Grodin in February 2013
|Born||April 21, 1935|
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, author, comedian|
|Known for||The Heartbreak Kid (1972) |
Midnight Run (1988)
Heaven Can Wait (1978)
Seems Like Old Times (1980)
|Spouse(s)||Julie Ferguson (divorced)|
Elissa Durwood (1983–present)
Charles Grodin (born April 21, 1935) is an American actor, comedian, author, and former television talk show host. Grodin began his acting career in the 1960s appearing in TV serials including The Virginian. He had a small part as an obstetrician in Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby in 1968. In the 1970s he moved into film acting, including playing the lead in Elaine May's The Heartbreak Kid (1972) and supporting roles in Mike Nichols' Catch-22 (1970) and Warren Beatty's Heaven Can Wait (1978). He became a familiar face as a supporting actor in many Hollywood comedies of the era, including Real Life (1979), Seems Like Old Times (1980), Ishtar (1987), and Dave (1993). Grodin co-starred alongside Robert De Niro in the action comedy Midnight Run (1988), and in the family film Beethoven (1992). He made frequent appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Late Night with David Letterman.
In the mid-1990s, Grodin retired from acting, and wrote several autobiographies, and became a talk show host on CNBC and in 2000 a political commentator for 60 Minutes II. He returned to acting with a handful of roles in the mid-2010s and appeared in a recurring role as a philosophical doctor in Louis C.K.'s FX show Louie and Noah Baumbach's film While We're Young (2015).
Grodin has won several awards, including Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special in 1978 for the Paul Simon Special alongside Chevy Chase, Lorne Michaels, Paul Simon, and Lily Tomlin. He was also nominated Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for The Heartbreak Kid in 1972. He won Best Actor at the 1988 Valladolid International Film Festival for Midnight Run, and the American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for his performance in Dave in 1993.
Grodin was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Orthodox Jewish parents, Lena (née Singer), who worked in the family store and volunteered for disabled veterans, and Theodore I. Grodin, who sold wholesale supplies. His maternal grandfather was an immigrant from Russia who "came from a long line of rabbis" and moved to Chesapeake at the turn of the 20th century. Grodin has an older brother, Jack.
1950s/1960s Early career
Grodin's film debut was an uncredited bit part in Disney's 1954 film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A student of Lee Strasberg and Uta Hagen, he made his Broadway debut in a production of Tchin-Tchin, opposite Anthony Quinn. In 1965, he became an assistant to director Gene Saks and appeared on several television series including The Virginian.
Grodin had a small but pivotal part playing an obstetrician in the 1968 horror film, Rosemary's Baby. In 1964, he played Matt Stevens on the ABC soap opera the Young Marrieds. During the late 1960s, he also co-wrote and directed Hooray! It's a Glorious Day...and All That, a Broadway play, and directed Lovers and Other Strangers and Thieves, also on Broadway. He also directed Simon and Garfunkel's television special Songs of America in 1969. However, he turned down the part of Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate because of the low salary offered by producer Lawrence Turman, although Turman assured him that the part would make him a star, as it ultimately did for Dustin Hoffman.
1970s/1980s film work
After a supporting role in the 1970 comedy film Catch-22, Grodin gained recognition as a comedy actor when he played the lead role in the 1972 film The Heartbreak Kid. Grodin subsequently appeared in several films during the decade, including 11 Harrowhouse in 1974, the 1976 version of King Kong and the hit 1978 comedy Heaven Can Wait. During the 1970s, he also frequently appeared on Broadway and was involved in producing several plays.
In 1981, he landed in a role in The Great Muppet Caper playing Nicky Holiday, a jewel thief who falls in love with Miss Piggy. He also appeared that same year opposite Lily Tomlin in The Incredible Shrinking Woman. His 1980s roles included Neil Simon's Seems Like Old Times (opposite Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn) and 1988's well-reviewed comedy Midnight Run, a buddy movie co-starring Robert De Niro. Grodin also appeared in the 1986 CBS mini-series sendup Fresno, playing the evil son of a raisin matriarch (Carol Burnett).
His Hollywood film roles of the 1980s usually saw him cast as uptight, bland and world-weary white collar professionals, such as a psychiatrist having a nervous breakdown (The Couch Trip), a health conscious accountant (Midnight Run), an ineffectual advertising executive (Taking Care of Business), and a lonely, socially awkward nerd (The Lonely Guy). He was cast against this type as a scheming CIA agent in Ishtar.
