NED Beatty, who died this week at the age of 83, was the accomplished actor. In a remarkable career spanning more than four decades, he has made 150 films and appeared in numerous television series.
The stocky build and manned face of the Kentucky-born actor meant he rarely got the lead roles, but the roles he played always stayed in the mind and heightened the material he honored.
Beatty brought everyone’s credibility to everything he did, imbuing the characters he created in an impressive array of styles and genres with a natural, persuasive charm all his own.
Although he was never an A-lister as such, his status in Hollywood was reflected in the directors who sought him out for their films. John Boorman made his big screen debut in Deliverance (1972) and Beatty immediately established himself as an adventurous city dweller, brutally brutalized and unforgettable on a weekend of canoeing. in the wild nature of the great south.
Robert Altman used it effectively in Nashville (1976) and he found himself an Oscar nominee for his performance as a corporate CEO in Sidney Lumet’s powerful media satire network in 1977, turning his famous monologue into one. only day of filming.
Beatty made memorable appearances in All The President’s Men (1976) and Superman (1978), where his turn as Lex Luther Otis’ whiny companion won him deserved praise, and he showed his natural comedic chops in everything, from Rodney Dangerfield’s Back to School (1986) to his stage robbery performance as the voice of Lotso, the evil teddy bear gang in Toy Story 3 (2010).
He also lit up the small screen as the popular Stanley ‘Big Man’ Bolander in Homicide: Life On The Street in the mid-90s and even appeared as John Goodman’s father, Ed Connor in Roseanne.
If there is a role of Ned Beatty that I suggest you dig to remember the great man at his best, I would choose his beautifully nuanced performance as legendary Irish singer Josef Locke in director Peter Chelsom’s comedy Hear My Song. in 1991.
A sweet slice of Irish fantasy, it weaves together a simple story of a promoter who tries to hunt down the elusive Irish tenor for a rare live appearance. It remains a mostly flimsy piece of plush that allows all manner of Irish actors from Adrian Dunbar and Jimmy Nesbitt to wander the beautiful countryside to good effect, but Beatty’s turn as Locke, a man who had fled the country due to tax demands, increases it. at a higher level.
The American actor plays the beloved Irish tenor with genuine heart and compassion, adding just the right amount of twinkle in the eyes and world weary sadness in the smile to a role that could easily have been a cliché between less hands.
He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his efforts and it’s still a performance that stays on the mind today. Subtle, natural and always believable. Just like the man himself.