Charles Grodin, ‘Heaven Can Wait’ & ‘Beethoven’ Star, Dies At 86
Charles Grodin, known for his deadpan comedy and extensive acting career, died at his home at 86. His comedic characters were uppity businessmen or overwhelmed fathers, ones that both his everyday good looks and style lent him toward. Grodin utilized these qualities for serious roles, as well, adding a twisted dimension to his characters. “Low-key, but high-strung,” he once called himself.
Grodin’s son, Nicholas, said that his father died of bone marrow cancer at his home in Wilton, Connecticut.
Grodin’s most famous films are Beethoven (1992) and The Heartbreak Kid (1972), which he credited with jump-starting his acting career. He played the starring role in the movie and fortunately didn’t have to share the screen with an energetic St. Bernard. Grodin was the sporting goods salesman, who left his wife on their honeymoon in order to pursue a different woman. The film, which has a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, received praise from critics. Grodin, himself, was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.
He was a jack of all trades, acting in or directing Broadway productions like, Same Time, Next Year and Lovers and Other Strangers. The former was met with particular critical acclaim. Clive Barnes, a critic for The New York Times, wrote, “The play needs actors of grace, depth and accomplishment, and has found them in Ellen Burstyn and Charles Grodin.” Barnes called Grodin “a monument to male insecurity, gorgeously inept, and the kind of masculine dunderhead that every decent man aspires to be.” The show ran for three years, but Grodin left the after seven months and returned to film.
Grodin appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson 36 times and David Letterman‘s shows more than 40 times. He even had his own talk show during the 90s.
Grodin was also a writer, publishing numerous books including, It Would Be So Nice If You Weren’t Here, How I Got to Be Whoever It I I Am and I Like it Better When You’re Funny.