Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cliff Robertson Dies a Day After His 88th Birthday

Cliff Robertson died Saturday. He was 88.

Cliff Robertson, who played John F. Kennedy in "PT-109", died in Stony Brook of natural causes a day after his 88th birthday according to his secretary of 53 years, Evelyn Christel.

Amongst his movie credentials include his 1968 Oscar-winning performance for "Charly" - a mentally disabled man who undergoes medical treatment that makes him a genius, until a poignant regression to his former state, a tearjerker, "Autumn Leaves," as Joan Crawford's young husband, a musical, "The Girl Most Likely" with Jane Powell, the 1981 Natalie Wood's final film "Brainstorm", and his role as Uncle Ben in the "Spider-Man" movies.

Robertson had the most success in war movies. His strong presence made him ideal for such films as "The Naked and the Dead," "Battle of Coral Sea," "633 Squadron," "Up From the Beach," "The Devil's Brigade," "Too Late the Hero" and "Midway."

He also starred in several broadway and TV programs like "The Two Worlds of Charlie Gordon," "Days of Wine and Roses" and "The Hustler". He also lead the cast of Tennessee Williams' play "Orpheus Descending".

In 1977, Robertson made the headlines again by blowing the whistle on a Hollywood forgery scandal. He had discovered that David Begelman, president of Columbia Pictures, had forged his signature on a $10,000 salary check, and he called the FBI and the Burbank and Beverly Hills police departments.

Robertson said neither the studios nor the networks would hire him for four years.

In 1957, Robertson married Lemmon's ex-wife, Cynthia Stone, and they had a daughter, Stephanie, before splitting in 1960. In 1966, he married Merrill and they had a daughter, Heather. The couple divorced in 1989.

He also gained attention for his second marriage to actress and heiress Dina Merrill, daughter of financier E.F. Hutton and Marjorie Merriweather Post, heiress to the Post cereal fortune and one of the world's richest women.

Robertson's funeral is set for Friday in East Hampton.

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