Mr. Durning Prances Across Texas

I can’t tell you how many people in the past two days, since the demise of Charles Durning, have said to me: “I didn’t know he was such a good dancer.” What they’re really saying is: How can a person with extra junk in his trunk know how to move to a beat? News flash: plenty of chunkos in the history of show biz have been good dancers. Durning was one, Jackie Gleason was another. Get over your fat phobia! And then enjoy the clip above from “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” in which Mr. Durning sidesteps across the state capitol. In his autobiography Burt Reynolds says it was his idea to have Durning cast in the “Whorehouse” movie, telling director Colin Higgins: “Take a fellow like Charles Durning, no one in the industry knows what a great song and dance man he is. You know he taught dancing for years. And who do you think will get all the credit for that brilliant, offbeat casting? You!”

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