Oscar-winning actor Cliff Robertson, who starred in roles ranging from John F. Kennedy in the World War II drama PT 109 to the President of the United States in John Carpenter’s Escape from L.A. has died at the age of 88, just one day after his birthday. His family reported that he passed away of natural causes at a hospital in Long Island, New York.
Riverside resident Elizabeth Hicks remembers Robertson fondly from one of her favorite 80’s TV soaps, Falcon Crest, where Robertson played Dr. Michael Ranson. “He was such a presence.” said Hicks. “I had such a crush on him at the time!”
That presence, along with Robertson’s handsome, regal stature and commanding voice landed him in over 60 films in his more than five decade career. He had a penchant for playing real-life characters, and in addition to John F. Kennedy, he portrayed Playboy founder Hugh Hefner in 1983’s Star 80, automobile mogul Henry Ford in the 1987 TV movie Ford: The Man and the Machine and astronaut Col. Buzz Aldrin in the 1976 TV film Return to Earth.
Robertson won an Oscar for his portrayal of mentally disabled bakery janitor Charly Gordon in the 1968 film Charly.
Horror, comic and sci-fi fans will likely best remember Robertson for his recent turns in all three blockbuster Spider-Man films playing Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben. He also starred in the screen adaptation of Stephen King’s Riding the Bullet alongside Barbara Hershey and David Arquette, appeared in two episodes of legendary series, The Twilight Zone and starred as Shame in the 1960’s TV series Batman.
In 2002, Robertson wrote and starred in the straight-to-video horror film The 13th Child: The Legend of the Jersey Devil, based on the book The Jersey Devil by James F. McCloy and Ray Miller, Jr. The Jersey Devil has been an ongoing creature of legend since the 18th century, said to inhabit the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey. The film also starred Lesley-Anne Down and The Blue Lagoon star, Christopher Atkins. Atkins remembers Robertson fondly, telling knotmove.com, “He was an icon in the industry, and I was very honored and excited to work with him.”
As of press time, there was no information regarding the funeral or planned memorials.
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