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Sunday, September 11, 2011

News came late last night that Cliff Robertson died of natural causes Saturday (Sept 10), one day after his 88th birthday. Robertson, of course, portrayed the wealthy real estate developer Michael Courtland in Brian De Palma's Obsession, which was released 35 years ago in 1976. The film, written by Paul Schrader, was just released this past summer in a special region-free Blu-Ray edition from Arrow Video. In addition to winning an Oscar for his lead role in Charly in 1968, Robertson had a number of memorable roles in a long acting career. He played the CIA head in Sydney Pollack's conspiracy thriller Three Days Of The Condor, which was released a year before Obsession, and which provided much inspiration for De Palma's 1996 film Mission: Impossible (Condor has also been used as a comparison point for De Palma's upcoming project, The Key Man). In 1962, President John F. Kennedy personally chose Robertson to portray him in PT 109, which was based on Kennedy's experiences in WWII. More recently, Robertson became known as "Uncle Ben," the great beacon of responsibility in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy. Robertson also had run-ins with Batman, portraying the cowardly cowboy of crime, Shame, in several episodes of the TV series in 1966. In 1983, he portrayed Hugh Hefner in Bob Fosse's Star 80. Robertson also directed two films: J.W. Coop (1971, which Robertson also co-wrote and produced), has themes similar to that of De Palma's Carlito's Way. It stars Robertson as a cowboy who, after eight years in prison, finds that society is not what it used to be. The film is a western that takes place in the modern American rodeo circuit, and used footage from actual rodeo events. In 1980, Robertson directed The Pilot, a character study about a pilot who is also an alcoholic. Robert P. Davis adapted the screenplay from his own novel, and the film is noted for its realistic depictions of commercial flying.

Posted by Geoff at 1:14 AM CDT
Updated: Sunday, September 11, 2011 8:55 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (3) | Permalink | Share This Post

Sunday, September 11, 2011 - 10:37 AM CDT

Name: "rado"
Home Page: http://rado.bg

R.I.P. - he is unforgettable in "Obsession".

 btw Happy birthday to my favourite director - Brian De Palma, the master of suspense. He managed to combine the deepest social-political-psychological-philosophical-art themes into exciting genre films, while meditating on the nature of flesh and spirituality. Keep up the good work! :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011 - 10:18 PM CDT

Name: "Jeremy O Connell"

Happy Birthday to Brian De Palma--recently celebrated by watching Carrie, Body Double and Raising Cain with a friend!

Monday, September 12, 2011 - 8:37 PM CDT

Name: "Ted"

Don't forget Cliff as Tolly Devlin in Sam Fuller's great "Underworld U.S.A." Or his wonderful acting in some Twilight Zone episodes. I miss him. 

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