Charles Grodin, the actor we all know from movies such as The Heartbreak Kid, Midnight Run, and Beethoven, has died today at his home in Wilton, Connecticut at the age of 86. As reported in this Deadline article, Grodin’s son, Nicholas, has confirmed that Grodin succumbed to bone marrow cancer and passed away peacefully.
Born Charles Sidney Grodin in Pittsburgh, Grodin debuted in Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby in 1968. By 1972 we would see him take the lead role in The Heartbreak Kid. Between The Heartbreak Kid, and the heartwarming movie Beethoven, he graced us with quite a list of movie appearances as well as important roles as is the case with movies such as The Midnight Run. Charles Grodin also had a role in 1976’s King Kong, a movie that remains legendary to this day.
Grodin won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special in 1978 for The Paul Simon Special, as well as an American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for his performance alongside Kevin Kline in ’93’s Dave.
If he wasn’t acting he was writing, guesting, and hosting shows. He also appeared as a political commentator for 60 Minutes II. As this Deadline article puts it, Grodin was always quirky and fun, and was supposedly banned from hosting Saturday Night Live because of “ad-libbing on an infamous 1977 episode, pretend-forgetting that the show was live.” You can see his life in pictures in this Vulture article.
The world surely is lesser due to losing one more great artist, soul, and persona.
Grodin is survived by his wife of 38 years, author Elissa Durwood Grodin, their son Nicholas, daughter-in-law Aubrey and granddaughter Geneva, and daughter Marion by a previous marriage.
The family has asked close ones, friends, and fans to consider donating to The Innocence Project in his memory. Grodin received the William Kunstler Racial Justice Award and was praised by Governor Pataki for helping revise New York’s Rockefeller Drug Law.