Charles Durning Dead at 89; Co-Starred in Rescue Me, Evening Shade, Now and Again

charlesCelebrated character actor Charles Durning, whose myriad TV credits included Rescue Me, Evening Shade, Now and Again and Everybody Loves Raymond, died Monday of natural causes in New York City, according to The Associated Press. He was 89.

Durning scored his first of two Oscar nominations for his role as a comically crooked governor in 1982’s The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. His second nod came the following year for his role as a bumbling Nazi officer in Mel Brooks’ To Be or Not to Be. His other notable film roles included Tootsie, The Muppet Movie and The Sting.

He is survived by his children, Michele, Douglas and Jeannine.

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25 Comments
  1. Mark says:

    I liked him. Shame. He had a great voice.

  2. Lambsilencer says:

    I remember his acclaimed guest spot on “NCIS” a few years back. He was phenomenal there. RIP.

    • Matt says:

      “Call of Silence”(from the show’s second season) is still one of the best, if not the best, episode the show has done to date. The scene where he is dancing with Kate in the bullpen still brings me to tears every time I watch it.

      On a side note, I would also like to remember him as Peter Griffin’s father Francis on Family Guy.

      Rest in Peace Mr. Durning.

      • Deb Saine says:

        mine, too, matt! i totally agree!! and i had no idea what durning’s service record was until reading his obit in the ny times … that makes this episode even more poigniant (sp) …

    • Mike B. says:

      I agree, Call of Silence, is the best N.C.I.S. ever. I love it when Tony moves his Medal of Honor into view and the military police snap to attention. God bless you sir.

      • Lambsilencer says:

        Yes, it was truly one of the best episodes the show has done. But one other, to me, is equally great – “Child’s Play”, starring a very young, but incredibly gifted Madeline Carroll. Take those two episodes, and you got the best “NCIS” has ever done, indeed.

    • RobMF says:

      I was just going to say. That was one of the best NCIS episodes ever, he was outstanding.

  3. rebecca says:

    He was great on Rescue Me.

  4. shadoka says:

    Very sad to hear about this. His life story could easily be put on film, surviving being captured during World War II and accidentally getting a break at a burlesque theater because a comedian was too drunk to go on stage. Will always be Michael Gavin from Rescue Me to me. RIP Durning.

  5. John says:

    Lets not forget, he played a more-than-belivable Santa Clause, several times. Great actor and great loss.

  6. Scott says:

    A true legend! Bless you Charles Durning and thank you for all your fine work!

  7. tvdiva says:

    One of the best character actors and dancers around. He will be missed.

  8. I remember his dance in Best Little Whore House in Texas – as Governor – when he daned to the song — when faced with a serious problem subgs :Oh I Do a Little Side Step and it makes me laugh – for you see these USELESS EATER IN THE US SENATE AND CONGRESS — how they all do a little “side step” on important issue, I always think of Charles Durning – doing that song and dance…..I did not realize he was doing what comes naturally – he died….but is still on stage.

    Dark Star

  9. Renee says:

    RIP Mr. Durning. WWII vet. His appearance on the National Veterans day concert/thing absolutely ripped my heart out. Brings me to tears every time I think about it. A great man.

  10. Mr.Durning…

    I’m a great fan of yours, u brought us much joy and human compassions in all the diveresed roles u played over the years…most notably for me was u in “Tootsie” and “The Sting”….now u have wonderful company along with Jack K>>>>RIP

  11. Ben says:

    His character’s death on Rescue Me was one of the most moving scenes of the entire series. Great actor.

    • bigfan says:

      Thank you for mentioning this. One of the most touching and emotional scenes between a father and son that have ever been shown on TV or movies.

  12. JBC says:

    Wonderful actor, wonderful man!! RIP Mr. Durning!

  13. GeekGirl13 says:

    As much as I have loved pretty much every role I’ve ever seen Durning in, the first thing that comes to mind for me when I see his name or visage is a the video to Shania Twain’s
    “Dance With The One That Brung You”. I think that was the title. He made that video and that song for me. My heart weeps. RIP, Mr. Durning.

  14. Lori says:

    RIP Mr. Durning! You had a wonderful talent and you will be missed!

  15. Humbugged says:

    Gerry Anderson the creator of Thunderbirds ,Joe 90 ,Stingray and Cpt Scarlett has also died today aged 83

  16. Ken Scruggs says:

    I just watched, again, the “Call to Silence” episode w/Charles Durning. What a man’s man, actor, vet and the list goes on. Many credits in movies, TV and his service to America! I also remember his poignant presentations at the “Nation’s 4th” celebration on the Capitol’s grounds every 4th of July. Very inspiring. He will be missed in many ways. His family can be proud of this fine gentleman. RIP

    • Deb Saine says:

      i always have loved durning and the characters he’s played, but i have to say this episode of ncis is among my all-time favorites not only as one of the best episodes of the show but also as one of durning’s best roles. i saw the episode was on usa this afternoon and made sure i taped it. isn’t it terrific? he will be sorely missed!

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