He had roles in such memorable movies as, “Tootsie”, “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou”, “The Sting, “The Best Little Whore House in Texas, “Dog Day Afternoon, and “The Muppet Movie”. He won a Tony for his performance in Broadway’s “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”. He was also nominated for two Academy Awards for best supporting actor.
He was a WWII hero who had left home at 16, enlisted in the Army and stormed Normandy Beach on “D” Day, and fought in the “Battle of the Bulge”. He received the Silver Star, and three Purple Hearts.
Born on February 28, 1923, he became an actor relatively late. After his discharge from the military he worked as a professional boxer, a ballroom dance instructor, and as an usher in a burlesque house. When one of the performers failed to show up one evening, Durning had his chance.
Durning’s family was quoted; “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.”
I will certainly miss him.
News Correspondent-The Guardian Express