One of Hollywood’s greats passed away this weekend, leaving behind one of the more impressive acting resumes you’ll see. Ned Beatty was 83 years old and according to The Hollywood Reporter, passed away from natural causes at his home in Los Angeles. He leaves behind him a body of work that spanned four decades on the big and small screen.
Ned Beatty first came on the scene when he took the role of Bobby Trippe in 1972 Deliverance. The movie about a group of Atlanta businessmen who take an ill-fated trip down a river in backwoods Georgia was a critical success and even saw a tidy box office number. But it was disturbing in its own right punctuated by the fate of Beatty’s character at the hands of some pretty screwed-up dudes. That being said, it started Beatty’s career and he’d stand the test of time in Hollywood.
He’d make a number of other appearances in films and television shows over the next few years until he took another major turn in 1976s Network. Ned Beatty played the blustering and verbose Arthur Jensen in the black comedy giving one of the more famous big-screen speeches you’ll see, arguing that the “World is a corporation.” It’s a singularly great moment punctuating the message of the movie and Beatty was lauded for the performance. He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards that year for his role as Jensen.
Ned Beatty would make a number of other appearances shortly after with roles in All the Presidents Men and The Big Bus. Beatty had the knack for having a bit of a silly and ridiculous side on the screen and that played well when he joined the comic book movie ranks as Otis, the stoolie to Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor in Superman and Superman II. It was the perfect role for the actor who brings about a certain ineptness to the evil criminal empire element to the movie. He was hilarious as the goofy henchman for those first two films.
There was steady work for the actor over the years and eventually, he’d land a longer-lasting television gig joining NBC’s Homicide: Life on the Streets. The show was up for and won multiple Emmy Awards over its seven-year run. Ned Beatty played Stanley Bolander for the first three seasons before his character “retired” in the show.
And there were plenty more roles for Ned Beatty over the next couple of decades and he even joined the Pixar ranks as well. He voiced the character of Lots-O’-Huggin Bear in Toy Story 3. That character ruled Sunnyside Daycare like a despot and was the primary source of conflict for Woody and the gang throughout. He’d go on to do a few more roles over the next couple of years, effectively retiring from the screen in 2013.
Ned Beatty had a celebrated career and will be missed. He is survived by his wife Sandra and his eight children from four different marriages. Our condolences go out to his friends and family on his passing.