Actor Charles Grodin has died at the age of 86. Grodin starred in the Beethoven movies and the action comedy Midnight Run.
Grodin was known for his droll, deadpan humor, and often played the straight man to more outlandish co-stars. The most obvious example of this was the 1992 hit Beethoven, where he was teamed with a giant Saint Bernard. While his character’s wife and kids embrace the new addition to their family, Grodin is perfectly cast as Beethoven’s exasperated nemesis, who eventually grows to love him. Grodin also returned for the 1994 sequel.
For older audiences, Grodin is remembered for the 1989’s Midnight Run, in which he plays a corrupt accountant who is transported across the country by Robert De Niro’s foul-mouthed bounty hunter. The hilarious performances and love/hate relationship between Grodin and De Niro’s characters is big part of why the film is still so beloved.
Grodin’s breakthrough was in Elaine May’s 1972 comedy The Heartbreak Kid, and his other key movie roles include 1978’s Heaven Can Wait and 1993’s Dave. Grodin retired from acting in the mid-90s to focus on writing and TV hosting. However, he returned in the 2000s to appear in a handful of roles, including Louis C.K.’s FX show Louie and Noah Baumbach’s 2015 film While We’re Young.