R.I.P. Charles Grodin, Star of Heartbreak Kid and Midnight Run Dead at 86

Comedic actor was also known for his roles in Beethoven and Dave

Charles Grodin Midnight Run
Charles Grodin (left) in Midnight Run

    Charles Grodin, the comedic actor beloved for his roles in The Heartbreak Kid, Midnight Run, and Beethoven, has died at the age of 86.

    According to The New York Times, Grodin passed away Tuesday of bone marrow cancer.

    A native of Pittsburgh, Grodin’s early career included bit roles in Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas and Rosemary’s Baby. He also wrote and directed several theater productions, as well as Simon and Garfunkel’s 1969 TV special Songs of America.

    His breakout performance came in 1972’s The Heartbreak Kid, in which he played Lenny Cantrow, the self-absorbed sporting goods salesman who interrupts his honeymoon after falling for Cybill Sherperd’s character. The role earned Grodin his first and only Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor.


    Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, Grodin was also seen in films like Catch-22, Heaven Can Wait, and The Great Muppet Caper, where he played a jewel thief who falls in love with Miss Piggy.

    In 1977, Grodin hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live, where the entire episode revolved around his forgetting that the show was live. The following year, he collaborated with SNL head Lorne Michaels, Chevy Chase, and Lily Tomlin on a Paul Simon television special, earning Grodin a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special.


    In 1988, Grodin starred opposite Robert De Niro in the buddy comedy Midnight Run. He then played the family pariah in 1992’s Beethoven and its 1993 sequel Beethoven 2nd, followed by a role in Ivan Reitman’s 1994 political comedy Dave.

    In the later years of his career, Grodin popped up on episodes of The Michael J. Fox Show and Louie, as well as films like The Humbling and While We’re Young. He also wrote several autobiographies, hosted a talk show on CNBC, and recorded weekly segments for CBS Radio.


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