Actor Charles Durning died 24 December 2012 of natural causes. Born 28 February 1923 in Highland Falls, New York, he won a Golden Globe in 1991 as a supporting actor in The Kennedys of Massachusetts. Called the King of the Character Actors, he was also nominated for two Oscars (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas  and To Be or Not to Be ), three Golden Globes (Dog Day Afternoon , Captains and the Kings , and To Be or Not to Be), and nine Emmy Awards. In 2008, the Screen Actors Guild gave him their Life Achievement Award, and the same year, he earned a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Durning knew as a teenager that he wanted to be an actor, and left home at age 16 to work in a munitions factory and a barbed wire factory. He served in the Army during World War II, and was in the first wave of soldiers to land at Normandy during D-Day. He was later captured in the Battle of the Bulge. For his wartime service, he earned the Silver Star and three Purple Hearts, but didn’t often talk about it.
After the war, he worked as a dance instructor before finally finding work on the stage. Joseph Papp hired him for the New York Shakespeare Festival, and then found his break-out role in 1972′s The Championship Season. He also had a few film and television roles during the 1960s and early 1970s, but finally made an impression on audiences in 1973′s The Sting. As MSN says in his obituary: “Dozens of notable portrayals followed. He was the would-be suitor of Dustin Hoffman, posing as a female soap opera star in Tootsie (1982); the infamous Doc Hopper, seller of frog legs, in The Muppet Movie (1979); and Chief Brandon in Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy (1990). He played Santa Claus in four different movies made for television and was the pope in the TV film I Would be Called John: Pope John XXIII (1987).
“‘I never turned down anything and never argued with any producer or director,’ Durning told The Associated Press in 2008, when he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.”
He was the narrator of the short-lived series Now and Again (2000) and Senator Chapman in the time-traveling aircraft carrier film The Final Countdown (1980). His other genre roles include: the forthcoming Scavenger Killers, iMurders (2008), Polycarp (2007), Desperation (2006), Touched by an Angel (2003), Mr. St. Nick (2002), two episodes of Early Edition (1997 and 2000), Mrs. Santa Claus (1996), The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), When a Stranger Calls Back (1993), Fatal Sky (1990), Etoile (1989), Solarbabies (1986), two episodes of Amazing Stories (1985 and 1986), Two of a Kind (1983), Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981), When a Stranger Calls (1979), The Fury (1978), and Sisters (1973).
He is survived by his three children from his first marriage.