Saturday, July 9, 2011

Rod Steiger, Charles Lane

Who died on this date:

On July 9, 2002, actor Rod Steiger died. He was born on April 14, 1925 in Westhampton, New York. He started acting late in the Golden Age and appeared in over 100 films. He began his acting career in theatre and on live television in the early 1950s. On May 24, 1953, an episode of Goodyear Television Playhouse jump-started his career. He won the Best Actor Oscar for In the Heat of the Night (1967), opposite Sidney Poitier. He was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for On the Waterfront (1954) and was nominated again, for Best Actor in The Pawnbroker (1965). He also appeared Doctor Zhivago (1965), The Big Knife, Al Capone (1959), The Loved One, No Way to Treat a Lady and The Sergeant (1968) and Waterloo (1970). In his later years he appeared in The Amityville Horror (1979); The Specialist (1994), and Mars Attacks!. On television, he appeared in the miniseries Hollywood Wives (1985), and Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City (1993). Among his final roles was the judge in the prison drama, The Hurricane (1999).

He was offered the title role in Patton, but turned it down because he did not want to glorify war. The role was then given to George C. Scott, who won a Best Actor Oscar. Steiger called this refusal his "dumbest career move.” After undergoing triple heart bypass surgery in 1976, Steiger reportedly fell into a serious depression for eight years. He died in Los Angeles on July 9, 2002 from pneumonia and complications from surgery for a gall bladder tumor. He is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills.

On July 9, 2007, character actor Charles Lane died. He was born on January 26, 1905 in San Francisco, California. He appeared in numerous movies and TV shows, and at the time of his death may have been the oldest living professional American actor. He appeared in many Frank Capra films, including You Can't Take It With You (1938), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) and It's a Wonderful Life (1946). He was a favored supporting actor of Lucille Ball, who often used him as a no-nonsense authority figure and comedic foe of her scatterbrained TV character on her TV series I Love Lucy, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour and The Lucy Show.

Lane also appeared in the 1949 film Mighty Joe Young, and 1963’s It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. His final acting role was at the age of 101 in 2006's The Night Before Christmas. His last television appearance was at the age of 90, when he appeared in the 1995 Disney TV remake of its 1970 teen comedy The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, with Kirk Cameron. Lane died on July 9, 2007 and is buried at Home of Peace Cemetery in Colma, California., author of "Fade to Black: Graveside Memories of Hollywood Greats, 1927-1950"

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