Commenting on his work with regard to Ishtar, Hal Hinson in The Washington Post observed: "Grodin has a one-of-a-kind quality on the screen, a sort of inspired spinelessness. And with his cat-burglar rhythms – he seems to play all his scenes as if someone were asleep in the next room – he's become a very sly scene-stealer." Sandra Brennan at Rovi noted that: "Whereas many funnymen have been popular for their ability to overreact and mug their way around everyday obstacles, Grodin belonged, from the beginning, to the Bob Newhart school of wry comedy that values understatement and subtlety."
Aside from his film work, he was a frequent presence on television. In 1977, Grodin hosted an episode of the NBC sketch show Saturday Night Live, where the entire episode revolved around his forgetting that the show was live, and he proceeded to wreck sketches because of his failure to prepare accordingly. His many talk show appearances from the 1970s to the present have often included confrontational and mock angry segments. At one time Johnny Carson "banned" him from The Tonight Show appearances after taking offense at things Grodin had said. The NBC network would receive angry letters from viewers who didn't understand the joke, that he was playing a persona, trying to be as different from typical talk show guests as possible. His appearances on Late Night With David Letterman would sometimes erupt into shouting and name-calling, but Letterman always enjoyed Grodin's segments.
1990s family films
Grodin's career took a turn in 1992, when he played the nervous family man George Newton in the kids' comedy Beethoven, opposite Bonnie Hunt. The film was a box-office hit, and he reprised the role in the 1993 sequel, Beethoven's 2nd. Also in 1993, Grodin played the role of Harrison Winslow in the movie Hearts and Souls. After a supporting role in the acclaimed Ivan Reitman comedy Dave, Grodin took a lead role in It Runs in the Family (a.k.a. My Summer Story), which received a limited theatrical release in 1994. That same year also saw the much-delayed release of Clifford, in which Grodin portrayed the frustrated uncle opposite Martin Short's title role. After a 12-year-long hiatus from film, Grodin returned to acting in the Zach Braff comedy The Ex (2006).
2010s career resurgence
In the 2010's Grodin made more frequent acting appearances, guest starring on television shows such as Law and Order: SVU and The Michael J. Fox Show. Grodin had several supporting roles in films, including Barry Levinson's The Humbling (2014) and Noah Baumbach's While We're Young (2015).
In 2015, Grodin was cast in a recurring role in Louis C.K.'s acclaimed FX show Louie as Dr. Bigelow, C.K.'s philosophical doctor and mentor in Season 4 and 5. In an interview with Deadline, Grodin talked about his relationship with C.K. stating, "I find him to be the single most talented person that I’ve ever worked with, he’s a wonderful director, writer, and actor".
Talk show host
From 1995 to 1998, Grodin hosted his own issues-oriented talk show, The Charles Grodin Show, on CNBC and, starting in 2000, became a political commentator for 60 Minutes II. In 2004, Grodin wrote The Right Kind of People, an Off-Broadway play about co-op boards in certain buildings in Manhattan. Grodin's commentaries continue to be heard on New York City radio station WCBS and other affiliates of the CBS Radio Network, as well as on the CBS Radio Network's Weekend Roundup.
He is also a best-selling author; his works include It Would Be So Nice If You Weren't Here, Just When I Thought I'd Heard Everything: Humorous Observations on Life in America and How I Get Through Life. His book, If I Only Knew Then...Learning from Our Mistakes was released in November 2007 by Springboard Press. It is a collection of essays from his famous friends (and friends of friends), with all author proceeds going to the Help USA charity. His book How I Got To Be Whoever It Is I Am came out in April 2009.
Grodin has two children: daughter Marion (a comedian), from his marriage to Julie Ferguson, and son, Nicholas, from his marriage to Elissa Durwood. For a period in the 2000s, Grodin gave up show business to be a stay-at-home dad to his children.
