Charles Grodin, star of ‘Heaven Can Wait,’ ‘Midnight Run,’ dies at 86

Charles Grodinsky was born in Pittsburgh and was valedictorian of his class at Peabody High School. He decided to pursue a career in the theater, he once told a reporter, after seeing “A Place in the Sun.” He studied acting at the University of Miami for half a year and then received a scholarship to the Pittsburgh Playhouse School of the Theater. By the mid-’50s he was appearing in summer stock in his home state. He tried Hollywood briefly, then moved to New York with the intention of studying at the Actors Studio. He failed his initial audition but went on to study under Uta Hagen for three years, supporting himself with odd jobs. Through a introduction to Lee Strasberg he was admitted to the Actors Studio in 1959. A nonpaying job in a small play, “Don’t Destroy Me,” brought him an agent and an audition for a TV production, “Nautilus on the Armstrong Circle Theatre,” playing a klutzy young naval officer. Shortly thereafter he landed a role in the weekly “My True Story” series, and regular roles in dramatic programs and such shows as “Camera Three” and “Lamp Unto My Feet.” He developed a bit of a reputation as a villain via his appearances in the Western series “The Guns of Will Sonnett.” He also appeared on daytime soap operas “Love of Life” and “The Young Marrieds.”

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