Sadly, ‘Beethoven’ and ‘Heartbreak Kid’ star Charles Grodin’s cause of death is revealed as cancer. His son, Nicholas Grodin, confirmed that bone marrow cancer led him to death at 86.
The versatile actor well-known from “Same Time, Next Year” on Broadway, popular movies like “Midnight Run,” and numerous television appearances died on Tuesday, May 18, at his home in Wilton, Connecticut.
Charles Grodin found plenty of work as a supporting player and the occasional lead with a great sense of deadpan comedy. He also had his talk show for a period in the 1990s and was a frequent guest on others’ talk shows, making 36 appearances on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and almost 50 on David Letterman’s NBC and CBS shows combined.
Grodin was a writer with several plays and books to his credit. Although he never won a prestige acting award, he won a writing Emmy for a 1977 Paul Simon television show, sharing it with Mr. Simon and six others.
Charles Sidney Grodin was a comedian and author who was born on April 21, 1935, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He studied at the University of Pittsburgh, thinking he might want to be a journalist. But he soon rejected the idea.
Charles Sidney Grodin was dropped out of the University of Miami to pursue acting. He had managed to land a smattering of stage and television roles when he received his first big break in 1962, landing a part in a Broadway comedy called “Tchin-Tchin,” which starred Margaret Leighton and Anthony Quinn.
“Walter Kerr called me impeccable,” Grodin wrote years later, remembering a review of the show which appeared in The New York Times. “It took a trip to the dictionary to understand he meant more than clean.”
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Charles Grodin’s Cause of Death Confirmed as Cancer
Charles Grodin’s illness was his cause of death. He passed away after a long battle with cancer.
In 1964, another Broadway appearance came in “Absence of a Cello.” Grodin’s following two Broadway credits were as a director of 1968 “Lovers and Other Strangers” and 1974 “Thieves.”
Then came a breakthrough Broadway role opposite Ellen Burstyn in Bernard Slade’s “Same Time, Next Year,” in 1975, which was a durable two-hander about a man and woman who each married to someone else and meet once a year in the same inn room.
Clive Barnes wrote: “The play needs actors of grace, depth and accomplishment, and has found them in Ellen Burstyn and Charles Grodin.”
The show ran for almost four years, with an ever-changing cast; the two original stars left after seven months.
In 1978 Grodin had a supporting role in the Warren Beatty vehicle “Heaven Can Wait.” Another memorable role was in the 1988 action-comedy “Midnight Run.” Charles Grodin’s best-known role found him working with a dog.
“Beethoven,” was a family-friendly hit in 1992, and the dog was a St. Bernard. Charles Grodin played a cranky father who did not exactly warm to the new pet.
In one remarkable scene, he crawls into bed with what he thinks is his wife and enjoys having the back of his neck licked until he realizes that the dog, not his wife, is his bedmate.
“You’ve ruined my life. You’ve ruined my furniture. You’ve ruined my clothes. My family likes you more than they like me. Why? All you do is drool and shed and eat.”
After reprising the role in “Beethoven’s 2nd,” he said: “I don’t complain when the editor chooses my worst take because it’s the dog’s best take,” he said when the sequel came out.
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Charles Grodin Clifford’s Cancer
His son, Nicholas Grodin, confirmed that Charles Grodin was battling bone marrow cancer for a while. This illness led him to death at the age of 86.
The great actor showed a different side in the mid-1990s when he hosted “The Charles Grodin Show” on the cable channel CNBC.
He said: “They brought me in there to be a humorist, but pretty quickly I got caught up in social issues, and the show became just as much that, if not dominantly that. Some people like it better when you’re funny, and some people prefer that you’re taking cameras up to prisons and trying to help people who shouldn’t be in prison.”
Nicholas Grodin said his father had mainly been proud of his work for the Innocence Project, the prison justice organization, related causes, and his work for groups that help homeless people.
After his talk show finished in 1998, the legend essentially stepped away from show business for a dozen years. Then he started to retake roles, including a role on “Louie,” the comedian Louis C.K.’s series.
Grodin wrote several memoirs full of stories from his career, including “It Would Be So Nice if You Weren’t Here: My Journey Through Show Business” in 1989 and “We’re Ready for You, Mr. Grodin: Behind the Scenes at Talk Shows, Movies and Elsewhere” in 1994.
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Reactions to Charles Grodin’s Death
Following the tragic news, several fans, friends, and supporters reacted and stated their condolences on social media websites.
An online user wrote on Twitter: “Sorry For This Loss…. He Was A Good Actor Which I Enjoyed Watching…. Rest In Peace. Charles Grodin, star of ‘Midnight Run,’ ‘Heartbreak Kid,’ dies at 86.”
Another tweeted: “I was confused to hear that Charles Grodin was 86 because today was the day I learned that I think of Beethoven as a movie that is disconnected from the space time continuum because the dog must live forever, as thus, too, the father. No one remind me to bring this up in therapy.”
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His first marriage, to Julie Ferguson, ended in divorce. Then he married Elissa Durwood in 1983. He leaves behind his wife Elissa Durwood, his son Nicholas, from his second marriage, a daughter from his first marriage, Marion, and one granddaughter.
The family needs privacy; please respect them during this difficult time.
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