Friday, October 1, 2010
JOE MANTELL 1915 - 2010
Though while also being nominated for a Best Supporting Oscar for his fine portrayal of Ernest Borgnine’s best pal in MARTY (1955), as well as playing Jack Nicholson’s partner and photographer in CHINATOWN (1974), Joe Mantell was infinitely more than just another second banana. His characters were nearly always gritty, streetwise malcontents, but in them he breathed bursting life and heart and a vulnerability that made you recognize him and care about him. I almost always felt like I knew guys like Joe growing up - and know guys like him now. He disappeared in those roles. He made them real people - the kind that wore their hearts on their sleeves, the kind whose pain and anxiety were palpable.