COMEDY ACTOR Charles Grodin has passed away aged 86.
The versatile performer, who was best known for films like The Heartbreak Kid, Midnight Run and Beethoven, died of bone of bone marrow cancer, according to a statement issued by his son, Nicholas, to the New York Times.
A charismatic presence on the big and small screen, Grodin was also a highly successful writer with the Emmy he won in 1978 for his work on The Paul Simon Special ranking among his greatest achievements.
Grodin also enjoyed success on the stage, beginning with his Broadway debut in Tchin-Tchin opposite Anthony Quinn in 1954. By the 1960s he was writing and directing in the Midtown Manhattan theatre district to yet more acclaim.
His film career also began in ’54, with a small, uncredited, role in Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Though he would go on to turn down the lead role in The Graduate - a part that helped put Dustin Hoffman on the map - Grodin’s time in the spotlight would come.
A role in Rosemary’s Baby back in 1968 led to more work with the 1970s proving a particularly successful time for the rising star.
Over the course of that decade, Grodin starred in films like Catch-22, Heaven Can Wait and, most notably, The Heartbreak Kid.
He later found time to ingratiate himself with The Muppets, starring alongside the Jim Henson creations in 1981’s The Great Muppet Caper.
My beloved Charles Grodin was a fabulous friend to moi onscreen and off. Debonair, handsome, talented, charming – and great taste! I’ll miss him dearly. pic.twitter.com/V4o2CxKZnM
— Miss Piggy (@MissPiggy) May 18, 2021
Two of arguably his most beloved performances would follow almost a decade later with Grodin starring alongside Robert De Niro in the much-loved crime caper Midnight Run in 1988.
Grodin would later endear himself to a whole new generation of fans as George Newton, the long-suffering suburban dad who agreed to adopt a stray St. Bernard puppy in the hit family comedy Beethoven.
Beethoven would go on to spawn a further seven sequels, with Grodin appearing in the first two, both of which were released theatrically to huge success.
In more recent years his film work included acclaimed character turns in films like Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young while his last film came alongside Sienna Miller and Alec Baldwin in 2017’s An Imperfect Murder.
So said to hear. One of the funniest people I ever met: Charles Grodin, Star of ‘Beethoven’ and ‘Heartbreak Kid,’ Dies at 86 - https://t.co/OwDYFLIgae
— Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo) May 18, 2021
Throughout his career he remained a steady presence on the small screen, where his appearances on Saturday Night Live and several late-night talk shows proved particularly popular. He also hosted The Charles Grodin Show on CNBC from 1995 to 1998.
There were also the occasional guest spots on series like Law & Order: SVU while in 2009 he released a memoir titled How I Got to Be Whoever It Is I Am.
A much-loved performer, Grodin’s career was not without the occasional moment of controversy, such as when he was banned from The Johnny Carson Show in the US after his deliberately rude, abrasive demeanour, which was designed to poke fun at his on-screen persona, sparked something of a backlash.
RIP Charles Grodin, an absolute genius pic.twitter.com/11YBdTYrdD
— Steve Agee (@steveagee) May 18, 2021
Godin passed away at his home in Connecticut where he had lived for much of his career.
He is survived by his two children.
In 2009, he reflected on his career with a sense of modesty and contentment that characterised him as an actor and funny man beloved by his peers.
“I never complain about anything, because I’m aware of what’s going on around me, and I’m also aware that there are a lot of very gifted people that never even get a job in show business,” he told the AV Club.
“It’s just because they can’t handle the rejection, and I can handle it, and I’m used to it.”