Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Charles Durning, aka Doc Hopper, Has Passed

Yesterday we lost Jack Klugman, and today, we witnessed the passing of Charles Durning, aka Doc Hopper, and so much more. Tis the season, I suppose, to reflect and feel older as my heroes pass along.

Durning was an indicator of great production. He was a master of the character role, which many of you know I respect and seek when enjoying film. Durning made each role his own, conscious of his presence and style, both physically and vocally. He was so well-versed in portrayal, that to this day I need only simply hear his voice and know exactly who he is working as.

What I didn't know was it was somewhat of a miracle that During made it this far- before his acting career, he was in the Army, and stormed Normandy Beach on D-Day. Durning would be the only member of his unit to survive the assault. He would be bayonetted by a young German soldier, captured during the Battle of the Bulge, and survive a prisoner massacre during the Nazi retreat.

Charles During on IMDB

The man was everywhere. I remember him most for his portrayal of Doc Hopper in the Muppet Movie, but it seems if he wasn't working, he was looking for work. Another film I enjoyed him in was O Brother Where Art Thou, with George Clooney. I've lost count of how many times he played Santa Claus, and recall seeing him on stage as Big Daddy from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. "I never turned down anything and never argued with any producer or director," Durning told The Associated Press in 2008. Perhaps that's a lesson younger actors can take away from his life. Drop the attitude and do good work.

Goodbye, farewell, aufweidersein