The New York Times reports that actor Charles Grodin, who probably appeared in one of your favorite movies (The Heartbreak Kid, Midnight Run, The Great Muppet Caper, Real Life), died from bone marrow cancer on Tuesday. He was 86 years old.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Grodin made his film debut in Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It was an uncredited part, but before long, he was a classic “that guy!” actor, someone who maybe wasn’t the leading man, but you were always happy to see him. Outside of the four films listed above, Grodin also appeared in Rosemary’s Baby, Heaven Can Wait, Ishtar, Beethoven, So I Married an Axe Murderer, and Clifford, a demented comedy that you should absolutely watch.
Grodin was also a late-night fixture, “making 36 appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and 17 on Late Night With David Letterman,” according to the Times. He also had his own late-night show. Here he is being effortlessly charismatic.
In his review of Midnight Run, critic Robert Ebert wrote that Robert De Niro is “often said to be the best movie actor of his generation,” but Grodin “has been in the movies just about as long, has appeared in more different titles, and is of more or less the same generation, but has never received the recognition he deserves – maybe because he often plays a quiet, self-effacing everyman. In Midnight Run, where he is literally handcuffed to De Niro at times, he is every bit the master’s equal, and in the crucial final scene it is Grodin who finds the emotional truth that defines their relationship.” The Twitter tributes to Grodin following his death are equally effusive.
RIP Charles Grodin. One of the great deadpan comic actors I overwhelmingly associate with my childhood. pic.twitter.com/75ugK60r6y
— Will 🦥 Menaker (@willmenaker) May 18, 2021
RIP Charles Grodin. One of the great cranky comedic geniuses.
— marc maron (@marcmaron) May 18, 2021
Had the stunning privilege of seeing Charles Grodin do a Q&A after a screening of Midnight Run in 2011. He spoke uninterrupted about criminal justice reform for at least 30 minutes, maybe even an hour before taking questions. Absolute god. RIP.
— Will Sloan (@WillSloanEsq) May 18, 2021
Charles Grodin RIP
A towering comic force, nobody did it better.
The loss is immense.
WE LOVE YOU, SIR
— scharpling (@scharpling) May 18, 2021
RIP Charles Grodin. Ordering a plate of chorizo and eggs in his beloved memory.
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) May 18, 2021
RIP Charles Grodin, so good and sly in so many things, but burned in my memory for his unbridled lust for Miss Piggy. pic.twitter.com/yDZMlUS2aL
— Michael Schulman (@MJSchulman) May 18, 2021
RIP Charles Grodin, thanks for contributing to quite possibly the funniest single image in all of cinema history pic.twitter.com/MhT1TktiDF
— Scott Nye (@railoftomorrow) May 18, 2021
Charles Grodin was a comedic genius, who used deadpan with all the blunt force and resounding effect of a frying pan to the face.
Plenty of reasons to sing his praise, but for me, his scoundrel, Nicky Holiday, in The Great Muppet Caper will always be tops. Savage. Funny. Hot. pic.twitter.com/698W1HEzgG
— Kristy Puchko (@KristyPuchko) May 18, 2021
(Via the New York Times)