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Charles Durning (born February 28, 1923) is an Americanmarker actor of stage and screen.

Early life

Durning was born in Highland Fallsmarker, New Yorkmarker and was the second youngest of five children, James G. (1915 - 2000), Clifford John (1916-1994), Frances (born 1919) and Gerald J. Durning (born 1926). His mother, Louise M. (1894 - 1982), was a laundress at West Point, and his father, James Durning (originally Durnion) (born 1890 in County Louth in Irelandmarker), was an Irish immigrant who gained U.S. citizenship by joining the army.

Military service

Durning served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Drafted at age 21, he was first assigned as a rifleman with the 398th Infantry Regiment, and later served overseas with the 3rd Army Support troops and the 386th Anti-aircraft Artillery (AAA) Battalion. For his valor and the wounds he received during the war, Durning was awarded the Silver Star and three Purple Heart medals.

Durning participated in the Normandy Invasionmarker of France on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and was among the first troops to land at Omaha Beachmarker. Some sources state that he was with the 1st Infantry Division at the time, but it is unclear if he served as a rifleman or as a member of one of the division's artillery battalions.

Durning was wounded by a German “S” Mine on June 15, 1944, at Les Mare des Mares, France. He was transported by the 499th Medical Collection Company to the 24th Evacuation Hospital. By June 17 he was back in England at the 217th General Hospital. Although severely wounded by shrapnel in the left and right thighs, the right hand, the frontal region of the head, and the anterior left chest wall, Durning recovered quickly and was determined to be fit for duty on December 6, 1944. He arrived back at the front in time to take part in the Battle of the Bulge, the German counter-offensive through the Ardennes Forest of Belgium and Luxembourg in December 1944.

After being wounded again, this time in the chest, Durning was repatriated to the United States. He remained in Army hospitals to receive treatment for wounds until being discharged with the rank of Private First Class on January 30, 1946.

Veteran recognition

He was nominated for an Emmy Award for his portrayal of a Marine veteran in "Call of Silence," an episode of the television series NCIS, first broadcast November 23, 2004. Drawing on his first-hand knowledge of the lingering effects of battle-induced stress, Durning's character turns himself in to authorities, insisting that he must be prosecuted for having murdered his buddy during ferocious combat on Iwo Jimamarker six decades earlier. The real truth of the incident only becomes known for certain when the guilt-stricken veteran goes through a cathartic reliving of the battlefield events.

Durning is well-known for participating in various functions to honor American veterans. He was the chairman one year of the U.S. National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans.

In April 2008, Durning attended a ceremony in Francemarker where he received the National Order of the Legion of Honor, awarded to those who served with distinction in France. During the ceremony, Durning spoke about his wartime experiences.

Film career

Durning's breakthrough film performance was in The Sting. In the film, Durning plays a corrupt policeman, Lieutenant Snyder, who polices and hustles professional con artists. He doggedly pursues the young grifter Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford), only to become the griftee in the end. Since then he has amassed more than 100 film and television credits, including Queen of the Stardust Ballroom, Dog Day Afternoon (with Al Pacino), the sci-fi classic The Final Countdown, and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. In 1979, he played Doc Hopper, the main villain in The Muppet Movie. In Tootsie he plays a suitor to a cross-dressing Dustin Hoffman. The two actors worked together again in a 1985 TV production of Death of a Salesman. In 1993, Durning guest starred in the Sean Penn-directed music video for "Dance with the One That Brought You" by Shania Twain.

More recently he has played a benevolent father to Holly Hunter in Home for the Holidays (1995), a savvy southern state governor ("Pappy" O'Daniel) in O Brother, Where Art Thou, and as Victor Rasdale in Dirty Deeds. In 1996 he played Lew in the romantic comedy One Fine Day and Santa Claus in the Sesame Street home video "Elmo Saves Christmas". He played town doctor Harlan Eldridge on the Burt Reynolds sitcom Evening Shade (1990-1994). He subsequently had a recurring role on Everybody Loves Raymond (1996 – 2005) as the Barone family's long-suffering parish priest, Father Hubley. He also played the voice of recurring character Francis Griffin in the animated series Family Guy until the episode Peter's Two Dads where the character died.

For his numerous roles on television, Durning has earned nine Emmy Award nominations. He has also received Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor nominations for The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas in 1982 and for To Be or Not to Be in 1983. He won a Golden Globe in 1990 for his supporting role in the television miniseries The Kennedys of Massachusetts.He appeared on the FX television series Rescue Me, playing Mike Gavin, the retired firefighter father of Denis Leary's character. The character died in the Season 4 finale.

Durning was honored with the Life Achievement Award at the 14th Annual Screen Actors Guild Award Ceremony on January 27, 2008. On July 31, 2008, he was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Famemarker next to the one of his idol, James Cagney.

His daughter, Jeanine Durning, is a well known New York-based modern dance performer and choreographer.


