970Hi, Mom!Superintendentas Charles Durnham
1971The Pursuit of Happiness2nd Guard
1972Dealing: Or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag BluesMurphy
1972Deadhead MilesRed Ball Rider (Truck Driver in Cafe)
1972Doomsday VoyageJason's First Mate
1972-?Another WorldGil McGowan (#1)
1973SistersJoseph Larch
1973All in the FamilyDetective (Episode: "Gloria the Victim")
1973The StingLt. Wm. Snyder
1974The Front PageMurphy
1975Dog Day AfternoonDet. Sgt. Eugene MorettiNBR Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
1975The HindenburgCapt. Pruss
1975Breakheart PassO'Brien
1975Queen of the Stardust BallroomAlvin "Al" GreenNominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
1976Harry and Walter Go to New YorkRufus T. Crisp
1976Captains and the KingsEd HealeyNominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
1977The ChoirboysSpermwhale Whalen
1977Twilight's Last GleamingPresident David Stevens
1978An Enemy of the PeoplePeter Stockmann
1978The FuryDr. Jim McKeever
1978The Greek TycoonMichael Russell
1979Starting OverMichael "Mickey" Potter
1979North Dallas FortyCoach Johnson
1979When a Stranger CallsJohn Clifford
1979The Muppet MovieDoc Hopper
1979TiltHarold 'The Whale' Remmens
1980Die LaughingArnold
1980The Final CountdownSenator Samuel Chapman
1980AtticaCommissioner Russell OswaldNominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
1981Dark Night of the ScarecrowOtis P. Hazelrigg
1981True ConfessionsJack Amsterdam
1981Sharky's MachineFriscoe
1982TootsieLeslie 'Les' Nichols
1982The Best Little Whorehouse in TexasGovernorNominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
1983Two of a KindCharlie
1983ScarfaceImmigration Officer - voice (uncredited)
1983To Be or Not to BeCol. ErhardtNominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
1984Mass AppealMonsignor Thomas Burke
1984Hadley's RebellionSam Crawford
1984Mister RobertsThe Captain
1985StickChucky
1985The Man with One Red ShoeRoss
1985Stand AloneLouis Thibadeau
1985Death of a SalesmanCharleyNominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
1986Where the River Runs BlackFather O'Reilly
1986Meatballs III: Summer JobPete, Heaven Doorman (uncredited)
1986SolarbabiesThe Warden
1986Big TroubleO'Mara
1986Tough GuysDeke Yablonski
1987Happy New YearCharl
1987The Man Who Broke 1,000 ChainsWarden Hardy
1987The Rosary MurdersFather Ted Nabors
1988Far NorthBertrum
1988A Tiger's TaleCharlie Drumm
1988ÉtoileUncle Joshua
1988Case ClosedDetective Les
1988CopDutch Peltz
1989Brenda StarrEditor Francis I. Livright
1989Cat ChaserJiggs Scully
1990Fatal SkyColonel Clancy
1990Dick TracyChief Brandon
1990The Kennedys of MassachusettsJohn "Honey Fitz" FitzgeraldGolden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
1990–1994Evening ShadeDr. Harlan ElldridgeNominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (1991–1992)
1991V.I. WarshawskiDet. Lt. Bobby Mallory
1993The Music of ChanceBill Flower
1994The Hudsucker ProxyWaring Hudsucker
1994I.Q.Louis Bamberger
1995The Last SupperReverend Gerald Hutchens
1995The Grass HarpReverend Buster
1995Home for the HolidaysHenry Larson
1996Spy HardThe Director
1996Recon
1996Mrs. Santa ClausSanta Claus
1996One Fine DayLew
1997The Secret Life of AlgernonNorbie Hess
1998Jerry and TomVic
1998ShelterCapt. Robert Landis
1998Hi-LifeFatty
1998Homicide: Life on the StreetThomas Finnegan (Episode: "Finnegan's Wake")Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
1998–2002Everybody Loves RaymondFather Hubley6 episodes
2000Never Look Back
2000LakeboatSkippy
2000O Brother, Where Art Thou?Pappy O'Daniel
2000The Last ProducerSyd Wolf
2000Very Mean MenPaddy Mulroney
2000State and MainMayor George Bailey
2001Turn of FaithPhilly Russo
2001L.A.P.D.: To Protect and to ServeStuart Steele
2002The Last Man ClubJohn 'Eagle Eye' Pennell
2002Pride & LoyaltyDylan Frier
2002First MondayJustice Henry Hoskins
2002Mother GhostGeorge
2002Mr. St. NickKing Nicholas XX (Santa Claus)
