Cliff Robertson, the veteran all-rounder who most readers will recognize as ‘Uncle Ben’ in Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy, passed away Saturday, one day after his 88th Birthday.
Robertson won an Academy Award for his performance as the title character, a mentally-impaired young man, in “Charly” (1968) and also starred in the likes of “Days of Wine and Roses”, “Three Days of the Condor”, “Midway”, “Brainstorm” and “Escape from L.A”, in which he played the President. It was his role as Peter Parker’s kindly uncle in the “Spider-Man” series that younger audiences discovered the La Jolla-born actor.
Robertson was also known for his involvement in a cheque-forging scandal at Columbia Pictures in 1977. Dubbed ‘Hollywoodgate’, it involved Robertson exposing Columbia studio head David Begelman as a shonkster who not only forged Robertson’s name on a cheque but had pissed away thousands of company dollars in other areas. Robertson said at the time, “There’s a small percentage of corrupt people in Hollywood. Only one percent represents the pinnacle of power. They’ve been frightening people for years, and now they’re frightening others into `ipso facto’ blacklisting me… I hear there’s a very powerful person in Hollywood saying I’ll never work again.”
That clearly didn’t happen. And we’re all thankful for that.
Rest in Peace, Sir.