Oscar-nominated actor Ned Beatty, known for his roles in movies as Network, Superman, Deliverance, All the Presidents Men, and Toy Story 3 has passed away. He died this Sunday morning at his home in Los Angeles of natural causes. He was 83.

He had appeared in over 160 movies and had been nominated for an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, an MTV Movie Award for Best Villain, and a Golden Globe.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Ned began singing in gospel and barbershop quartets at his local church. He received a scholarship to sing in an acappella choir at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky but never graduated.

At 19 he first appeared on stage in an outdoor pageant called Wilderness Road. For the next 10 years, he worked as an actor in many different stage shows, including playing Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman.

His first screen role in 1972 was in John Boorman’s Deliverance. Ned’s character was forced to strip at gunpoint and was then raped. The scene caused controversy but brought him attention from both critics and fans.  From there, he starred in movies like The Thief Who Came To Dinner, The Last American Hero, and White Lightning, as well as starring in TV shows like The Walton, Kojak, and The Rockford Files.

In Network in 1976, Ned has a small but memorable role as head of the network. The New York Times described his performance as:

“A folksy messiah, beautifully played by Ned Beatty, [who] is the mouthpiece for some of [Paddy] Chayefsky’s bluntest thoughts about the current state of the wealth of nations.”

He utters the famous line:

“It’s because you’re on television, dummy.”

Ned was then never out of work, going on to make things like All the Presidents Men, The Big Bus, Silverstreak, and teaming up with John Boorman again for The Exorcist 2: Heretic. In 1978 he worked with Charlton Heston in Gray Lady Down, which was Christopher Reeves’ screen debut. Later that year, Ned and Christopher would team up again in Richard Donner’s Superman.

I would list the rest of the movies he’s starred in, but the list is just too long, he really had an amazing career. More recently, he had a recurring guest spot on the TV show Rosanne and appeared in episodes of Law & Order and CSI.

In 2010 he starred as Lots O’ Huggin’ Bear in Toy Story 3, Ned’s voice performance was very reminiscent of his character Sheriff J C Conners from White Lightning, with that soft-spoken Southern demeanor.

He is survived by his fourth wife and eight children from different marriages.

Enjoy the peace and quiet in Otisburg!

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