After catching Durning in the Broadway production of That Championship Season, producer George Roy Hill cast him in his breakthrough role of the corrupt Police Lt. Snyder in The Sting (1973). Previously, he had appeared in several films including his debut, Harvey Middleman, Fireman (1965), I Walk the Line (1970), and two early Brian De Palma films: Hi, Mom! (1970), as a surly building super, and Sisters (1973), as a tenacious detective. Durning was a showstopper (and received an Oscar nomination) as the governor in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982). He also gave a full-bodied musical performance in The Muppet Movie (1979) as Doc Hooper, a nefarious frog legs restaurateur. Appearing in over 50 features covering a wide variety of genres, Durning's recent credits include Brenda Starr (1989), Dick Tracy (1990), and V.I. Warshawski (1991). Durning made a big splash with a small but critical role in The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), the Coen brothers' tribute to screwball comedies. He was touching as Holly Hunter's father in Home for the Holidays (1995).
Durning is also a prolific TV actor, especially notable in TV-movies, specials, and miniseries. He earned Emmy nominations for Queen of the Stardust Ballroom (CBS, 1975) with Maureen Stapleton, Captains and the Kings (NBC, 1976) and Attica (ABC, 1980). Durning joined his frequent feature collaborator Burt Reynolds (they co-starred in four films including Starting Over 1979 and Sharky's Machine 1981) to become a regular on the hit ensemble sitcom Evening Shade (CBS, 1990–94). With broad strokes, Durning portrayed the dim, blustery, small-town doctor Harlan Elldridge so vividly that the producers attempted to spin him off in an unsold 1993 pilot, Harlan & Merleen, directed by Reynolds. Durning continues to work onstage, winning a Tony for his portrayal of Big Daddy in the 1990 Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
In his career, During has received the following awards: Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance for That Championship Season (1972); National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor for Dog Day Afternoon (1975); Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1990); Tony for Best Featured Actor in a play for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1990); Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Television Series, Miniseries, or Motion Picture for The Kennedys of Massachusetts (1990); Drama League Distinguished Performance Award for The Gin Game (1997). He was the latest recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award (January 2008).
Durning was also awarded a Purple Heart and a Silver Star for valor in WWII after being wounded in action three times.
Read earlier biographies on this page.
Charles Durning Facts
|Birthday||February 28, 1923 (94)|
|Birthplace||Highland Falls, New York, USA|
|Height||5' 8" (1m73) How tall is Charles Durning compared to you?|
|Awards||2008 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Life Achievement Award|
|1991 Golden Globe Awards: Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Film (for The Kennedys of Massachusetts)|
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