Thursday, February 22, 2024

RIP Beloved Character Actor Michael Lerner, 81, Oscar Nominee for “Barton Fink”


I’m sorry to report the death of beloved character, Michael Lerner. He was 81.

Michael was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1992 in the Coen Brothers’ “Barton Fink.” He was perfectly cast and actually deserved to win. He was already on a roll, appearing in movies and TV, but after that his work ramped up considerably.

Because of his hefty visage, he was often cast as mobsters, lawyers, or heads of studios from the old days. In 2016 he starred in a film directed by Justin Chambers of “Grey’s Anatomy,” called “American Bred.” Around that time he had a recurring role in “Glee.”

In the decades before that his resume is endless, he was a very popular presence on the big and small screens. I had the pleasure of talking to Michael a few times over the years. He was great friends with actress Diane Baker, they used to come to the annual BAFTA tea, and he was a lot of fun.

Michael’s nephew, Sam Lerner, posted the notice on Instagram. May his memory be a blessing.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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