2003Dead CanariesJimmy Kerrigan
2003One Last RideMr. Orlick
2004Death and TexasMarshall Ledger
2004NCISCorporal Ernie Yost, "Medal of Honor Recipient"Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
2004A Boyfriend for ChristmasSanta Claus
2005"Resurrection: The J.R. Richard Story (film)"Frank McNally
2005River's EndMurray Blythe
2005Dirty DeedsVictor Rasdale
2005The L.A. Riot SpectacularThe Lawyer
2005Miracle Dogs TooCaptain Pete
2006Forget About ItEddie O'Brien
2006EverwoodEugene Brown
2006Local ColorYammi
2006Jesus, Mary and JoeyTeddy the Bartender
2006Unbeatable HaroldHarold's Father
2006DescansosInnkeeper #2
2006The Naked RunCongressman Davenport
2007Chronicle of Purgatory: The WaiterFrank 'The Handler' Maro
2007Polycarp (aka Kinky Killers)Alexander Hathaway
2008DealCharlie Adler
2008Good DickCharlie
2008The Golden BoysJohn Bartlett
2008The Drum Beats TwiceSatan
2008BreakThe Wise Man
2008iMurdersDr. Seamus St. Martin
2009A Bunch of AmateursCharlie Rosenberg
2009Shannon's RainbowFloyd
2004–2011Rescue MeMichael GavinNominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series

Narrations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Thomas, Bob (December 24, 2012). "Charles Durning Obituary". Los Angeles: AP via Legacy.com. Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  2. ^ a b Cf. a Ancestry.com family tree search. The New York Times obituary, published December 26, 2012, writes that Charles' father died when he was 16, placing his death between Feb 28, 1939 to Feb 27, 1940. A more exact reference is needed.
  3. ^ Schudel, Matt (December 26, 2012) "In real life and on the screen, he played countless roles" The Washington Post, p. B4
  4. ^ Biography for Charles Durning at the Internet Movie Database
  5. ^ CHARLES DURNING; Healing the Wounds of Normandy
  6. ^ "Sullivan County Democrat: Obituaries for November 7, 2000". Sc-democrat.com. Retrieved December 28, 2012. 
  7. ^ The mother book: a compendium of trivia & grandeur concerning mothers ... - Liz Smith - Google Books. Books.google.ca. Retrieved December 28, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Los Angeles Times: Archives - NO BLEEPS FOR DURNING'S ROLE". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. March 2, 1981. Retrieved December 28, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Durning Takes On The 'Peasant Pope' For Pbs - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. September 15, 1987. Retrieved December 28, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b National Personnel Records Center (April 18, 2008). "Letter from NPRC to Charles Durning" (Press release). St. Louis, MO. p. 2. 
  11. ^ VA Voluntary Service – National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans
  12. ^ Staff Sgt. Jon Cupp, MND-B PAO, "Military urban legends versus true tales: real life stories prove more interesting", www.Army.mil, retrieved 16-Sep-2011
  13. ^ "Speech by Consul General of France Philippe Larrieu". Los Angeles: French Diplomatic Mission to the United States. April 22, 2008. Archived from the original on May 6, 2008. Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  14. ^ O'Hare, Kate. 'NCIS' Has Durning Hearing Echoes of War. tv.zap2it.com.
  15. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/9766171/Charles-Durning.html
  16. ^ "Charles Durning, Oscar-nominated king of the character actors, dies at 89 in NYC". The Washington Post. Retrieved 25 December 2012. 
  17. ^ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=102549548
  18. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (December 26, 2012). "AN APPRAISAL; Remembering Jack Klugman and Charles Durning". The New York Times. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Charles Durning, Jack Klugman Deaths Bring New Appreciation For Character Actor Titans". The Huffington Post. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 

External links[edit]