Ned Beatty — the actor with 160-plus acting credits who was improbably nominated for an Academy Award, an Emmy, and an MTV Movie Award for Best Villain — has died. He was 83. TMZ is reporting that he died in his sleep on Sunday, surrounded by family. No cause of death has been given at this time. Beatty made his film debut in 1972’s Deliverance. He was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in Network as smarmy TV exec Arthur Jensen. In a scene that presaged the transnational media acquisitions of our current era, Jensen says, “There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon.” Network enjoyed new life on Broadway in 2018.
Beatty worked steadily for decades, in both film and television. In film, he played Lex Luthor’s less-than-competent henchman Otis in Superman and Superman II opposite Gene Hackman. On television, he was part of the Homicide: Life on the Street ensemble for three seasons as Detective Stan Bolander. Homicide was a groundbreaking show, bringing David Simon to television and originating the iconic cross-medium character John Munch. His MTV Movie Award nomination came from one of his later-in-life projects, as Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear in Toy Story 3. Lotso’s Colonel Kurtz–like hold over the toys in the Sunnyside Daycare made that film one of the darker Pixar movies ever made.