Widescreen: Where to stream Charles Grodin's greatest roles
Charles Grodin died Tuesday at 86, and the world collectively went, "Oh! I remember him! He was funny. Where had he been?"
Grodin was one of the most visible comedic actors of my formative years, having played a jewel thief with eyes for, uh, Miss Piggy in 1981's "The Great Muppet Caper" (streaming on Disney+) and the hapless dad in 1992's giant dog comedy "Beethoven" (Peacock). But the very strange 1994 film "Clifford" (HBO Max), in which Grodin plays uncle to a conniving 10-year-old played by 44-year-old Martin Short, was the end of his career as a top-line movie star, though he did make a few supporting appearances in the 2000s.
He will be best remembered for "Midnight Run" (HBO Max), a buddy/crime comedy with Robert De Niro from "Beverly Hills Cop" director Martin Brest. (Well, that, and maybe his purposely obtuse talk show appearances with Johnny Carson and David Letterman in which he did everything he could to not answer questions, to hilarious effect. To YouTube!) Local film fans may have special affection for "Taking Care of Business" (digital rental/sale), a comedy written by 24-year-old J.J. Abrams in which Grodin plays straight man to Wheaton's Jim Belushi -- and the Cubs win the World Series.
You probably don't remember that Grodin starred alongside Mary Steenburgen and Kieran Culkin in a sequel to "A Christmas Story." The obscurity called "My Summer Story" isn't streaming anywhere, but it is available on DVD and Blu-ray from Amazon and TCM's online store at shop.tcm.com if you want to hear the golden tones of Jean Shepherd narrate the further adventures of Ralphie Parker and his Old Man.
• Sean Stangland is an assistant news editor who has never seen "Midnight Run" and probably shouldn't have told you that.