Charles Grodin, best known for the neurotic comic wit he demonstrated in such films as “The Heartbreak Kid,” “Heaven Can Wait” and “Midnight Run” and for his role in the “Beethoven” movies, died Tuesday at his home in Connecticut. He was 86.

By Carmel Dagan

The New York Times reported that his son said he died of bone marrow cancer.

After getting his start in television, Grodin graduated to both leading and character roles in motion pictures, usually portraying the exasperated urban neurotic.

His dry, understated sense of humor also made him a perfect talkshow guest, and later, host of his own cable show. Grodin also wrote plays and books.

The wry 1972 comedy “The Heartbreak Kid,” written by Neil Simon and directed by Elaine May, highlighted Grodin’s trademark neurotic befuddlement, and won him a Golden Globe nomination. But it was one of the few successful films in his career in which he was center stage.

Famous Actor Charles Grodin Bad News Died

Another one of his better comic assignments was Warren Beatty’s 1978 “Heaven Can Wait,” in which Grodin, playing the scheming, larcenous lawyer, was paired humorously with Dyan Cannon’s character in adultery and homicide. But he was definitely a supporting player in the film, which starred Beatty and Julie Christie.

During this period his biggest hit by far both commercially and critically was “Midnight Run,” in which he starred with Robert De Niro.

He is survived by his wife, author Elissa Durwood Grodin, son Nicholas, daughter-in-law Aubrey and granddaughter Geneva, and daughter by a previous marriage, Marion.

His family has requested that donations may be made to The Innocence Project in his memory. Grodin received the William Kunstler Racial Justice Award for his advocacy work on behalf of non-violent inmates.

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