Character actor Charles Durning dies
Posted: Thursday, December 27, 2012 8:00 pm
By: By The Associated Press
The Messenger 12.27.12
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Charles Durning grew up in poverty, lost five of his nine siblings to disease, barely lived through D-Day and was taken prisoner at the Battle of the Bulge.
His hard life and wartime trauma provided the basis for a prolific 50-year career as a consummate Oscar-nominated character actor, playing everyone from a Nazi colonel to the pope to Dustin Hoffman’s would-be suitor in “Tootsie.”
Durning, who died Mon-day at age 89 in New York, got his start as an usher at a burlesque theater in Buffalo, N.Y. When one of the comedians showed up too drunk to go on, Durning took his place. He would recall years later he was hooked as soon as he heard the laughter.
He told The Associated Press in 2008 that he had no plans to stop working. “They’re going to carry me out, if I go,” he said.
He is survived by three children. The family planned a private family service and burial at Arlington National Cemetery.