Charles Durning Dies; Veteran Actor Was 89

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Charles Durning, an 89-year-old decorated World War II veteran and award-winning actor whose career spanned the 20th Century, has passed away.

From the burlesque stage and theater to television and film, playing roles as diverse as society itself, Durning's career was marked by so many roles.


He won Tony and Golden Globe awards and was nominated for Academy Awards two times as a supporting actor. He also received nine Emmy nominations.

He was honored in 2007 with a lifetime achievement award from the Screen Actors Guild.

Durning played Dustin Hoffman's female impersonation of "Tootsie," a Southern politician in "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and a corrupt cop in "The Sting."

Born in Highland Falls, New York, on February 28, 1923, Durning became an actor relatively late, after years of decorated service in World War II.

He worked odd jobs that ranged from professional boxing to teaching ballroom dancing to ushering in a burlesque house, where he got his start on stage.

Some of Durning's other best-known roles included "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof", "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas", "Dog Day Afternoon" and "The Muppet Movie."

Durning's family, in a statement issued Tuesday, said:

"Not only was Charlie a World War II hero but he was also a hero to his family. Charlie loved Christmas and if he could have chosen a time to pass, he would have chosen this day."

In related news, Jack Klugman died this week as well. R.I.P. to two greats.