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Harold Gould, 1923-2010

Harold Gould, 1923-2010 (photo)

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Sad news from The Hollywood Reporter: Harold Gould, one of the finest character actors of the 1970s, passed away on September 11 of prostate cancer. Gould, born Harold Goldstein, is one of those guys you probably don’t know by name but would recognize instantly by sight. He’s best known for playing the father of the title character on the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” spinoff “Rhoda” but I’ll remember him as a supporting performer in two of my my all-time favorite films, 1973’s “The Sting” (pictured above) and 1974’s “The Front Page.”

Gould’s gentlemanly presence and crisp diction perfectly suited the period of both films, roughly the late ’20s and early ’30s. “The Sting” came first, where he played opposite Robert Redford, Paul Newman, and Robert Shaw as conman Kid Twist. Redford and Newman dominate the film, of course, but Gould held his own, stealing scenes with his wry, knowing smile. has a great clip (sadly not embeddable) of Gould’s Twist and Ray Walston’s J.J. worming their way into a guy’s office in order to steal his identity and then scam Shaw’s Doyle Lonnegan. The scene shows off Gould’s flexibility as an actor, from blue collar worker to sleazy businessman, with a brief stopover in the middle as grifter supreme.

Gould plays another character who wears many faces in Billy Wilder’s eternally underrated remake of “The Front Page” (1974). As the major of Chicago, he’s the picture of gentility as long as the press are around. As soon as they run off to chase a story, he drops the charade and mutates into a cigar-chomping, power-mad tyrant. Gould had a knack for suave refinement and he looked great in old suits, but he could play a convincing scoundrel too. Once again he shared a film and some very memorable scenes with a legendary acting duo; in this case Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.

I vaguely remember Gould as Betty White’s longtime boyfriend on “The Golden Girls,” and he had a healthy run of grandfather roles in recent movies like “The Master of Disguise” and the remake of “Freaky Friday.” But those two performances from “The Sting” and “The Front Page” will forever remain etched in my mind. And no wonder. For a man like Gould, whose credits stretched into the triple digits over a five decade career, playing those kind of chameleons were extremely relatable roles.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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