Year Film Role Other notes
1965 Harvey Middleman, Fireman Dooley
1969 Stiletto
1970 I Walk the Line Hunnicutt
Hi, Mom! Superintendent as Charles Durnham
1971 The Pursuit of Happiness 2nd Guard
1972 Dealing: Or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues Murphy
Deadhead Miles Red Ball Rider
Doomsday Voyage
1973 Sisters Joseph Larch
The Sting Lt. Wm. Snyder
1974 The Front Page Murphy
1975 Dog Day Afternoon Det. Sgt. Eugene Moretti NBR Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
The Hindenburg Capt. Pruss
Breakheart Pass O'Brien
Queen of the Stardust Ballroom Alvin "Al" Green Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor - Miniseries or a Movie
1976 Harry and Walter Go to New York Rufus T. Crisp
Captains and the Kings Ed Healey Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor - Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Series, Miniseries or Television Film
1977 The Choirboys Spermwhale Whalen
Twilight's Last Gleaming President David Stevens
1978 An Enemy of the People Peter Stockmann
The Fury Dr. Jim McKeever
The Greek Tycoon Michael Russell
1979 Starting Over Michael (Mickey) Potter
North Dallas Forty Coach Johnson
When a Stranger Calls John Clifford
The Muppet Movie Doc Hopper
Tilt Harold 'The Whale' Remmens
1980 Die Laughing Arnold
The Final Countdown Senator Samuel Chapman
Attica Commissioner Russell Oswald Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor - Miniseries or a Movie
1981 Dark Night of the Scarecrow Otis P. Hazelrigg
True Confessions Jack Amsterdam
Sharky's Machine Friscoe
1982 Tootsie Leslie 'Les' Nichols
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas Governor Nominated - Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
1983 Two of a Kind Charlie
Scarface Immigration Officer voice (uncredited)
To Be or Not to Be Col. Erhardt Nominated - Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
1984 Mass Appeal Monsignor Thomas Burke
Hadley's Rebellion Sam Crawford
1985 Stick Chucky
The Man with One Red Shoe Ross
Stand Alone Louis Thibadeau
Death of a Salesman Charley Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor - Miniseries or a Movie
1986 Where the River Runs Black Father O'Reilly
Meatballs III: Summer Job Pete, Heaven Doorman uncredited
Solarbabies The Warden
Big Trouble O'Mara
Tough Guys Deke Yablonski
1987 Happy New Year Charl
The Rosary Murders Father Ted Nabors
1988 Far North Bertrum
A Tiger's Tale Charlie Drumm
Étoile Uncle Joshua
Cop Dutch Peltz
1989 Brenda Starr Editor Francis I. Livright
Cat Chaser Jiggs Scully
1990 Fatal Sky Colonel Clancy
Dick Tracy Chief Brandon
The Kennedys of Massachusetts John 'Honey Fitz' Fitzgerald Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor - TV Movie
1990-1994 Evening Shade Dr. Harlan Elldridge Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor - Comedy Series, 1991-1992
1991 V.I. Warshawski Det. Lt. Bobby Mallory
1993 The Music of Chance Bill Flower
1994 The Hudsucker Proxy Waring Hudsucker
I.Q. Louis Bamberger
1995 The Last Supper Reverend Gerald Hutchens
The Grass Harp Reverend Buster
Home for the Holidays Henry Larson
1996 Spy Hard The Director
One Fine Day Lew
1997 The Secret Life of Algernon Norbie Hess
1998 Jerry and Tom Vic
Shelter Capt. Robert Landis
Hi-Life Fatty
Homicide: Life on the Street Thomas Finnegan (in episode Finnegan's Wake) Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor - Drama Series
2000 Never Look Back
Lakeboat Skippy
O Brother, Where Art Thou? Pappy O'Daniel
The Last Producer Syd Wolf
Very Mean Men Paddy Mulroney
State and Main Mayor George Bailey
2001 Turn of Faith Philly Russo
L.A.P.D.: To Protect and to Serve Stuart Steele
2002 The Last Man Club John 'Eagle Eye' Pennell
Pride & Loyalty Dylan Frier
Mother Ghost George
2003 Dead Canaries Jimmy Kerrigan
One Last Ride Mr. Orlick
2004 Death and Texas Marshall Ledger
NCIS Corporal Ernie Yost, "Medal of Honor Recipient" Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor - Drama Series
2005 Resurrection: The J.R. Richard Story Frank McNally
River's End Murray Blythe
Dirty Deeds Victor Rasdale
The L.A. Riot Spectacular The Lawyer
Miracle Dogs Too Captain Pete
2006 Forget About It Eddie O'Brien
Local Color Yammi
Jesus, Mary and Joey Teddy the Bartender
Unbeatable Harold Harold's Father
Descansos Innkeeper #2
The Naked Run Congressman Davenport
2007 The Waiter Frank 'The Handler' Maro
Polycarp (aka Kinky Killers) Alexander Hathaway
2004-2007 Rescue Me Michael Gavin Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor - Drama Series
2008 Deal Charlie Adler
Good Dick Charlie
The Golden Boys John Bartlett
The Drum Beats Twice Satan
Break The Wise Man
iMurders Dr. Seamus St. Martin
2009 A Bunch of Amateurs Charlie Rosenberg
Shannon's Rainbow Floyd


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