The actor Edward Herrmann, who died Wednesday at the age of 71, is perhaps best known for his role as a kindhearted patriarch on seven seasons of TV's "Gilmore Girls." While he most often served as a supporting player, the Emmy and Tony winner leaves behind a long and diverse body of work, including a number of memorable films. Here are five.
"Harry's War" (1981)
Written and directed by Kieth Merrill, this relatively obscure indie comedy featured a rare leading-man part for Herrmann. He played Harry Johnson, a postman who takes up his late aunt's fight against the IRS and ends up declaring war on the agency — complete with his own tank. "Harry's War" costarred Geraldine Page and David Ogden Stiers.
A year later, Herrmann played President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in director John Huston's big-screen adaptation of the Depression-era musical about a plucky orphan taken in by a billionaire businessman. "Annie" represented a case of efficient, if not inspired casting by Huston: Herrmann had previously played FDR twice, in the made-for-TV movies "Eleanor and Franklin" and "Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years," earning Emmy nominations for both.
"The Lost Boys" (1987)
Long before "Twilight" brooded its way into massive popularity, Herrmann appeared in the '80s vampire flick "The Lost Boys" opposite teen idols Jason Patric, Kiefer Sutherland, and the two Coreys (Haim and Feldman).
In a 2012 interview with AV Club, Herrmann recalled the movie fondly, although he added, "at the risk of disappointing the vampire clan, I was not personally drawn to them. I just thought it was a hell of a lot of fun to play one, because I'd never done it. Later, when I was able to play Herman Munster, that was a real treat as well."
"The Cat's Meow" (2001)
His everyman stand in "Harry's War" notwithstanding, Herrmann played his share of well-heeled characters too, including Goldie Hawn's wealthy husband in "Overboard," Macaulay Culkin's tycoon father in "Richie Rich" and the aforementioned blueblood on "Gilmore Girls."
He did so once again in Peter Bogdanovich's period drama "The Cat's Meow," portraying newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst opposite Kirsten Dunst, Eddie Izzard and Cary Elwes. In a review for the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert wrote, "The film is darkly atmospheric, with Herrmann quietly suggesting the sadness and obsession beneath Hearst's forced avuncular chortles."
"The Wolf of Wall Street" (2013)
This one is a bit of an easter egg: Director Martin Scorsese's brazen biopic about the crooked but charismatic stockbroker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) opens with a commercial for Stratton Oakmont, Belfort's seemingly respectable firm. Herrmann narrates the ad in a dignified, upmarket tone, promising "Stability, integrity, pride" — just before Scorsese cuts to a scene of unruly traders heaving dwarfs at a velcro target.
For Herrman, "Wolf" winked at a prolific career as a voice-over artist and served as a reunion with "The Aviator" filmmaker Scorsese. It would also mark one of Herrmann's final films.
Follow @ogettell for movie news