It’s with a heavy heart that we report the brilliant and hilarious Charles Grodin has passed away.
In addition to his memorable roles in films such as Beethoven, Midnight Run, and The Heartbreak Kid, Grodin crossed paths with the Muppets several times, each of which were extremely memorable.
Perhaps his greatest role – Muppet or otherwise – was as the villainous Nicky Holiday in The Great Muppet Caper. I’m sure we all remember his jewel thievery, love triangle with Miss Piggy, and flowered socks, as he gave a performance that both stood the test of time and felt natural alongside the zany Muppet cast.
Several years later, Grodin butted heads with the Muppets again in the terrific special The Muppets at Walt Disney World. Once again, his villainous side came out as Quentin Fitzwaller, security guard at Walt Disney World. After the Muppets break in to the theme park, Grodin chased them all down one-by-one, unknowingly arresting close personal friends of his boss, Mickey Mouse.
Grodin’s third appearance came in the Sesame Street special Stars and Street Forever, portraying half of a wealthy couple (alongside Susan Sarandon) who are considering purchasing an expensive apartment in the structure that would replace 123 Sesame Street (if the more-villainous-than-Grodin Ronald Grump has his way). Thankfully, Oscar the Grouch managed to scare away the yuppies before they had a chance to hand over their check.
Finally, Grodin invited Miss Piggy to his MSNBC talk show in 1990. We don’t have a record of this at the moment, but we can only assume that they discussed rekindling their relationship from their time on set of The Great Muppet Caper.
Speaking of which, we learned that Jason Segel intended to ask Grodin to appear in a cameo in The Muppets, presumably revisiting his role as Nicky Holiday, still in jail after all these years. While Grodin declined the offer, he did follow-up with a bizarre article reminiscing about his love affair with Miss Piggy. It’s… very strange, and absolutely worth a read.
As you can tell, Grodin was a strong presence in the world of the Muppets. We’ll think of him every time we spill ketchup on our cummerbunds or scrape chewing gum off the pavement at a theme park. He will truly be missed.
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by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com