by Timothy Rollins, Editor and Publisher
January 21, 2003
The world is a little less wealthy these days with the passing of veteran Emmy-award-winning character actor Richard Crenna (right), who died over the weekend of cancer at age 76.
Crenna had long been one of my favorite actors both on the silver and small screens - both for his role in the Rambo films and as Lieutenant Frank Janek in a series of television movies in the 1980's and 1990's that I found thoroughly enjoyable.
Originally starting out in radio at age 10 and later moved on to television, Crenna had appeared on Burns and Allen, played a lovesick teenager on Our Miss Brooks and when it went from radio to television, he made the move with it.
One of his more memorable roles was that of Col. Samuel Trautman, the mentor to Sylvester Stallone's character in the Rambo films. As evidence of the good humor that was so much a part of the man and his life, he went on to spoof the role in Hot Shots! Part Deux, the ultimate parody of the high-testosterone films of that era.
Unlike many others in the Hollywood community, there was a gentleness of sorts to Crenna, as he did not revolve his life from one Hollywood party to another. For him it seemed that being an actor was a career in much the same way another would be a banker or police officer or attorney or physician. While it was obvious he enjoyed his work, it did not seem the focus of his life, but rather, his wife and three adult children were.
Survived by his wife Penni and their children, there will be a public memorial service this Friday in Los Angeles.
Crenna will be missed - not only by those how knew him, but also by those who knew and appreciated his work and the willingness with which he shared his talents with the world. To his family, we thank them for the gift and talent he shared with us and take comfort knowing that it will continue to live on and the legacy he leaves behind.
Remembered with love and appreciation, he will be missed. ***
© 2003 Timothy Rollins
© 2003 BY THE AMERICAN PARTISAN.
All writers retain rights to their work.