Tribute to Two Leading Actors
AMERICAN cinema was enriched by the contributions of two actors from different generations: Burt Lancaster and Raul Julia. The ruggedly athletic performances of Lancaster, who died Oct. 20, were rooted in his training as an acrobat. But the actor sought roles that developed his sensitive and comic sides, such as ``Birdman of Alcatraz'' and ``The Rainmaker.'' He received the 1961 Academy Award for his portrayal of a Bible-thumping, lecherous con artist in ``Elmer Gantry,'' but younger filmgoers know him better from the recent films ``Local Hero'' (1983) and ``Field of Dreams'' (1989).
Lancaster was also one of the first actors to start his own production company. The company made many of his films as well as ``Marty,'' which won an Academy Award for best picture in 1955.
THE versatile and thoughtful Julia, who died Oct. 24, portrayed Shakespearean characters on stage and the ``Addams Family'' patriarch on screen. His best-known role was the South American political prisoner in the 1985 film, ``Kiss of the Spider Woman.'' The Puerto Rican-born actor got his start in the 1960s at Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival. New York audiences saw him in the title roles in ``Man of La Mancha,'' ``Macbeth,'' and ``Othello''; the Fellini-like film director in ``Nine''; Proteus in a musical version of ``Two Gentlemen of Verona''; and MacHeath in ``The Threepenny Opera.''