Comedy Legend Charles Grodin Is Dead At 86

Charles Grodin standing with a slightly confused face in Dave.

Charles Grodin could play against anyone, or anything, and still give you a comedy worth talking about. From Muppets to Robert De Niro, St. Bernards to Kevin Kline, the man was a deadpan genius who could steal your heart, even if he was being a flat out villain. His comedic legacy leaves behind a trail of memories and smiles, even with the heavy news that Mr. Grodin has passed away at age 86, after a battle with bone marrow cancer.

The news was broken by the New York Times, after they confirmed with Charles Grodin’s son, Nicholas, the cause of death. A versatile entertainer, Grodin’s performances ranged from stage and screen, with some of his notable roles coming from projects in both spheres. Known mostly for his part in the Neil Simon play Same Time, Next Year, as well as movies like Midnight Run and Dave, Charles Grodin was always known as an actor who could pull off the charm of the common person.

Born April 21, 1935 in Pittsburgh, PA, Charles Grodin dropped out of college to follow the dream of acting. Early on in his career, he dabbled in Broadway, as well as the big screen, with a role in Rosemary’s Baby giving Grodin one of his first acting careers. He was even up for the lead role in the Dustin Hoffman classic The Graduate, but turned it down due to disagreeing with the salary. One would think that passing up on such a role could be crushing for one’s career at that early stage, but not for a talent like Charles Grodin.

In the world of film, the project that put him on the map was another Neil Simon project, the dark romantic comedy The Heartbreak Kid. Eventually, Grodin’s career would see him branch out into everything from family comedies like Universal’s Beethoven to absurdist cult favorites like the Martin Short starring vehicle Clifford. But one of his most memorable roles has to be the Ivan Reitman directed comedy Dave, in which Charles Grodin plays friend and accountant Murray Blum; which is best seen in the clip shown below:

There are many facets to the career of Charles Grodin that show how invaluable of a comedy talent the man truly was. The man got to mix it up with the Muppets in The Great Muppet Caper, had his own late night talk show, and even wrote several books; all exhibiting a rakish wit and a very dry style. While he mostly retired from acting in the ‘90s, Grodin did return for a short while, through films like Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young and a TV miniseries about the Bernie Madoff scandal, simply named Madoff.

We here at CinemaBlend extend our deepest condolences to the Grodin family in their time of mourning. The world has truly lost a comedic talent that could make laughs out of lemons, and kept his humor grounded in some of the most relatable easy possible. In his comedy stylings, there was no deceit.

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