Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Remembering Maury Chaykin

I remember once telling Maury Chaykin he ressembled a permantly unmade bed.
And he laughed heartily and agreed with me.
The talented Canadian actor died Tuesday (ob his 61st birthday) and it's hard to remember a performance in which he wasn't less than great.
Once on the set of a Nero Wolfe TV movie (shot in Toronto) he told me he had basically taken the role because "I get to dress up". Wearing immaculate suits and sipping vintage wines --it was a far different type of role than Chaykin was used to.
But he was great in it just the same and co-star Timothy Hutton said Chaykin was fantastic to work with.
I first talked to him when he was promoting the 1985 TV movie Canada's Sweetheart, the life of Hal Banks and Chaykin had the guy down to a T.
I told him I'd phoned Banks' home and somebody listened as I asked to speak to Banks --then hung up:the next day Banks was dead.
Chaykin could do it all: he excelled in character parts in big U.S. movies like War Games (1983), Mrs. Soffel (1984) (shot in Toronto) with Mel Gibson and Turk 182! (1985) also with Hutton, Stars And Bars (1988) with Daniel Day-Lewis, Dances With Wolves (1990) with Kevin Costner.
But he also specialized in Canadian material --he could jump from a Night Heat episode to a Diamonds guest spot to Street Legal and always catch one's eye.
We always got around to the subject of his weight which disturbed him. But his appearance was also one of the reasons he worked so much --he could ease into many different kinds of people.
He won a Gemini award (finally) in 2006 for the series At The Hotel and had a semi-recurring role in HBO's Entourage. More recently he was deeply moving in the HBO Canada series Less Than Kind.
Make no mistake he was one of the best. And I miss him already.
NOTE: Bravo! salutes Chaykin Thursday at 9 p.m. with a showing of his 1994 performance in Whale Music which won him a Genie.

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