Charles Grodin, one of the great comedic actors of all time, died this week at the age of 86. When people hear Grodin’s name, the first movie they probably think of is Midnight Run. The 1988 Martin Brest action comedy is a classic of the genre and showcases Grodin’s smug, everyman persona beautifully.
And while Grodin played that kind of role in numerous films throughout his career, the actor also did a lot of genre films. More than you’d remember, in fact. It began with first major film role as a doctor in the horror classic Rosemary’s Baby. From there, he’s probably best known for wooing Miss Piggy as the jewel thief Nicky Holiday in The Great Muppet Caper.
He was also the over-the-top villain in the 1976 King Kong remake, played opposite Lily Tomlin in The Incredible Shrinking Woman, and was a ghost haunting Robert Downey Jr. in Heart and Souls. Later on, he starred in the Beethoven movies, which aren’t genre but for people of a certain age, became the type of family friendly comedies they watched on repeat. The same goes for Dave and the creepy cult-classic Clifford.
Grodin could do it all and, no matter what, you always loved him. His aw-shucks good looks and quick, dry wit gave him a very specific likability that made any character he played — good, bad, funny, dramatic — that much more memorable. Even if you hated him, you always kind of wanted to give him a hug and he could always make you laugh. He had an incredible career, one that was as sprawling and diverse as they come, and he’ll be truly missed.