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Actor Roberts Blossom dies

Won three Obies, worked in TV, film

Stage and screen actor Roberts Scott Blossom died of natural causes in Santa Monica on Friday, July 8. He was 87.

Blossom won three Obie awards: in 1956 for “A Village Wooing,” in 1965 for “Do Not Pass Go” and in 1976 for Tankred Dorst play “The Ice Age.” He also portrayed Firs in the 1988 Peter Brook staging of “The Cherry Orchard” with Brian Dennehy and Linda Hunt at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

On Broadway he appeared in Edward Albee’s adaptation of Carson McCullers’ “Ballad of the Sad Cafe” in 1963 as well as in Sam Shepard’s “Operation Sidewinder” in 1970.

Despite his long legit career, the actor is probably best known for his role as Old Man Marley in the Chris Columbus film “Home Alone.” He also appeared in “Slaughterhouse-Five,” “The Great Gatsby,” “Escape From Alcatraz,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “The Quick and the Dead,” “Always” and “The Last Temptation of Christ.” He also starred in a horror film, 1974’s “Deranged,” that was based on the life of serial killer Ed Gein.

Blossom was busy on the smallscreen as well. He made his TV debut on an episode of “Naked City” in 1958. He had a recurring role on the soap opera “Another World,” for which he won a Soapy Award as favorite villain in 1978. After “Close Encounters” the actor worked again with Steven Spielberg on the “Amazing Stories” pilot episode “Ghost Train” in 1985. He also guested on series including “In the Heat of the Night,” “Northern Exposure” and “Moonlighting.” His last screen appearance was in the ABC telepic “Balloon Farm” in 1999.

Blossom was born in New Haven, Conn. He began acting in Cleveland in the 1950s after attending Harvard and serving in the Army during WWII, and he moved to New York to pursue his career.

He was also a published poet, writing every day for 60 years.

A documentary on his life, “Full Blossom: The Life of Poet/Actor Roberts Blossom,” was made in 2000 and featured Ed Asner, Peter Brook and director Robert Frank, as well as members of Blossom’s family.

He is survived by a daughter and a son.

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