Ned Beatty, the Oscar-nominated character actor who was a booming, indelible presence in even the smallest parts in half a century of American films, including Deliverance, Network, and Superman, has died. He was 83 years old when he died.
Beatty died of natural causes on Sunday at his Los Angeles home, surrounded by friends and loved ones, according to Deborah Miller, Beatty’s manager.
Ned Beatty, the character actor who made his big-screen debut in "Deliverance" and was nominated for an Oscar for "Network," has died. He was 83.https://t.co/lZm7WHo6n9
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) June 14, 2021
Beatty in previous years
Ned Beatty was cast in 1972’s Deliverance as Bobby Trippe, the happy-go-lucky member of a male river-boating group terrorized by backwoods bullies, after years in regional theatre. The sequence in which Trippe is brutalized and made to “squeal like a pig” became the film’s most iconic, establishing Beatty as an actor whose name spectators may not have recognized but whose face they always recognized.
There’s a lot of “I know you!” for people like me. I recognize you! In 1992, Beatty said, “What have I seen you in?” without being rude. As a supporting actor in 1976’s Network, Beatty received only one Academy Award nomination for his depiction of business executive Arthur Jensenbut he was a steady contributor to some of the most popular films of the time, with over 150 films and television.
The role of Beatty in the network
Ned Beatty’s role in Network, directed by Sidney Lumet and written by Paddy Chayefsky, was brief but monumental. His three-minute monologue is one of the best in film history. Jensen invites anchorman Howard Beale (Peter Finch) to a vast, dimly lighted boardroom for a conversion experience on media’s fundamental capabilities.
“You’ve meddled with nature’s primordial forces, Mr Beale, and I’m not having it!” Beatty yells across the boardroom before saying that there is no such thing as America or democracy. Only IBM, ITT, AT&T, DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon are left. Those are the world’s nations today.
He played Otis, the ignorant henchman of evil Lex Luthor, in the first two Christopher Reeve Superman films, and the racist sheriff in White Lightning. Other films included All the President’s Men, The Front Page, Nashville, and The Big Easy. In a 1977 interview, he explained why he loves to play a supporting role.
The New York Times quoted him as saying, “Stars never want to throw a curveball to the audience, but throwing curveballs is my great joy.” “Being a celebrity diminishes your acting effectiveness because you become a recognizable and somewhat predictable component of a product. You must mind your Ps and Qs and take care of your fans. However, I enjoy shocking the audience by doing something out of the ordinary.
He had a rare prominent role in the Irish film Hear My Song in 1991. The true story of great Irish singer Josef Locke, who vanished in the height of his career, received positive reviews but was mostly unknown in the United States. Between films, Ned Beatty worked extensively in television and theater. He played John Goodman’s father in Roseanne and was a detective in Homicide: Life on the Street.
On Broadway, he received critical acclaim (and a Drama Desk award) for his portrayal of Big Daddy in a revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, a character he had previously done in a stock company performance when he was 21 years old. In 2010, he starred as the dishonest stuffed bear Lotso in Toy Story 3 and as the malevolent tortoise mayor in Rango. In 2013, he announced his retirement.