Friday, August 05, 2016

I Will Not Abide Another Toe

Before we forget, let's say goodbye to David Huddleston, who died last week.  He was one of those character actors who appeared in numerous TV shows and movies, always doing good work, yet would be unknown to most if he hadn't appeared in one cult movie.  That's how it goes sometimes.

Huddleston started appearing in TV in the early 60s, and soon after, movies.  He generally played in drama, though could also do comedy.  He also got to be known as a heavy--one of his breakthrough roles was as Big Joe in Bad Company (1972), where he plays the leader of a band of thugs who makes life miserable for Jeff Bridges' character.

A couple years later, he got a lot of attention for his town leader Olson Johnson in Blazing Saddles.

By 1979, he was playing the lead role in the Hizzoner, a series about a small-town mayor, but the show didn't fly.  In 1985, he got the title role in Santa Claus: The Movie, but the big-budget film flopped.

In the early 1990s he had a recurring role on The Wonder Years as Grandpa Arnold.  But it wasn't until 1998 that he lucked into the role he'll be remembered for.

The Coen Brothers had just made Fargo, the crime thriller that was their most-honored film as well as their biggest hit.  Next they decided to do The Big Lebowski, a shaggy dog comedy about a washed-up hippie.  When it hit theatres in 1998, the critics shrugged.  What was this, anyway?  The audience didn't know what to make of it, either.

But after its run, word started to spread.  It grew into one of the biggest cult films of all, with enough lines being quoted that you could probably reconstruct the screenplay.  It even became a way of life.  And amidst all the inspired character work in the movie, Huddleston gets to play the Big Lebowski himself.

No matter what else he'd do for the rest of his career--and he went on to plenty more roles in movies and TV as well as Broadway--his fame was assured.

The bums lost, but David Huddleston won.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

They left out the punchline to the scene, where the Dude says he can take any carpet he wants.

1:57 AM, August 05, 2016  
Blogger New England Guy said...

Wow he was in just about everything from the 60s on. I actually remember him from Spencer's Pilots- a forgettable short-lived show from the 70s. Or at least for the ads for it. I must have been home sick in front of the TV because that sticks in my head

11:00 AM, August 05, 2016  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I remember him quite well playing sort of a jerk on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

1:07 PM, August 05, 2016  

Post a Comment

<< Home

web page hit counter