My dear Post Apocalyptic Bohemian, Stephen, reminded me that yesterday would have been character actor Michael Jeter's 60th birthday.
Probably best known for his roles as the homeless cabaret singer in The Fisher King; mouse trainer extraordinaire Eduard Delacroix in The Green Mile and Mr. Noodle on 'Sesame Street,' Jeter was an extraordinarily talented performer who was equally comfortable in front of a camera and a live audience. Jeter's first film appearance was in Milos Forman's 1979 adaptation of Hair but he went on to appear in dozens of films, including Ragtime; Zelig; The Money Pit; Tango and Cash; Patch Adams and Jurassic Park III.
On television, Jeter appeared on 'Night Court;' 'Designing Women,' 'Evening Shade,' 'Picket Fences' and 'Taken.' Jeter was usually a second banana on shows like 'Evening Shade' and 'Picket Fences,' though he was often the most memorable member of the cast. I was always glad to see him, because he usually elevated even the crappiest of fare, like Jurassic Park III.
A recovering addict, Jeter proved that hard work and ambition could lead to greatness and he was rewarded in 1990 with a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Featured Role - Musical, for his astounding performance as the fatally ill bookkeeper Otto Kringelein in Grand Hotel. I was lucky enough to see that show and his astonishing, rubber-legged dancing in the number "We'll Take a Glass Together:"
Jeter passed away from complications due to AIDS on March 30, 2003, at the far-too-young age of 50. Talented, funny and smart, Jeter may not have been a so-called "A-Lister," but he was always a stand-out in whatever he did. Here he is an appearance on Letterman in the 80's.
I wish we could have seen what he might have done in the past 10 years. RIP Micheal. I know I'm not the only one who misses you!