Charles Durning is an American actor best known for his role as a retired New York City firefighter and Tommy Gavin’s dad on the television series Rescue Me.
A veteran of both the D-Day invasion at Normandy and the boxing ring at Madison Square Garden, as well as a former ballroom dance instructor, Durning has garnered acclaim on stage, screen, and television.
A performer in more than 30 plays, Durning has been seen in everything from The Au Pair Man, The Happiness Cage, and Knock Knock, to Inherit the Wind, The Gin Game, the Pulitzer Prize winning That Championship Season and his Tony Award-winning performance in the 1990 Broadway revival of the Tennessee Williams classic, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
On screen Durning has captured the attention of both the movie-going public and critics with his more than ninety performances in such notable films as the Oscar winning The Sting, Dog Day Afternoon with Al Pacino, The Choirboys, True Confessions, Starting Over with Burt Reynolds, The Twilight’s Last Gleaming, The Front Page, with Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and To Be or Not to Be (both of which brought him Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor).
He’s also been seen in The Hindenburg, The Man with One Red Shoe, Far North, The Hudsucker Proxy, Dick Tracy, V.I. Warshawski, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Dead Canaries (which he also directed), and Jesus, Mary and Joey.
On television he’s received eight Emmy nominations. In a television career that started in 1963 with a guest starring role on the series East Side/West Side, Durning has appeared on the small screen more than 80 times.
As a guest star or recurring character, he’s been seen on High Chaparral, Madigan, Canon, Barnaby Jones, Baretta, Hawaii Five-O, Orleans, Homicide: Life on the Street (where he was nominated for an Emmy Award), The Practice, Early Edition, Everybody Loves Raymond, Everwood, NCIS, and Rescue Me.
His series regular credits include Another World, The Cop and the Kid, Eye to Eye, The First Monday, and an Emmy-nominated role on Evening Shade.
Along with mini-series such as Captains and Kings (earning him another Emmy nomination), Studs Lonigan, The Kennedys of Massachusetts, and A Woman of Independent Means with Sally Field, Durning has starred in a host of telefilms.
These not only include his Emmy-nominated role in Attica, Death of a Salesman, and Queen of the Stardust Ballroom, but also The Trial of Chaplain Jensen, Switch, The Ashes of Mrs. Reasoner, Crisis at Central High, Working, The Judge, and Detective.