Cliff Robertson (1923-2011)

Posted by By at 10 September, at 12 : 41 PM Print

Cliff Robertson (1923-2011)

Cliff Robertson died last night, Saturday, September 10th, on Long Island, New York. He acted in more than fifty films over a span of fifty years. I will never forget “The Best Man” (1962), directed by Franklin Schaffner and written by the great Gore Vidal. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to interview both Schaffner and Robertson many years ago.


Robertson won the Best Actor Oscar in 1968 for “Charly,” as a developmentally- challenged man who becomes a genius. His astonishing performance was the kind that made denying him the Oscar impossible for Academy members.

Later, in 1971, Robertson produced, directed, co-wrote and starred in “J. W. Coop,” a film about rodeo rider who is released from prison after ten years and tries to adjust to a new way of life without success. The dark, metaphoric film was praised widely and received well by critics, as was Robertson’s direction, but failed commercially. “J. W. Coop” was screened at the Tehran International Film Festival in 1972 and I met with Mr, Robertson after his press conference and later again in his hotel lobby for an interview. Robertson was pleasant, charming, humble and respectful. He also had a reputation as a non-conformist, a reputation borne out by the fact that he turned down the potentially career-boosting role of Dirty Harry in order to make more introspective films such as “J. W. Coop.”



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