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Gasparilla Film Festival to honor Raymond J. Barry for career work

You may not know the name Raymond J. Barry but the face should be familiar.

Maybe from Born on the Fourth of July, Dead Man Walking and Little Children, or as Jack's grandfather, the one with loanable shoes on Lost.

Or perhaps he's memorable as an idiot's impatient father in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, a redneck who keeps insisting "the wrong kid died" after young Dewey accidentally chops his brother in half with a machete.

Just don't forget that Barry, 71, is this year's recipient of the Career Achievement Award at the fourth annual Gasparilla Film Festival.

"(The award) feels very flattering, and it makes me smile," Barry said by telephone from his home in California. "It makes me feel like, at this point in my life, I'm still alive and kicking . . . as opposed to kind of fading off into the sunset."

An avid painter, poet and playwright, Barry's avocations are displayed on his Web site (raymondjbarry.org).

But it's movies bringing Barry to Tampa, to pick up an award presented last year to actor Terry Moore (Beneath the 12-Mile Reef). Barry noted that most of his best roles — like his Gasparilla entry Charlie Valentine — are father figures for troubled sons.

"I've noticed that the movies I seem to do well with, and have some depth, deal with kids and their problems," Barry said. "I was Tom Cruise's father in Born on the Fourth of July, and my kid got paralyzed by the (Vietnam) war. My boy got murdered in Dead Man Walking."

As a fan, I had to interrupt: "Your boy got cut in half in Walk Hard."

Barry laughed. "That's a whole different deal. People come up to me in shopping malls and say that line to my face — strangers saying: 'The wrong kid died.' Then they laugh and walk away."

You can bet that line will be included in Barry's tribute at the Gasparilla festival's Closing Night Ceremonies at 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $60 for the party, or $75 for the VIP treatment, available online at the festival's Web site, gasparillafilmfestival.com.

Steve Persall, Times film critic

Gasparilla Film Festival to honor Raymond J. Barry for career work 03/17/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 8:37pm]

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