On September 10, 2011, Academy Award-winning actor Cliff Robertson passed away at the age of 88. Robertson’s career got off to a strong start with successful roles on stage and television, and soon he graduated to acting in movies and became a leading man. Sadly, I’m not very familiar with most of Robertson’s work, but there are two roles for which I will always remember him: as Charly in the movie of the same name (based on the book Flowers for Algernon) – a role that won him an Oscar – and as Uncle Ben Parker in the Spider-Man movies. In both roles, Robertson’s acting lent an air of gravitas to the proceedings, even when he was surrounded by silliness like in Spider-Man 3. As Charly, he made a character (a mentally challenged man) that could have easily been quite alienating feel relatable and sympathetic, and turned him into a protagonist that viewers want to succeed in his endeavours. Robertson was a rock in the tumultuous world of movies, and when asked about his work in the industry, he had this to say: “This isn’t exactly a stable business. It’s like trying to stand up in a canoe with your pants down.” Too right, Cliff. Too right.
Behind the Curtain