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Cliff Gorman

Cliff Gorman

In 1968, Gorman delivered an OBIE-winning performance in the controversial landmark play, "The Boys in the Band." Important in dramatizing gay themes and yet often reviled for its vitriolic portrait of a group of self-hating homosexuals, "Boys" attracted a great deal of attention, not least for Gorman's lisping and limp-wristed Emory. After making his screen debut as another gay character in George Cukor's "Justine" (1969), he recreated Emory for William Friedkin's stagy 1970 film version. He finally broke out of typecasting with another very noticed stage role: Lenny Bruce in "Lenny" (1972). As the foul-mouthed, bitterly hilarious, trailblazing and ultimately tragic standup comic, Gorman won both a Tony and a Drama Desk Award for this showcase role. Gorman lost the role to Dustin Hoffman for Bob Fosse's screen "Lenny," but his feature work picked up with the lead in "Cops and Robbers" (1973). (Fosse later cast him in a very Bruce-like role in "All That Jazz" 1979). While not a prolific actor, Gorman's roles are usually large and invariably vivid, as in "Hoffa" (1992), as the club owner who insults the eponymous anti-hero. He was especially splendid chasing Jill Clayburgh in "An Unmarried Woman" (1978). Gorman has periodically returned to the stage. His sharp, urban image suited him for Neil Simon banter; he received a Tony nomination for his supporting work in "Chapter Two" (1978). Continuing to demonstrate a flair for comedy, he replaced Ron Liebman in "Doubles" (1985) and starred opposite Marlo Thomas in "Social Security" (1986) His TV work, meanwhile, has ranged from telefilms "Brink's: The Great Robbery" (CBS, 1976) to "The Bunker" (CBS, 1981), in which he played Joseph Goebbels. Gorman first played Detective Sgt. Aaron Greenberg opposite Richard Crenna's Lt. Frank Janek in the miniseries "Doubletake" (CBS, 1985). The two weathered actors have reprised the roles for several sequels, including "Internal Affairs" (CBS, 1986), and "A Silent Betrayal" (CBS, 1994).
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