Charles Durning to receive Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award

Sep 24, 2007 by Ian Evans

Charles Durning will be honored by the Screen Actors Guild as the union pays tribute to the character actor and highly decorated World War II veteran by giving him the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. Durning will receive the award at the 14th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards®, which premieres live on TNT and TBS Sunday, Jan. 27, 2008, at 8 p.m. ET/PT, 7 p.m. CT and 6 p.m. MT.

SAG President Alan Rosenberg said, “Charles Durning is the perfect choice for the Life Achievement Award as Screen Actors Guild celebrates its 75th anniversary. Throughout his career, he has epitomized the art and grace of acting and brought something special to every role. He is above all things a great actor with the talent to which we all aspire: the power to create indelible characters.”

This honor from his fellow actors is one of the numerous accolades that Durning has received over the years. He received an Oscar nomination in 1983 for his role in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and another one in 1984 for his role as Colonel Erhardt in Mel Brook’s To Be or Not To Be. He has also received four Golden Globe nominations.

Besides his work in over 100 features, Durning has also made a mark on the small screen, earning eight Emmy® nominations over the years. He has also received Tony and Drama Desk Awards for his stage work.

Charles Durning usually keeps quiet about his most important honors. The recipient of three Purple Hearts and a Silver Star, Durning was in the first wave to land on Omaha Beach on D-Day and was later taken prisoner during the Battle of the Bulge. He was also the sole survivor of 40 men who took out a German machine gun nest. Durning broke his silence about his war years at the urging of another SAG Life Achievement Award recipient, Ossie Davis, who persuaded his Evening Shade co-star to join him in the National Memorial Day Concert for the 50th anniversary of D-Day.

A fine actor, a magnificent talent, and a hero, Charles Durning is a fitting recipient for this honor.