Veteran actor Cliff Robertson passed away from natural causes last Saturday, one day after his 88th birthday. MovieMaker remembers this talented actor and his contributions to American cinema.
After his film debut in Picnic (1955)—in which he co-starred with William Holden—the ruggedly handsome Robertson quickly made a name for himself in Hollywood, working with the likes of Joan Crawford, Debbie Reynolds, Lana Turner, Robert Redford and Jane Fonda. A versatile actor, Robertson played everything from a sun-tanned surf bum (Gidget) to a presidential candidate (The Best Man, opposite Henry Fonda) to a mysterious CIA agent (Three Days of the Condor). Robertson received a much-deserved Academy Award for Best Actor for his brilliant performance in Charly, where he played a mentally challenged man who takes part in an experiment that drastically improves his intelligence.
Robertson’s career was temporarily derailed in the 1970s after he blew the whistle on a crooked studio executive, but he weathered the storm and never stopped pursuing his craft. His love of acting is evident in the fact that he continued working into his eighties, last appearing as Uncle Ben in Sam Raimi’s Spiderman trilogy.
Cliff Robertson was an amazing actor and—more importantly—an admirable man who made bold choices in both his career and his life. He will be greatly missed and forever remembered.