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R.I.P. Maury Chaykin

July 27, 2010 |  1:48 pm

Actor Maury Chaykin died Tuesday, his 61st birthday, in Toronto. The veteran character, who had dual citizenship in Canada and the U.S., appeared in "Dances with Wolves," "The Sweet Hereafter," "Blindness," "A Life Less Ordinary" and many other films.

He also played detective Nero Wolfe in the A&E Television series "A Nero Wolfe Mystery," produced, directed and co-starring Timothy Hutton. The series was based on the detective novels by Rex Stout. Just last Friday, Jacket Copy looked back at Stout, his work, and the fans who found the fictional detective's house on 35th Street in Manhattan.

Nero Wolfe was an odd character. He was far more tender with his orchids than with most people; he was a precise and picky foodie before being a foodie was a thing; his anger could be terrifying; and when he slipped deep into thought, his eyes would close as he pursed his lips, pushing them in and out. Chaykin executes many of these attributes in the above clip; he portrayed Nero Wolfe with all the appropriate prickliness, but added enough warmth so we could understand why his sidekick, Archie Goodwin, stuck around.

-- Carolyn Kellogg
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