His obituary covers in nice detail his incredible acting range, particularly in the area of live theater. I wasn’t at all aware of Grizzard’s stage accomplishments—he won a Tony Award for his performance in 1996’s Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance, and nominations for his work in The Disenchanged (1959) and Big Fish, Little Fish (1961). His stage debut was opposite Paul Newman, playing his brother in 1955’s The Desperate Hours, which was later brought to the silver screen with Humphrey Bogart in the starring role. Other highlights include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (the original 1962 production), California Suite (1976) and Judgment at Nuremberg (2001).
Grizzard also did a goodly amount of television work, including the prestigious dramatic anthology Playhouse 90. Among the series he appeared on: Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone, Rawhide, Ben Casey,
Five-O and Law & Order,
on which he had a recurring role as Arthur Gold. He also copped a Best Supporting Actor Emmy
in 1980 playing opposite Henry Fonda in the TV-movie The Oldest Living Graduate. Medical Center, Hawaii
But I’ll personally remember Grizzard best for performances in films like Advise & Consent (1962, as Senator Ackerman), Warning Shot (1967, as the flaky pilot-playboy who befriends David Janssen’s cop) and Bachelor Party (1984) because—and I mean absolutely no malice in this—no one could play a better asshole than George. Any individual who has the cojones to play truly unlikable people time and time again is aces in my book.
R.I.P., Mr. Grizzard. You will be missed.