Like Jack Klugman, who also just passed away, he was an 'everyman' as an actor and a person, IMHO. I thoroughly enjoyed them both.
Charles Durning, the two-time Oscar nominee who was dubbed the king of the character actors for his skill in playing everything from a Nazi colonel to the pope, died Monday at his home in New York City. He was 89.His life shaped his abilities to portray diverse roles.
Durning's longtime agent and friend, Judith Moss, told The Associated Press that he died Monday of natural causes in his home in the borough of Manhattan.
Durning's rugged early life provided ample material on which to base his later portrayals. He was born into an Irish family of 10 children in 1923, in Highland Falls, N.Y., a town near West Point. His father was unable to work, having lost a leg and been gassed during World War I, so his mother supported the family by washing the uniforms of West Point cadets.
The younger Durning himself would barely survive World War II.
He was among the first wave of U.S. soldiers to land at Normandy during the D-Day invasion and the only member of his Army unit to survive. He killed several Germans and was wounded in the leg. Later he was bayoneted by a young German soldier whom he killed with a rock. He was captured in the Battle of the Bulge and survived a massacre of prisoners.