Cliff Robertson dies at age 88
Trying to peg actor Cliff Robertson as an '80s fixture would be silly. Like many of his colleagues, Robertson can't be pinned to any time or era, other than to call him part of an legendary but vanishing era of Hollywood.
Still, upon hearing news today of his passing Saturday at age 88, I took a quick spin through my memories. Hand to god, the first thought was him as the President of the United States in the very subpar Escape from L.A. sequel in 1996. Why? I have no idea. But there it is. And of course, I remember my dad taking me to the theater to see 1976's Midway, where Robertson played a Navy commander a little too vengeful toward U.S. citizens of Japanese descent. Like every movie I saw with dad -- most of them war movies -- I have a soft spot for that one.
But it took me a glance at the Internet Movie Database to remind me that Robertson did have three memorable '80s roles: As Hugh Hefner in Star 80 and "Alex Terson" in Brainstorm (two movies too creepy for repeated viewings), and as the wealthy but heartless dad to Rob Lowe in 1983's Class.
To me, Robertson excelled at played the flawed man. Sometimes a scoundrel. But someone whose heart was in the right place more often than not. And maybe that's how I'll always remember him. As one of us.