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Robert Duvall @ 80

As Robert Duvall turns 80 today, he'll celebrate by becoming "the latest star immortalized in the famous collection of celebrity prints at Grauman's Chinese Theatre," reports Marilyn Sparks in the Examiner. "[T]he Oscar-winner will join less than 200 celebrities who have left their handprints, footprints (and sometimes other strange prints) in the cement forecourt of the Hollywood landmark since actress Norma Talmadge first started the tradition in May 1927."

"Consider the diversity," wrote Joe Leydon in a recent profile of Duvall for Cowboys & Indians, "everything from loyal mob lawyer (The Godfather) to washed-up country singer (Tender Mercies), savvy corporate attorney (A Civil Action) to surfing Vietnam warrior (Apocalypse Now), tough-loving father (The Great Santini) to guilt-ridden evangelist (The Apostle). And, mind you, those are just the performances for which he's received Oscar nominations (or, in the case of Tender Mercies, the Best Actor prize itself). Sissy Spacek, Duvall's costar in the [then-]upcoming period drama Get Low, admiringly says, 'He's such an amazing actor that he simply is the character. He doesn't act the character, he becomes the character. And so, really, when you're working with Bobby, you just have to react. It's that easy. You just show up, and he's like this engine. All you have to do is catch this moving train. You get a great ride when you work with Bobby.'"

With over 130 performances listed at the IMDb, we'll not, of course, revisit every one of them here. But one piece of work really does warrant lingering over a moment or two longer. Take it away, AO Scott:

 

 

Update: "He's absolutely one of those 'I'll see whatever movie he's in' actors," writes Scott Weinberg at Cinematical, where he looks back on "a handful of Mr Duvall's best moments."

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Great great actor. My favourite role of his is that of Jackson Fentry in Tomorrow. Happy Birthday!
He was fantastic in “Get Low”. Why the critics haven’t been noting his acting AND that film on their “best of…” lists for 2010, I don’t know. It would easily make my Top 10 list for films I saw last year. It also had great performances by Sissy Spacek and Bill Murray.
Duvall may be one of our times’ greatest actors. He can, and has, played everything. His total work in and on The Apostle is just incredibly dynamic. Compare that to the subtlety of his understated Tom Hagan. One of my favorite scenes among his films is in Network, where his Frank Hackett throws out Wm Holden’s Max Schumacher…happy birthday, RD.
Me encanta un gran actor,son tantas…

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