NEW YORK — Cliff Robertson, the handsome movie actor who played John F. Kennedy in PT-109, won an Oscar for Charly and was famously victimized in a 1977 Hollywood forgery scandal, died on Saturday (Sept. 9, 21011). He was 88.
His secretary of 53 years, Evelyn Christel, said he died in Stony Brook of natural causes a day after his 88th birthday.
Mr. Robertson never elevated into the top ranks of leading men, but he remained a popular actor from the mid 1950s into the following century. His later roles included kindly Uncle Ben in the Spider-Man movies.
He also gained attention for his second marriage to actor and heiress Dina Merrill, daughter of financier E.F. Hutton and Marjorie Merriweather Post, heiress to the Post cereal fortune and one of the world's richest women.
His triumph came in 1968 with his Academy Award performance in Charly, as a mentally disabled man who undergoes medical treatment that makes him a genius — until a poignant regression to his former state.
Mr. Robertson had created a string of impressive performances on television and Broadway, but always saw his role played in films by bigger names.His TV performances in Days of Wine and Roses and The Hustler, for example, were filmed with Jack Lemmon and Paul Newman, respectively. Mr. Robertson's role in Tennessee Williams' play Orpheus Descending was awarded to Marlon Brando in the movie.
Born Sept. 9, 1923, in La Jolla, Calif., he was 2 when he was adopted by wealthy parents who named him Clifford Parker Robertson III. He studied at Antioch College, and served in the Merchant Marine.