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Charles Grodin: Beethoven & The Heartbreak Kid Actor Dies, Aged 86

Charles Grodin, an American actor whose comic roles in films such as Midnight Run and Beethoven brought smiles to faces for decades, has died at 86. Grodin died at his home in Wilton, Connecticut on Tuesday, the New York Times newspaper reported. The actor's son, Nicholas, told the newspaper his cause of death was bone marrow cancer.

 

Tributes have been made on social media, including a tweet from fellow American actor Steve Martin, who described Grodin as "one of the funniest people I ever met".
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Grodin dropped his studies at the University of Miami to launch a career in acting. Known for his dry wit, Grodin was a familiar face in Hollywood comedies and prime-time talk shows in the US. It was a decision that paid off in the 1960s, when he started to land parts in plays on Broadway, including his debut in a production of Tchin-Tchin, which starred Anthony Quinn.

 

He soon moved to TV and film, building his profile with a small role in Rosemary's Baby, a 1968 psychological horror film written and directed by Roman Polanski. But the 1970s was the decade Grodin's career really took off. A series of roles in films including Catch-22 in 1970 and The Heartbreak Kid in 1972 cemented his status as one of Hollywood's go-to comedy actors. For his role in The Heartbreak Kid - in which he plays an unlucky-in-love sporting goods salesman - he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for best actor.

 

The fact he didn't win the award may not have bothered him too much. "I never complain about anything, because I'm aware of what's going on around me, and I'm also aware that there are a lot of very gifted people that never even get a job in show business," Grodin told the AV Club website in a 2009 interview. "It's just because they can't handle the rejection, and I can handle it, and I'm used to it."

 

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