Veteran character actor Charles Durning died yesterday in his Manhattan home. He was 89. A former professional boxer and a decorated World War veteran who took part in the D-Day invasion at Omaha Beach, the Battle of the Bulge and was one of few survivors of the Malmedy massacre, Durning earned two Oscar and nine Emmy nominations, most recently an Emmy nom in 2008 for his last major role, a recurring part on FX’s Rescue Me as Denis Leary’s retired firefighter father. According to AP, Durning died of natural causes. Durning started his acting career on stage before segueing to film and TV. He got his break with a role in the 1973 movie The Sting and was a standout in the 1982 comedy Tootsie. Durning was nominated for supporting-actor Oscars for the 1983 Mel Brooks comedy To Be or Not to Be and the 1982 musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. He frequently collaborated with friend Burt Reynolds, appearing in 13 movies together, including Whorehouse, as well as Reynolds’ 1990s TV sitcom Evening Shade, which landed Durning two Emmy nominations.
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