Charles Grodin, 'Midnight Run' actor, comedian and activist for wrongly imprisoned inmates dies at 86

Comedic genius Grodin lost his battle with bone marrow cancer and died at his home in Wilton, Connecticut


                            Charles Grodin, 'Midnight Run' actor, comedian and activist for wrongly imprisoned inmates dies at 86
Charles Grodin died peacefully in his Connecticut home on May 18, 2021 (Getty Images)

A comedian well known for entertaining generations, Charles Grodin has died at the age of 86. The veteran was battling bone marrow cancer, and succumbed to the disease after a long battle, his son confirmed on May 18. Known for his comedic genius and political activism, Grodin entertained audiences between the 1960s and 1990s, before moving to cable TV briefly. 

Born Charles Grodinsky, Grodin made a name for himself on stage, appearing in several Broadway shows before making the leap to the silver screen. Grodin is well known for his roles in 'The Heartbreak Kid', 'The Woman in Red', 'Heaven Can Wait', and more recently in 'An Imperfect Murder', and 'The Comedian'.

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His death has stunned millions of fans of all ages, with many taking to social media to mourn the legendary actor. Details of his death aren't fully available, as his family has chosen to reveal very little. Here's what we know.

Actor Charles Grodin speaks onstage at Robert F. Kennedy Center For Justice And Human Rights 2013 Ripple Of Hope Awards Dinner at New York Hilton Midtown on December 11, 2013 in New York City.

 

How did Grodin die?

The cause of Grodin's death has been revealed as cancer, according to his son Nicholas Grodin. It is unclear when Grodin was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer, as he has largely lived a quiet life in Wilton since his retirement in 2017. His last movie credit was the dud 'An Imperfect Murder', where he appeared alongside Alec Baldwin, Sienna Miller, and Colleen Camp. The movie was widely panned and currently has a 3.1 rating on IMDb

Grodin's death was announced by his son to The New York Times, but he did not provide any further details. Outside of acting, he had a lucrative career as a writer, having penned a large number of plays and books. He also frequently appeared on talk shows like 'Late Night With David Letterman'. In 1977, Grodin won an Emmy alongside seven others for a Paul Simon special. 

Actors Kathy Bates, Jessica Lange and Charles Grodin attend The Film Society of Lincoln Center honors Jessica Lange at Avery Fisher Hall April 17, 2006 in New York City. (Getty Images)

 

Before he was a star though, Grodin was struggling to make it big in New York City. He dropped out of the University of Miami to pursue acting and drove cabs and worked as a postal clerk and watchman at night to put himself through acting school. Eventually, his hard work paid off and Grodin earned his Broadway debut in 1962's 'Tchin Tchin'. He then enjoyed fame as a leading comedian in several hits in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. 

Grodin was also known for his liberal politics and famously clashed with Sean Hannity on Fox News in what seemed like an eternity ago. In 2000, he briefly served as a political commentator for '60 Minutes II', after his own show was scrapped on CNBC. He also became known for taking up causes like fair sentencing for drug offenders, and the pro-friendliness movement. Those efforts led to wide recognition, including a citation by then-Governor Pataki in 2004 for his role in helping revise New York’s Rockefeller Drug Laws. Grodin also won the William Kunstler for Racial Justice award. 

Governor Mario Cuomo (L) speaks with comedian Charles Grodin (R) at the HELP USA 20th Anniversary Tribute Dinner on May 4, 2006 in New York City. (Getty Images)

 

Twitter says RIP to 'an absolute genius'

Tributes were quick to pour in as news of Grodin's death spread. One person tweeted, "RIP Charles Grodin, an absolute genius". Another tweeted, "RIP Charles Grodin. He is the last man who ever spoke true words on Fox News."



 

 



 

 

"There's acting, and then there's the laser-focused lust Charles Grodin shines on Miss Piggy in THE GREAT MUPPET CAPER. One of a kind" tweeted one person. FIlmmaker Albert Brooks tweeted, "R.I.P. Charles Grodin. A brilliant comedy actor. I had the wonderful experience of working with him in my first feature “Real Life” and he was amazing. Rest In Peace, Chuck."



 

 



 

 

Another person said, "RIP Charles Grodin. Ordering a plate of chorizo and eggs in his beloved memory."



 

 

One user shared a heartwarming story, tweeting, "One time backstage at Letterman, I dropped a glass coffee pot & it smashed in a million pieces & I said, “Oh my god, I’m such an idiot.” I did not know Charles Grodin was behind me & he said “Lots of people are going to call you an idiot in this business. Don’t be one of ‘em!”"



 

 

Grodin is survived by comedian Marion Grodin, the daughter of his first marriage with Julia Ferguson. Nicholas was born from his second marriage to Elissa Durwood. 

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