Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cliff Osmond: 1937-2012

Longtime character actor and acting teacher Cliff Osmond passed away on  the 22nd of December after suffering from pancreatic cancer for some time. He was 75 years old. Cliff was a familiar presence in the 1960s and 1970s, especially on television. He worked four times with the great director Billy Wilder (Irma la Douce, Kiss Me Stupid, The Fortune Cookie and his remake of The Front Page). Other film work included How the West Was Won, Oklahoma Crude, Joe Panther, Hangar 18, and two Disney films, North Avenue Irregulars and Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again, among others. Osmond could play both evil and sympathetic characters and his large size often belied a certain tenderness in many of his characterizations. His television work consists of many credits from 1962-92, including The Rifleman, Twilight Zone, The Untouchables, Wagon Train, Laredo, Hogan's Heroes, Batman, It Takes a Thief, Ironside, Land of the Giants, The Odd Couple, Here's Lucy, All in the Family, Emergency!, Bob Newhart Show, Kojak, Rhoda, Vega$, Knight Rider, Murder She Wrote, Bodies of Evidence, and maybe some of his best work, six episodes of Gunsmoke (check out the episodes "The Victim" from 1968; "Roots of Fear" from 1969 and "Celia" from 1970). He also did a little scriptwriting (including a Streets of San Francisco) and he wrote and directed the feature film The Penitent in 1988. His Cliff Osmond Acting Studio is what kept his really busy over the last 20 years as he began to appear in front of the camera less and less. The photographs above show Cliff Osmond about thirty years apart.

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