I learned this morning that someone I hold dear and with the utmost respect, has passed from this life on Christmas Eve. Charles Durning, the award winning actor of over sixty years, but more importantly, one of the survivors and heroes of the D Day Normandy invasion of WWII.
Most people never knew that about Charles Durning. They never knew that he was a Veteran of D Day, or that he was the only survivor of his unit that day. Nor did they know or realize that this unassuming man, was awarded the Silver Star and three Purple Hearts for his service to this nation.
I had the distinct pleasure of meeting him twice in my life, once in 1980 when he was in Atlanta filming a movie called Sharkie's Machine and nine years later, when he returned to do a made for television production.
Always a gentleman and always so personable with anyone who had the pleasure of meeting him and talking with him. A true giant among men and one of the last of a vanishing breed in Hollywood. I truly feel a personal void with the news of his death this morning, yet I feel as if I was given a unique opportunity to briefly meet one of God's true angels incarnate in this life when I was given he opportunity to me him.
Charles Durning is walking the streets of heaven this morning, probably reminiscing with all of those that he lost through the years. I know that he is at peace now and in the loving arms of our Lord and that is truly a comfort to me and the many thousands who came to know this giant of a man while his life was shared with us here on earth.
Rest in peace Charlie, you will always be loved and remembered by those of us who knew you. Semper Fidelis old friend........
LOS ANGELES — Charles Durning, the two-time Oscar nominee who was dubbed the king of the character actors for his skill in playing everything from a Nazi colonel to the pope, died Monday in New York City. He was 89.
Durning's longtime agent and friend Judith Moss told the Associated Press that he died of natural causes at his home in the borough of Manhattan.
"I was born a character actor," Durning told USA TODAY in 1990, when he starred as Big Daddy in a Broadway revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. "I was born looking older — and I've been aging since I was a teenager."