[Photo: Trish Overton, Creative Commons]
Whether you remember him from his classic take on Lex Luthor in the original Superman films or his turn as the villainous sheriff in “Unforgiven,” or perhaps his wild portrayal of the unforgettable Royal Tenenbaum, none of us can say we won’t fondly remember his great performances. Gene was a great actor, all around, and, like the best actors do, he made everyone around him better.
What many people don’t know about Gene was that he also played General Mandible in the classic children’s movie, “Antz,” and had a small yet breakout role in “Young Frankenstein” opposite the great Gene Hackman as well. He was great at doing villains but was no stranger to comedic roles, either. From his humble beginnings on “The United States Steel Hour” – which, I’m just learning, was actually a real show (MY GOD), I mean, sure, it seems hokey, but seriously? Ok, sorry, getting sidetracked here… – Gene was always a mensch. It must have been difficult as an actor to have to accept small roles in those early years, such as his turn as the spinach-munching strongman Popeye, when there was precious few roles to be had. But for the strong performances of his co-stars (who can forget the great Shelly Duvall as Olive Oyl), that early under-the-radar live movie might never have been remade with Robin Williams.
But, as with all great actors, great careers always seem to come to a close too soon, and after his turn in the Ray Romano
stinker vehicle, “Welcome to Mooseport” playing the ex-President of the U.S., Gene retired from acting, claiming he wanted to focus on his writing, but after that horrible movie, can you really blame him for getting out while the getting was good? I mean the only thing good about that movie was Moira Tierney, who isn’t that great an actress, but sure is a looker. Gene wasn’t bad in it either, honestly, I guess, but phew.
The Life of a Great Actor
— I’ve just gotten an e-mail from my editor saying there’s some kind of mistake. Apparently I have mixed something up and this person isn’t dead. So um. Sorry. —
[Picture: Angela George]
It is with great sorrow and fondness that we bid farewell to the late great Will E. Wonka, who will always be remembered for his classic candy concoctions and his shenanigans with turning young girls into giant berries.
My apologies to anyone offended in the slightest by any mistakes in this writing.