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Top Five: Roberts Blossom (1924 – 2011)

by on 2011/07/14

I’ve just learned that character actor Roberts Blossom has died.

It may be ridiculous to think one knows an actor through their work, but I’ve still always felt a special empathy for him. He seemed the kind of man you’d choose to be a grandfather, a sympathetic widower, alone yet dignified with his regrets.

A poet in his later years, he nonetheless played occasional, pivotal roles. He found his way into some movies we’ve done, and others planned for coming months.

Loners in need of sympathy will never be the same.

Christine (1983)

The first Stephen King novel I ever read was Christine. At the time it seemed an incredible revelation.

A blending of more adult storytelling with the trappings of geeky obsession, I loved it even though cars weren’t really my thing.

This feature adaptation by Escape from New York’s John Carpenter features Blossom as the man who sells Artie a haunted vintage Plymouth.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Playing a farmer, sure. One who sees UFOs, even better. And one who isn’t believed? Definitely.

Steven Spielberg’s first major science fiction opus is a relatively recent acquisition for me, a case of catching up with the “big” films I’ve missed.

Though I’ve already seen it once, Blossom’s presence will ensure I see it again before I write the review in the new year.

Escape from Alcatraz (1979)

I really enjoyed this movie.

Of course everyone will immediately think of Clint Eastwood’s big plan to escape.

Instead, Blossoms plays a “shading” role here, a prisoner clinging to sanity through the painting he does. The fact that it doesn’t end well is no knock on the power of art, but rather the serious cost when it’s taken away.

Home Alone (1990)

“It’s easy to dismiss this piece, comparing it unfavorably with longer-standing holiday favourites. For those who grew up watching it, though, it’s a legitimate holiday classic.

“Roberts Blossom (Quick and the Dead) adds distinction to the cast as Old Man Marley, in a score-raising subplot of accidents and forgiveness

“Blossom’s scenes were blindsidingly poignant.”

The Quick and the Dead (1995)

“A diverse group of candidates gathers, embodied by an awesome ensemble.

“Key roles include a marshal (Apollo 13’s Gary Sinise), the town doctor (Home Alone’s Roberts Blossom), a barkeep (Batman’s Pat Hingle), and his daughter (Olivia Burnette).

“Short, sharp, and distinctive, and never too quirky to work.”

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