|1954||20,000 Leagues Under the Sea||Drummer Boy||Uncredited|
|1964||The Young Marrieds||Matt Crane Stevens #2|
|Sex and the College Girl||Bob|
|1968||Rosemary's Baby||Dr. C.C. Hill|
|1970||Catch-22||Capt. Aarfy Aardvark|
|1972||The Heartbreak Kid||Lenny Cantrow|
|1974||11 Harrowhouse||Howard R. Chesser||Writer|
|1976||King Kong||Fred Wilson|
|1978||Just Me and You||Michael Lindsay|
|Heaven Can Wait||Tony Abbott|
|1979||Real Life||Warren Yeager|
|1980||It's My Turn||Homer|
|Seems Like Old Times||Dist. Atty. Ira J. Parks|
|1981||The Incredible Shrinking Woman||Vance Kramer|
|The Great Muppet Caper||Nicky Holiday|
|1984||The Lonely Guy||Warren Evans|
|The Woman in Red||Buddy|
|1985||Movers & Shakers||Herb Derman||Writer, producer|
|1986||Last Resort||George Lollar|
|1988||The Couch Trip||George Maitlin|
|You Can't Hurry Love||Mr. Glerman|
|Midnight Run||Jonathan Mardukas|
|1989||Cranium Command||Left Brain|
|1990||Taking Care of Business||Spencer Barnes|
|So I Married an Axe Murderer||Commandeered Driver|
|Heart and Souls||Harrison Winslow|
|Beethoven's 2nd||George Newton|
|My Summer Story||Mr. Parker (The Old Man)|
|2006||The Ex||Bob Kowalski|
|While We're Young||Leslie|
|2016||The Comedian||Dick D'Angelo|
|2017||The Private Life of a Modern Woman||Performer|
|1958||Decision||Young Hoodlum||Episode: "Man Against Crime"|
|1958||Armstrong Circle Theatre||Phelps||Episode: "The Nautilus"|
|1960||Have Gun – Will Travel||Proctor's Henchman||Episode: "Fogg Bound"|
|1961||The Play of the Week||Performer||Episode: Black Monday|
|1961||The Defenders||Thomas Martin||Episode: "The Apostle"|
|1965||The Young Marrieds||Matt Crane Stevens||65 episodes|
|My Mother the Car||Fred||Episode: "Burned at the Steak"|
|The Trials of O'Brien||Peter Farnum||Episode: "Picture Me a Murder"|
|1966||Felony Squad||Edgar||Episode: "Penny Game, a Two-Bit Murder"|
|1967||The Iron Horse||Alex||Episode: "The Pembrooke Blood"|
|The F.B.I.||Carl Platt||Episode: "Sky on Fire"|
|Captain Nice||News Vendor||Episode: "One Rotten Apple"|
|The Virginian||Arnie Doud||Episode: "The Reckoning"|
|The Guns of Will Sonnett||Bells Pickering||Episode: "A Bell for Jeff Sonnett"|
|N.Y.P.D.||Joey Diamond||Episode: "Money Man"|
|1968||The Big Valley||Mark Dunigan||Episode: "The Good Thieves"|
|1969||Judd, for the Defense||Dist. Atty. Tom Durant||Episode: "An Elephant in a Cigar Box"|
|Simon and Garfunkel: Songs of America||Himself||Director, producer|
|1977||The Paul Simon Special||Charles||Writer|
|Saturday Night Live||Himself/Host||Episode: Charles Grodin/Paul Simon|
|1978||The Grass is Always Greener
Over the Septic Tank
|Jim Benson||Television movie|
|1981||Laverne & Shirley||Himself||Episode: "Friendly Persuasion"|
|1983||Charley's Aunt||Lord Fancourt Babberly||Television Movie|
|1987||American Playhouse||Lord Fancourt Babberly||Episode: "Charley's Aunt"|
|1990||The Magical World of Disney||Quentin Fitzwaller||Episode: "The Muppets at Walt Disney World"|
|1995-96||The Charles Grodin Show||Host||3 episodes|
|2000||60 Minutes II||Correspondent|
|2012||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Brett Forrester||Episode: "Lessons Learned"|
|2013||The Michael J. Fox Show||Steve Henry||Episode: "Thanksgiving"|
|Brazzaville Teen-Ager||Father||Short film|
|2014–15||Louie||Dr. Bigelow||5 episodes|
|2015||Waiting for Ishtar||Himself||Documentary|
|2016||Madoff||Carl Shapiro||Miniseries; 4 episodes|
|1962||Tchin-Tchin||Performer - Robert Prickett||Plymouth Theatre, Broadway|
|1964||Absence of a Cello||Performer - Perry Littlewood||Ambassador Theatre, Broadway|
|1968||Lovers and Other Strangers||Director||Brooks Atkinson Theatre, Broadway|
|1974||Thieves||Director - Producer||Longacre Theatre, Broadway|
|1975||Same Time, Next Year||Performer - George||Brooks Atkinson Theatre, Broadway|
|1977||Unexpected Guests||Director||Little Theatre, Broadway|
Awards and nominations
|1972||Golden Globe Award||Best Actor - Musical/Comedy||The Heartbreak Kid||Nominated|||
|1978||Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special||The Paul Simon Special||Won|
|1980||Golden Raspberry Award||Worst Supporting Actor||Seems Like Old Times'||Nominated|
|1988||Valladolid International Film Festival||Best Actor||Midnight Run||Won|
|1993||Saturn Awards||Best Supporting Actor||Heart and Souls||Nominated|
|1993||American Comedy Award||Funniest Supporting Actor - Film||Dave||Won|
|2006||William Kunstler Award||Racial Justice||Won|
- Grodin, Charles. Price of Fame: A Play. New York: Samuel French, 1991. ISBN 978-0-573-69220-8.
