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Actor Richard Erdman 1925-2019)


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I admit that I always enjoyed the man's work.  He is one of those actors whom I saw in STALAG 17 as a child and then continued to notice him in other things the rest of my life. I will fully admit he did not become one of my favorites until he played Leonard Rodriguez on COMMUNITY.  After that I started actually seeking out his other work rather than just being able to recognize him when I came across something he was in.

QUESTION:  Was he a TCM Star of The Month a couple of years back?  My memory says yes, but some might say my memory is fallible. I say those people are crazy.  :lol:

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44 minutes ago, Looney said:

QUESTION:  Was he a TCM Star of The Month a couple of years back?  My memory says yes, but some might say my memory is fallible. I say those people are crazy.  :lol:

It's not likely, although he would have been an excellent choice for TCM guest programmer.

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1 hour ago, Sepiatone said:

"Community"? :blink:

Only saw one episode of it, didn't think much of it so never bothered again.  And anyway, it's irrelevant to my statement.

Not surprised. "Community" became a cult hit --  although it might be doing well on NBC today -- and it rejuvenated interest in Erdman as well. There are legions of Leonard Rodriguez fans out there. 

Seems relevant to me.

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4 hours ago, jakeem said:

Not surprised. "Community" became a cult hit --  although it might be doing well on NBC today -- and it rejuvenated interest in Erdman as well. There are legions of Leonard Rodriguez fans out there. 

Seems relevant to me.

The L.A. Times obituary made it clear that "Community" renewed interest in Erdman.   Like I said his obituary was as complete and detailed as Deanna Durbin and clearly Durbin was a much bigger movie star during the studio-era.

Like Looney many fans of studio-era movies will 'work-backwards' as it relates to re-discovering an actor and their work.     They stumble on to an aged studio-era actor in a 21st century production and 'work-backwards'. 

My guess is that if Erdman hadn't been in "Community" the Times wouldn't have had an obituary.    Note that I've been posting about actors that have passed that I'm finding in the standard obituary section of the L.A. Times;  I.e. the family supplied write ups and pictures.    Some of these actors did some good work but since they hadn't been in the 'bis' for decades,  they don't receive an entertainment columnist written obituary.

     

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57 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

My guess is that if Erdman hadn't been in "Community" the Times wouldn't have had an obituary.     

And here's a guess that The Times would have published an Erdman obit, anyway. He wasn't Dick Powell or Marlon Brando or William Holden, but he appeared opposite those actors in some memorable films. He also was an estimable character actor. It's possible The Times would have written about him just for that episode of "The Twilight Zone" he did.

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18 minutes ago, jakeem said:

And here's a guess that The Times would have published an Erdman obit, anyway. He wasn't Dick Powell or Marlon Brando or William Holden, but he appeared opposite those actors in some memorable films. He also was an estimable character actor. It's possible The Times would have written about him just for that episode of "The Twilight Zone" he did.

 

The Times did mention this 'classic' Twilight Zone episode,  as well as the actors you mention and the films they ere both in.   The photo was of Brando and Erdman.  

But like I said there are many studio-era actors that pass on and the Times movie entertainment columnist doesn't do a write up,  especially not a half-page one with a picture.      I believe there is a solid connection between getting a write up (and how large it is),  with now relevant an actor has been 'lately'.

E.g.  Olivia De Havilland will receive a write-up,  period, since she has the pedigree (E.g. two best actress Oscars etc...).   

BUT her feud over Feud put her back in the spotlight which if she was to pass soon (man I hope NOT!),  she would likely get a much larger write-up, with this legal case being given a lot of coverage.

 

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13 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

The Times did mention this 'classic' Twilight Zone episode,  as well as the actors you mention and the films they ere both in.   The photo was of Brando and Erdman.  

But like I said there are many studio-era actors that pass on and the Times movie entertainment columnist doesn't do a write up,  especially not a half-page one with a picture.      I believe there is a solid connection between getting a write up (and how large it is),  with now relevant an actor has been 'lately'.

E.g.  Olivia De Havilland will receive a write-up,  period, since she has the pedigree (E.g. two best actress Oscars etc...).   

BUT her feud over Feud put her back in the spotlight which if she was to pass soon (man I hope NOT!),  she would likely get a much larger write-up, with this legal case being given a lot of coverage.

 

She is one of the greats -- and also important because of another legal case from 75 years ago.

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Hey, since even The Academy saw fit to overlook JOE MANTELL in their "In Memoriam" presentation after HE died( eight short days before Tony Curtis) And Joe too, acted opposite an equal if not higher amount of filmdom's "notables", it's lucky Erdman got any mention anywhere at all!  And how many made a similar fuss over MORE well known character actors deaths, like CHARLES LANE, BURT MUSTIN or even DUB TAYLOR?  

Not intending to downplay or take anything away from the sadness of Mr. Erdman's passing.  But outside of the realm of "film buffs", there really wasn't all that much "public" interest in Erdman's career or film history to begin with.  And with regards to "Community", Erdman only had an occasional recurring role as an elderly ans antagonistic student.  Was never a member of the show's regular cast.  

