The Big Lebowski is one of those movies that everybody seems to have memorized, which means its stars, big or small, have become part of cultural memory. Fans will certainly remember Marty, The Dude’s meek landlord with a hobby of dance. Unfortunately, the man behind the role, character actor Jack Kehler, has passed away due to complications from leukemia.
The death of Jack Kehler was confirmed to EW by his son, Eddie Kehler, With nearly 200 acting credits to his name, Kehler was one of those faces you almost certainly saw from time to time, even if you never knew his name. He would pop as one-off in a show you watched or in a small role in a movie you were watching. He’d be one of those faces you might recognize, even if you couldn’t remember why.
Of course, for many, the place they recognized Jack Kehler was The one of the Coen Brothers’ best films, The Big Lebowski. He played Marty, who was ostensibly The Dude’s landlord, though actually getting paid the rent was apparently a problem, not that Marty ever pushed too much. He was much more interested in The Dude coming to watch him dance.
On television Jack Kehler appeared in everything from Hill Street Blues to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. His last small screen role was in Hulu’s Love, Victor. His most significant TV performance was a recurring role in the short-lived ABC series Murder One. He also appeared in Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle. On the big screen, in addition to Lebowski, Kehler had roles in Lethal Weapon 4, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and Men in Black II. His final performance will be in a movie called The Platinum Loop, which is still in production.
If there’s any sort of silver lining for fans when an actor passes away it’s that the word is still there to be enjoyed. The Big Lebowski is one of those movies that people rewatch constantly. It even eventually got a sort of sequel starring John Turturro. As long as Lebowski retains its cult classic status there will certainly be new generations introduced to it, who will see Jack Kehler’s hilarious performance, and in that way he will always be somewhat immortal.
Jack Kehler is survived by his wife Shawna Casey, a son Eddie, daughter-in-law Mari-Anne, and one grandson, Liam. Our thoughts are with them during this difficult time.
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