Of all the actors and actresses I admire, I don't think there is anyone who performs prolifically on such a high level as Robert Duvall. I have never seen him do a bad role, and he always seems believable no matter which character he depicts.
Duvall came fairly late into the game of acting, but made an unforgettable debut in Robert Mulligan's acclaimed To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) and has since appeared in a remarkably high number of well-received or high-profile films: The Chase, Bullitt, M*A*S*H, THX 1138, The Godfather, The Conversation, The Godfather, Part II, Network, Apocalypse Now, Days of Thunder and The Paper, just to name a few. He has a knack for portraying hard-edged authoritarian characters, but many of his most memorable performances has come in touching, sensitive and often very emotionally expressive (and demanding) roles. His ability to go deep into his roles and make any character believable is singular.
Every once in a while, Duvall also takes place in the director's chair, and when he does, his work is incredibly personal and forceful. He was hailed for his Angelo, My Love in 1983, but it was going to take 14 years before he directed again with the magnificent portrait of a misfortunate minister in The Apostle. It was an important film for Duvall which he struggled to raise money for and ended up financing partly himself. And although it hasn't got the attention it deserves, it is one of the best films I have ever seen.
At 74, Duvall's position in the business is unique. He alternates between leading and character roles and is frequently hailed for his work. His looks are striking and commanding, roughly handsome but with a soft smile. As Leonard Maltin pointed out, his face wouldn't look out of place on Mount Rushmore. He is one of few actors that can expect to find his name high up on the cast list for as long as he chooses to (or is able to) continue acting. It will hopefully be for a long time still, because he's still as vigorous as ever. For my own part, although I've seen almost twenty films in which he's appeared, I still have a lot unseen from his rich body of work to look forward to. Duvall is currently living with Argentine actress Luciana Pedraza, 41 years his junior.
On why he didn't do The Godfather III:
On Marlon Brando:
About Scottish footballer Ally McCoist:
About Michael Owen:
About Scottish footballer Jimmy Johnston:
About his career:
Asked about if there are any downsides to being an
Rambling Rose (1991)
Daddy (Robert Duvall): "Put your damn tit back in your dress. Do you hear me girl? Replace that tit!"
The Apostle (1997)
The Apostle E.F.: "I'm a genuine, Holy Ghost, Jesus-filled preachin' machine this mornin'!"