Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Passing Of The Tower Guardian

“All that is visible must grow beyond itself and extend into the realm of the invisible.” With those words, Dumont the Tower Guardian allows the video game hero Tron, in the Disney movie of the same name, to pass and interface with his user.
Sad news in reading the daily update on the Hypaspace page today: page host Jonathan Llyr quotes Moviehole in reporting that Barnard Hughes, the actor who played Dumont, has died.
Hughes deserves credit for being a character actor who could play his part well. Admittedly, many of his parts may have ultimately been the same – the crusty old wizard/hermit/scientist who’d be just as likely to smack you upside the head for asking a stupid question as he would be to impart some pearl of wisdom. It probably helped that he looked the part too: short but firm, grey whiskers, glittering eyes, a defiantly thrust chin. But rather than sleepwalking through his gigs like many character actors do, you could see Hughes focusing on each role with vigour. Whether he was playing Dumont and his alter ego - a company founder being squeezed-out by an ambitious executive, or whether he was the timeless magician in “Mr. Merlin” taking a 20th century boy under his wing, the crotchety, vampire-hating grandfather in “Lost Boys”, or the old town physician in “Doc Hollywood” (okay, okay, I know, it’s not SF, but the character type fits the pattern) Hughes applied himself to his craft.
Barnard Hughes passed away in a New York hospital after a brief illness. He was 90.

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