- Grodin, Charles. One of the All-Time Greats: A Comedy. New York: S. French, 1992. ISBN 978-0-573-69366-3.
- Grodin, Charles. The Right Kind of People. New York: Samuel French, 2008. ISBN 978-0-573-65107-6.
- Grodin, Charles. It Would Be so Nice If You Weren't Here: My Journey Through Show Business. New York: Morrow, 1989. ISBN 978-0-679-73134-4.
- Grodin, Charles. How I Get Through Life: A Wise and Witty Guide. New York: Morrow, 1992. ISBN 978-0-688-11258-5.
- Grodin, Charles. Freddie the fly. New York : Random House, 1993. ISBN 978-0-679-83847-0.
- Grodin, Charles. We're Ready for You, Mr. Grodin: Behind the Scenes at Talk Shows, Movies, and Elsewhere. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1994. ISBN 978-0-025-45795-9.
- Grodin, Charles. I Like It Better When You're Funny: Working in Television and Other Precarious Adventures. New York: Random House, 2002. ISBN 978-0-375-50784-7.
- Grodin, Charles. If I Only Knew Then... Learning from Our Mistakes. New York: Springboard Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0-446-58115-8.
- Grodin, Charles. How I Got to Be Whoever It Is I Am. New York: Springboard Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-446-51940-3.
- Grodin, Charles. Just When I Thought I'd Heard Everything: Humorous Observations on Life in America. Santa Monica, Calif: Homina Publishing, 2013. ISBN 978-0-970-44999-3.
- Foundas, Scott (2 May 2007). "Don't Call It a Comeback". LA Weekly. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- Pine, Dan (26 November 2004). "The heartfelt kid". Jewish News Weekly. jweekly.com. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- "Charles Grodin Biography (1935–)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
- Vancheri, Barbara (19 April 2009). "Humanitarian always has been Charles Grodin's main role". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Post-gazette.com. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
- Grodin, Charls (5 September 1989). "Playhouse provided training ground for Grodin". Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
- HB Studio Alumni
- Brennan, Sandra. "Charles Grodin Information Biography". All Rovi.com. Archived from the original on 23 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- TV Guide Guide to TV. Barnes and Noble. 2004. p. 716. ISBN 0-7607-5634-1.
- "Thieves". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- Hinson, Hal (15 May 1987). "Ishtar". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- Rabin, Nathan (31 October 2008). "Saturday Night Live (Classic): "Charles Grodin/Paul Simon". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
- Pitchel, Samantha (21 December 2011). "The Awkward, Hostile, and Absolutely Hilarious Late Night Appearances of Charles Grodin". Vulture. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
- "The Ex". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- "Charles Grodin on Working With Louis C.K. In 'Louie' & Why He's Like "No Other Director"". Deadline. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
- "Veteran Actor Charles Grodin on Playing Louis C.K.'s Doctor". Esquire. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
- Strauss, Robert (27 January 1997). "Getting Serious Charles Grodin, Veteran of Many Flaky Film Roles, Is Using His Cable Talk Show To Speak Out About Important Social Issues. this Is Thrilling To Me, He Says". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Articles.philly.com. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- Glassman, Marvin (30 January 2013). "Comedienne stars in 'Growing up Grodin'". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- Charles Grodin; Gotham Comedy Club. Retrieved 15 April 2012
- Smith, Liz (24 May 2006). "More to M than meets the eye". Variety.
- "Charles Grodin - Awards". Internet Movie Database. 6 April 2020.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Charles Grodin.|
- Charles Grodin on IMDb
- Charles Grodin at the TCM Movie Database
- Charles Grodin at the Internet Broadway Database
- Charles Grodin at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Charles Grodin profile in The New York Observer
- Charles Grodin's radio commentaries at WCBS880.com
- "The Heartfelt Kid: Actor/Playwright Charles Grodin Premiers New Play in San Francisco", Jewish News Weekly, 26 November 2004.
- Charles Grodin Urges New Yorkers To Mentor Kids
- Interview with Charles Grodin