Oscar-Nominated Character Actor Charles Durning Dies at 89

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Charles Durning | Photo Credits: Mathew Imaging/FilmMagic
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Charles Durning | Photo Credits: Mathew Imaging/FilmMagic

Character actor Charles Durning has passed away of natural causes, the Associated Press reports. Durning died on Monday in his Manhattan home at the age of 89.

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The actor was best known for his Oscar-nominated roles as the Governor in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and as an idiotic officer in To Be Or Not to Be, along with his portrayals of Dustin Hoffman's would-be suitor in Tootsie and Warren Beatty's boss in Dick Tracy.

Durning's life was not an easy one. Raised in poverty, the actor lost five of his nine siblings to scarlet fever and smallpox. Durning went on to enlist in World War II, where he was the only member of his unit to survive D-Day. After being captured at the Battle of the Bulge, Durning survived a massacre of prisoners. Durning received three Purple Hearts and the Silver Star for his time in the military, which he refused to discuss afterward.

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Throughout his life, Durning also taught ballroom dance, painted bridges, sung on the radio and was trained as a stockbroker.

In 1972, Durning divorced his first wife Carol, with whom he had three children. Two years later, he married his high school sweetheart Mary Ann Amelio. The family is planning a private service and burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

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