Durning at the 2008 National Memorial Day Concert in Washington D.C.
|Born||February 28, 1923
Highland Falls, New York, U.S.
Charles Durning (born February 28, 1923) is an American actor. With appearances in over 100 films, Durning's memorable roles include the crime drama Dog Day Afternoon (1975), and the comedies Tootsie and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (both 1982, and the latter of which earned Durning an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor).
Durning was born in Highland Falls, New York 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 Ireland), was an Irish immigrant who gained U.S. citizenship by joining the army.
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 Invasion of France on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and was among the first troops to land at Omaha Beach. 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.
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 Jima 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 France 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.
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.
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 Fame 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.
|1965||Harvey Middleman, Fireman||Dooley|
|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|
|All In The Family||Detective||in episode Gloria the Victim|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Tough Guys||Deke Yablonski|
|1987||Happy New Year||Charl|
|The Rosary Murders||Father Ted Nabors|
|A Tiger's Tale||Charlie Drumm|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Jesus, Mary and Joey||Teddy the Bartender|
|Unbeatable Harold||Harold's Father|
|The Naked Run||Congressman Davenport|
|2007||Chronicle of Purgatory: 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|
|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|