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Actor Ned Beatty, ‘Deliverance’ Star, Dies at 83

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Photo Credit: Ned Beatty is one of the stars of Sweet Land. He had just finished signing the 'Riverview Theater's copy of the movie poster. - Dan - CC 2.0 GA

Ned Beatty, the actor renowned for playing characters in films like Network and Deliverance, died on Monday of natural causes, his daughter Blossom Beatty told The Hollywood Reporter.

He was 83.

Beatty, who was nominated for an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, and one Golden Globe Award in his lifetime, was born in 1937, in Kentucky. He initially planned on joining the musical theatre and made his stage debut in 1956, at the age of 19. His stint on the stage went on for over a decade, until he made his silver screen debut in 1972 with the film Deliverance, also featuring Jon Voight and Burt Reynolds. The John Boorman-directorial marked the beginning of the Beatty-Reynolds collaboration, which continued over several films.

Beatty’s debut created ripples in the film industry for his portrayal of businessman Bobby Trippe and the infamous male rape sequence.

Beatty was later invited by The New York Times in 1989 to share his views on this scene and he wrote a piece that began with: “Fate is kind. Most men don’t have to live with the fear of being raped. My experience tells me we couldn’t do it very well.”

He went on to feature in many commercially successful films, primarily in supporting roles. These included Nashville (1975), All the President’s Men (1976), Silver Streak (1976), Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), Otis in Superman (1978) and Superman II (1980), among others.

He lent his voice for the character Lots-O-Huggin Bear in Toy story 3 (2010), and was last seen in the 2013 film Baggage Claim.

Beatty’s television credits include NBC’s Homicide: Life on the Street and as the chaplain assigned to an American private (Martin Sheen) in the 1974 telefilm The Execution of Private Slovik.

With Reynolds, he later collaborated on projects like White Lightning (1973), Gator (1976), and W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings (1975). The two also worked together in Stroker Ace (1983), Switching Channels (1988), and on a 1989 episode of ABC’s B.L. Stryker.

Beatty is survived by his wife Sandra Johnson, and children Blossom, Doug, twins Charles and Lennis, Wally, Jon, Thomas and Dorothy.

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