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The Telegraph

Charles Grodin, droll and deadpan actor noted for the hit films The Heartbreak Kid and Midnight Run – obituary

Charles Grodin, who has died aged 86, was an adaptable actor whose droll, sardonic charm was a feature of film, television and theatre for more than 50 years; he was also a playwright and memoirist and, in the US, a familiar face as a talk-show raconteur. His movie breakthrough came in 1972 with the role of Lenny Cantrow, the impossibly romantic protagonist of the acerbic comedy The Heartbreak Kid, written by Neil Simon and directed by Elaine May. It was a role that depended heavily on Grodin’s ability to lend humanity to his characters.

Cantrow was, in the words of one critic, “one of the suavest losers the 20th century has yet produced” – a New York sporting goods salesman who has raced into marriage only to spend his Florida honeymoon experiencing the marital equivalent of buyer’s remorse after running into Kelly, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed WASP played by Cybill Shepherd. “It’s a big problem, Radio City Music Hall big,” says Cantrow, in one of the film’s funniest scenes.