Roberts Blossom

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Roberts Blossom
Roberts blossom 1924-2011.jpg
BornRoberts Scott Blossom
(1924-03-25)March 25, 1924
New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
DiedJuly 8, 2011(2011-07-08) (aged 87)
Santa Monica, California
Cause of death
Acute stroke
OccupationActor, poet
Years active1958–2000
Spouse(s)Beverly Schmidt Blossom
(m.1966–1970; divorced; 1 child)
Marilyn Orshan
(m.?-1982; her death; 1 child)
ChildrenDeborah Blossom
Michael Blossom
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Roberts Blossom
Roberts blossom 1924-2011.jpg
BornRoberts Scott Blossom
(1924-03-25)March 25, 1924
New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
DiedJuly 8, 2011(2011-07-08) (aged 87)
Santa Monica, California
Cause of death
Acute stroke
OccupationActor, poet
Years active1958–2000
Spouse(s)Beverly Schmidt Blossom
(m.1966–1970; divorced; 1 child)
Marilyn Orshan
(m.?-1982; her death; 1 child)
ChildrenDeborah Blossom
Michael Blossom

Roberts Scott Blossom (March 25, 1924 – July 8, 2011) was an American theatre, film and television actor and poet. He is best known for his roles as Old Man Marley in Home Alone and as Ezra Cobb in the horror film Deranged.[1] He is also remembered for his supporting roles in films such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Escape from Alcatraz.

Early life[edit]

Roberts Scott Blossom was born in 1924 in New Haven, Connecticut to John Blossom, an athletic director at Yale University. He was raised in Cleveland but later moved to Shaker Heights, Ohio. He attended Hawken School and graduated from Asheville School in 1941 and attended Harvard University for a year until he joined the Army and served in World War II in Europe. He trained as a therapist and later decided to be an actor, and began directing and acting in productions at Karamu House and the Candlelight Theater in Cleveland and later moved to New York, where he supported himself by bundling feathers for hats and he practiced a disputed therapy called Dianetics. He also waited tables until he became a full-time actor.[2][3]


Blossom began acting on stage during the 1950s. He won three Obie Awards[4] for his performances in the off-Broadway plays Village Wooing (1955), which was his debut, Do Not Pass Go (1965) and The Ice Age (1976). During the 1960s, he formed Filmstage, a multimedia avant garde theatrical troupe. His Broadway credits include Ballad of the Sad Cafe and Operation Sidewinder and in 1988 he appeared in Peter Brook's production of The Cherry Orchard.[3]

Blossom began appearing on screen in 1958. His first appearance in a feature film was in 1971's The Hospital starring George C. Scott. During the seventies he had roles in films including The Great Gatsby (1974) starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, Slaughterhouse-Five (1972), Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and Escape from Alcatraz (1979) starring Clint Eastwood. Escape from Alcatraz is perhaps Blossom's best known supporting role for the scene where he chopped off his fingers with an axe.[5]

Blossom is remembered for his role as Ezra Cobb in the 1974 horror film Deranged based on American murderer Ed Gein. According to the 2014 book Mad as Hell: The Making of Network and the Fateful Vision of the Angriest Man in Movies by Dave Itzkoff, the cast of the Oscar-winning film Network originally included Blossom Roberts as media mogul Arthur Jensen, but he was replaced in pre-production by Ned Beatty.

Blossom is also known for starring in the 1983 horror film Christine, a film directed by John Carpenter which is an adaptation of the book by Stephen King. He is best known for his role in the 1990 film Home Alone, in which he played Old Man Marley alongside Macaulay Culkin. He appeared in his final film role in 1995 alongside Sharon Stone and Leonardo DiCaprio in The Quick and The Dead (1995). Blossom's other film credits include Doc Hollywood (1991) starring Michael J. Fox; Reuben, Reuben (1983); Resurrection (1980) starring Ellen Burstyn; Flashpoint (1984); Vision Quest (1985) starring Matthew Modine and Linda Fiorentino; and Always (1989).

Blossom made his first television appearance in 1958 in the television series Naked City. From 1976 to 1978, he starred on the television soap opera Another World, in which his role on the show won him a Soapy Award for Best Villain. His other television credits include Moonlighting, with Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis, Tales from the Darkside, The Equalizer, the revived '80s version of The Twilight Zone and Chicago Hope. His television films include John Brown's Raid, Family Reunion, with Bette Davis, the 1985 version of Noon Wine, Murder in the Heartland and Disney's Balloon Farm, which was his final role as an actor.

In 2000, Blossom appeared in the biography documentary Full Blossom: The Life of Poet/Actor Roberts Blossom,[6] in which he talked about his life as an actor and poet. The documentary also featured his children Debbie and Michael, his first wife Beverly, and Edward Asner, Peter Brook and Robert Frank.

Personal life[edit]

Blossom was formerly married to Beverly Schmidt Blossom, with whom he had a son, Michael. He was later married to Marylin Orshan Blossom until her death in 1982, with whom he had a daughter, Deborah Blossom.