Sepiatone

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5 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

Not intending to downplay or take anything away from the sadness of Mr. Erdman's passing.  But outside of the realm of "film buffs", there really wasn't all that much "public" interest in Erdman's career or film history to begin with.  And with regards to "Community", Erdman only had an occasional recurring role as an elderly ans antagonistic student.  Was never a member of the show's regular cast.  

Sepiatone

I agree with this which is why the scope\size\content,  as well as the photo, of the L.A. Times entertainment columnist obituary about Erdman was a surprise to me and why I mentioned it was similar in scope\size\content to the one on Durbin.  

I trade e-mails with the Times entertainment columnist.    Maybe I'll ask her if there was any special reason a minor celebrity of his 'status' received such major star treatment.

 

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I think Richard Erdman deserves all the recognition he received.  He was one of those character actors that was in so many movies and TV shows and made his presence known.  I first recognized his talents in Cry Danger, but then later on noticed him in many other movies and TV shows.  He appeared regularly in TV's Perry Mason.  He also did well in a nice guy role in The Monolith Monsters as a doctor.

As for Deana Durbin, she was much promoted, but I have never been particularly impressed with her roles.  She did OK, but hundreds of other starlets could probably have done as well.  Durbin had better publicists personally and at the studios.

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49 minutes ago, TheCid said:

I think Richard Erdman deserves all the recognition he received.  He was one of those character actors that was in so many movies and TV shows and made his presence known.  I first recognized his talents in Cry Danger, but then later on noticed him in many other movies and TV shows.  He appeared regularly in TV's Perry Mason.  He also did well in a nice guy role in The Monolith Monsters as a doctor.

As for Deana Durbin, she was much promoted, but I have never been particularly impressed with her roles.  She did OK, but hundreds of other starlets could probably have done as well.  Durbin had better publicists personally and at the studios.

The 'issue' here (really the question),  is not if Erdman deserved all the recognition he received but more why did he receive from the L.A. Times the type of recognition that is typically only reserved for major stars.   I have received the Times for over 35 years and after I found out about his death at this forum,  each day I checked the obituary to see if there was a write-up and was pleasantly surprised. 

Durbin was mentioned because she clearly was a much bigger movie star than Erdman (deserved or not again isn't the issue here) but her Times write-up was in the same ball park as Erdman's.    

My theory is that having done something 'recently' (or NOT) is the reason;  Most studio-era actors that passed within the last decade or so haven't done anything publicly (e.g. are a presenter at a major award ceremony like the Oscars,   done a T.V. movie,   a T.V. show,   a direct-to-market 'movie' (Netflix),   committed a major crime,  were represented in a T.V. show like Feud etc...),  for over a decade (and in some cases like Durbin over 40 years without a peep).

I do wonder if other newspapers or media outlets (e.g. CNN?),  covered Erdman's passing and career.     Yea,  not like the L.A. Times did,  but any mention at all.    I assume NOT.

 

 

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Oh sure, I too will agree Erdman deserved the attention he did upon his passing, but too, so did HELTON, MUSTIN, MANTELL and LANE. All of who DIDN'T get that much notice when THEY shed their mortal coil. Especially CHARLES LANE.  :angry:

Sepiatone

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5 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

Oh sure, I too will agree Erdman deserved the attention he did upon his passing, but too, so did HELTON, MUSTIN, MANTELL and LANE. All of who DIDN'T get that much notice when THEY shed their mortal coil. Especially CHARLES LANE.  :angry:

Sepiatone

Helton died in 1971,  Mustin in 1977,  Lane in 2007 and Mantell in 2010,  and you remember how much "coverage" they received?   

Of course maybe you're talking about the 'coverage' these fine character actors received at this forum;  yea,  Helton and Mustin were ignored at this forum,,,,,  oh,  wait,  this forum didn't exist back in the 70s!!!

 

 

 

  

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8 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

Oh sure, I too will agree Erdman deserved the attention he did upon his passing, but too, so did HELTON, MUSTIN, MANTELL and LANE. All of who DIDN'T get that much notice when THEY shed their mortal coil. Especially CHARLES LANE.  :angry:

Sepiatone

Charles Lane (who after all was in every movie and every television show ever made) got a nice obit in The New York Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/11/movies/11lane.html

 

 

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18 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Helton died in 1971,  Mustin in 1977,  Lane in 2007 and Mantell in 2010,  and you remember how much "coverage" they received?   

Of course maybe you're talking about the 'coverage' these fine character actors received at this forum;  yea,  Helton and Mustin were ignored at this forum,,,,,  oh,  wait,  this forum didn't exist back in the 70s!!!

 

 

 

  

Neither did TCM!  :D 

I was also gonna say(in the case of IF it did...) that I wasn't a member of this forum yet, either.  ;)   And really, I was remembering how much "coverage" they didn't receive.  :(   THAT I remember!  

Sepiatone

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