Ned Beatty, the Oscar-nominated character actor best known for starring in movies like Deliverance and Network, passed away on Sunday. He was 83 years-old.
Beatty’s death was confirmed to Fox News by his manager Deborah Miller, who said that he died at his home in Los Angeles, California of natural causes.
Beatty got his start in regional theater before being cast in the 1972 film Deliverance, in which he played a happy-go-lucky vacationer who is brutally raped by a backwoodsman. The rape scene ended up being the most memorable one of the movie, and cemented Beatty as a familiar face in the eyes of audiences.
“For people like me, there’s a lot of ‘I know you! I know you! What have I seen you in?’” Beatty said in 1972.
Beatty would go on to be nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for playing corporate executive Arthur Jensen in the 1976 movie Network, with his three-minute monologue in the movie going down in history as one of the best monologues in film history. The monologue happens after Beatty’s character summons anchorman Howard Beale (Peter Finch) to a long, dimly lit boardroom for a come-to-Jesus discussion about the elemental powers of media.
“You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won’t have it!” Beatty screams from across the boardroom before explaining that there is no America, no democracy. “There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today.”
Beatty would go on to appear in over 150 movies, and he once explained why he was happier being a supporting actor than a star.
“Stars never want to throw the audience a curveball, but my great joy is throwing curveballs,” he said. “Being a star cuts down on your effectiveness as an actor because you become an identifiable part of a product and somewhat predictable. You have to mind your P’s and Q’s and nurture your fans. But I like to surprise the audience, to do the unexpected.”
Born in Kentucky in 1937, Beatty grew up in the Protestant Disciples of Christ Christian Church.
“It was the theater I attended as a kid,” he once said. “It was where people got down to their truest emotions and talked about things they didn’t talk about in everyday life. … The preaching was very often theatrical.”
Beatty wanted to become a priest until he caught the acting bug when he was cast in a high school production of “Harvey.” The rest, as they say, was history.
Beatty is survived by his wife Sandra Johnson, who he married in 1999, as well as by eight children from three previous marriages.