Anyone who knows movies will know the name Charles Durning. He has starred in so many classic movies in a variety of genres, comedies, thrillers, musicals/ Movies like “Dog day afternoon”, “The Choirboys” ot “The best little whorehouse in Texas” the list is endless. Additionally he has also starred in a great number of TV shows.
But his illustrious career as an actor nearly didn’t happen. Charles was one of the many brave men who landed in Normandy on the 6th of June, 1944-D-Day, at age 21.
Even though he survived the initial assault reasonably unscathed, he was injured by a German mine a few days later which earned him a Purple Heart. After a recovery period of six months, he was put back on the front lines to combat the German Ardennes offensive. In the battle of the Bulge.
During a German attack, Charles recalled that a particularly young soldier charged him, however Charles couldn’t bring himself to fire. The two engaged in battle by using their bayonets, and Charles got wounded again during the fight. Charles did manage to kill the German infantryman, with a rock .. After the offensive, He received his second Purple Heart.
He was discharged in January 1946 as a private first class.
He died on December 24, 2012, Christmas Eve, which is ironic because he played Santa Claus 6 times(Once as Kris Kringle)
A truly remarkable actor and human being. They just don’t make them like that anymore.
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