Friday, 31 December 2010
One of the greats - no doubt about it. From The Magnificent 7 to Once Upon A Time In The West, to - of course - The Dirty Dozen. A mean, brooding presence you wouldn't dare cross in a hurry. I was never a huge fan of the Death Wish movies, but naturally Charlie Buchinsky played the part perfectly. If ever you needed a vicious psycho who is nonetheless basically good, you could always count on Charlie.
Typically for America, despite serving as a B29 crewman in the Pacific War and receiving a Purple Heart for his (literal) pains, Buchinsky changed his name to Bronson during the McCarthy era because anyone with a 'Slavic' name (he was, in fact, Lithuanian, but such details were - and are still in some cases - irrelevant) came under immediate suspicion of harbouring Communist sympathies. The fact that he couldn't speak English until he was in his teens doubtless gave his voice that unique timbre, which seemed to epitomise the tough guy archetype.
In The Dirty Dozen, he is plucked from Death Row, where he has been since being convicted of murder, to join the crew on their mission behind enemy lines.
He married his second wife, Jill Ireland, who was previously married to David McCallum, after reportedly telling McCallum on the set of The Magnificent 7:
"I'm going to marry your wife"
And that is about as direct as you can get.
Happy New Year to all. See you in 2011.