Cliff Robertson And The Arc Of Fame

He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the movie Charly, but I think of him as a movie star more than an actor.

I turned to Helaine this evening and said, “Cliff Robertson died.” Nothing. No reaction.

If I told Stef she wouldn’t know who he was.

He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the movie Charly, but I think of him as a movie star more than an actor. There’s no movie he’s made I’d say, “Watch that one.”

Cliff Robertson was so big and now so forgotten. That is the typical career arc. No one last forever.

He was 88. I’m guessing lots of people thought he was already dead if they thought of him at all. Shame.

14 thoughts on “Cliff Robertson And The Arc Of Fame”

  1. I remember him for playing JFK in PT 109 – and for being married to someone who was a glamorous movie actress – Dina Merrill, maybe? And i think he was often active in progressive politics in Hollywood, though I may not be remembering that accurately. But I thought he had died already.

  2. Yes, he was married to Dina Merrill until they divorced in 1986. I went to college on Dina Merrill’s Grandfather’s former estate. Dina grew up on the estate… there is a huge tudor mansion on campus which had been the main house, where she and the family lived. The admissions building, a smaller tudor house, had been her parents honeymoon “cottage”, and her former doll house, also tudor styled, was another campus office.

      1. Yes, that’s it. Actually, “C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University” (yeah, it’s a mouthful!) Dina Merrill’s father was E.F. Hutton. I always forget about him. We had one building on campus named “Hutton House”. Appropriately, it housed the offices for the Accounting Department. (Lotsa CPA’s came out of CW Post). I always forget because alas, I was a Broadcasting major. (Side note: I froze when they put me in front of a microphone at the radio station, but that’s another story entirely!) Yes, Dina’s mother, Marjorie Merriweather Post, was the heir to the Post Cereals fortune. We were known by the townies as “Post Toasties” and we had intramural competition among the dorms that was known as The Cereal Bowl. Ah fun times….

  3. Awww, it saddens me to hear this. He was a great actor. Just because you didn’t see many–or any–of his movies doesn’t diminish his talent. He will be missed. At least by me.

  4. We were watching an old movie last night “PT 109” when this news came up on my smart phone as MSNBC Breaking News. I knew his name but wasn’t sure what movies he’d been in, so I looked it up on IMDB. Interesting to find that he was Charly, and Spiderman’s uncle. Most interesting … he was starring in the movie I was watching.

  5. I remember him. He was excellent in PT109. I grew up watching WWII movies because my dad was a Navy vet. But I remember a lot of movies he was in and I liked him. While it’s too bad he’s gone he had a long life and brought joy to a lot of people. How many of us will be able to say the same?

  6. I, like you,knew he was still alive. I was a fan and enjoyed him in the Twilight Zone episode “Just Over the Rim”. My favorite movie he did was from the late 60’s. I can’t recall the name, but he was one of two men left alive on a Japanese occupied island during world war two. I’ll miss him.

  7. While I always enjoyed PT109, I will probably always remember him with Henry Fonda in The Best Man. I found that he could play a hard character better than many at the time.

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