27 June 2009

Charles Durning

Let's start with a great one, huh?
He has made the statement that great acting comes from listening.
I think one of the all-time greatest pieces of acting I ever saw was when this man didn't utter a word-
The scene is in
"Tootsie", and Dustin Hoffman enters the bar where Durning sees him not "in drag" for the first time. The Charles Durning character, who has been a little sweet on "Tootsie", slowly comes to the realization that Hoffman is Tootsie, and that realization is told through Durning's facial expression. It truly is worth the cost of the rental to see these few seconds of the film!

Thanks to Camerapilot's recommendation I did a little research on this hero.
He's nearly unbelieveable...
Drafted at 21, in less than six months he finds himself in the first wave to hit Omaha Beach at Normandy. Surviving that assault, he's injured and hospitalized a few days later but recovers quickly and is released once again for duty, just in time for the "Battle of the Bulge"! There he is captured by the Germans and is one of the hundreds of captured G.I.'s forced out of trucks into an open field at Malmedy by the SS to be massacred by machine-gun. Durning is one of a handful that escapes successfully.
He is the recipient of the Silver Star and 3 Purple Hearts.

It is understatement to say I am awestruck.

You can read more about Charles Durning
here and here.


catnapping said...

holy S%&#. I had no clue. I've always loved Charles Durning. He's an excellent actor...and I so agree - he nailed that scene in Tootsie.

cj said...

Wow. No clue he was such a hero.

Sorta proves that old adage - it's those who don't actually have the experience that do the most talking...


Rita said...

I love Charles Durning. My favorite scene of his was "Dance a Little Side Step" from "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" where he played the Governor.

I remember reading that when questioned about his dancing, he had said he was an old song and dance man and I loved watching him slide around the floor. Sadly, the words to the song describe nearly all of the politicians on both sides.