After Blossom retired from acting in the late '90s, he moved to Berkeley, California and spent his time writing poetry.[7] He later moved to Santa Monica, California where he died in 2011.


Blossom died on July 8, 2011 at the age of 87 from an acute stroke. He was residing in a nursing home in Santa Monica, California at the time of his death.[2][8]



The Hospital1971Guernsey
Arthur Hiller
Slaughterhouse-five1972Wild Bob Cody
George Roy Hill
Please Stand by1972Judge Nott
Jack Milton; Joanna Milton
Deranged1974Ezra Cobb
Alan Ormsby; Jeff Gillen
The Great Gatsby1974Mr. Gatz
Jack Clayton
Handle with Care1977Papa Thermodyne
Jonathan Demme
Close Encounters of the Third Kind1977Farmer
Steven Spielberg
Escape from Alcatraz1979Doc
Don Siegel
Resurrection1980John Harper
Daniel Petrie
Christine1983George LeBay
John Carpenter
Reuben, Reuben1983Frank Spofford
Robert Ellis Miller
William Tannen
Vision Quest1985Grandpa
Harold Becker
Candy Mountain1988Archie
Robert Frank; Rudy Wurlitzer
The Last Temptation of Christ1988Aged Master
Martin Scorsese
Steven Spielberg
Home Alone1990Old Man Marley
Chris Columbus
Death Falls1991Hals Johnson
June Samson
Doc Hollywood1991Judge Evans
Michael Caton-Jones
The Quick and the Dead1995Doc Wallace
Sam Raimi


Naked City1958Quint ButcherEpisode: "And a Merry Christmas to the Force on Patrol"
The Art Carney Show1959Simon Stimson
Camera Three1959HimselfEpisode: "The Eagle, the Tiger and the Fly"
John Brown's Raid1960StevensTelevision film
The DuPont Show of the Month1959–61GustavEpisodes: "Billy Budd", "The Prisoner of Zenda"
Brenner1964ReaderEpisode: "Charlie Paradise: The Tragic Flute"
The Defenders1964Thomas RiggsEpisode: "Go Between"
Great Performances1972Judge/PreacherEpisode: "The Rimers of Eldritch"
Beacon Hill1975D.W GriffithEpisode: "The Test"
Another World1976–78Bert Ordway/Sven PetersenSoapy Award for Best Villain (1978)
Mourning Becomes Electra1978SethMini-series
ABC Weekend Special1980Mr. LeGrandEpisodes: "The Gold Bug: Parts 1 & 2"
Family Reunion1981Phil KingTelevision film
The Wall1982KuchaskiTelevision film
Johnny Belinda1982John McAdamTelevision film
Noon Wine1985Mr. McClellanTelevision film
Amazing Stories1985Opa GlobeEpisode: "Ghost Train"
Moonlighting1986Lawrence EveretteEpisode: "Witness for the Execution"
Tales from the Darkside1986InquisitorEpisode: "Heretic"
The Equalizer1986Oscar PeabodyEpisode: "Tip on a Sure Thing"
At Mother's Request1987Doug SteeleTelevision film
Stingray1987Uncle Pat 'The Cat' MorelEpisode: "Bring Me the Hand That Hit Me"
The Twilight Zone1985–87The Man/Mordecai HawklineEpisodes: "The Burning Man", "Song of the Younger World"
In the Heat of the Night1989Dr. Harris PendletonEpisode: "Tear Down the Walls"
Northern Exposure1992NedEpisode: "Cicely"
The Habitation of Dragons1992Mr. CharlieTelevision film
Crossroads1992Oscar PolandEpisode: "Pilot"
Murder in the Heartland1993Gus MeyerMini-series
The American Clock1993Old Wayne TaylorTelevision film
Chicago Hope1997William KronkEpisode: "Hope Against Hope"
Balloon Farm1999Weasel MayfieldTelevision film

Short films[edit]


Theater credits[edit]


  1. ^ "Archive for Ezra Cobb". Cinema Knife Fright. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Segall, Grant (July 11, 2011)"Roberts Scott Blossom was featured in "Home Alone," on "Another World" and more: news obituary". Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Grimes, William (July 12, 2011)Grimes, William (12 July 2011). "Roberts Blossom, Quirky Character Actor, Dies at 87". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  4. ^ "Home Alone Actor Roberts Blossom dies at 87". London: Mail Online. 14 July 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  5. ^ Dye, Kerry Douglas"Guy Movie of the Week, 9/13/99: Escape from Alcatraz". Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  6. ^ "Full Blossom Trailer". Youtube. 26 November 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  7. ^ DelVecchio, Rick (April 12, 2003)DelVecchio, Rick (24 June 2011). "Home alone, with his words / Retired actor Roberts Blossom now devotes his time to poetry". Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  8. ^ Eames, Tom (July 13, 2011)"'Home Alone' actor Roberts Blossom dies, aged 87". Digital Spy. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 

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