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Biography Bud Cort

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Inasmuch as there was already a Wally Cox, American actor Walter Edward Cox chose the stage name Bud Cort when applying for his Equity card. Straight off the stage, Cort was cast in the small role of an intern browbeaten into tears by Robert Duvall in M*A*S*H* (1970). This brief appearance was enough to encourage M*A*S*H director Robert Altman to entrust Cort with the lead in his next film, Brewster McCloud (1971), a Vonnegut-like pastiche about a flying boy. Cort was not "standard leading man" material, thus many of his roles were in the offbeat vein of Brewster McCloud, even in more down-to-earth material like The Strawberry Statement (1971). Thus Cort was in many ways perfect for the suicidal teen protagonist of Hal Ashby's Harold and Maude (1972), whose life would be turned inside out (and back on track) by septuagenarian "free spirit" Ruth Gordon. It wasn't that Cort quit acting after Harold and Maude; it's simply that many of his subsequent films tried too hard to emulate Harold and Maude's cult status, and fell so short of this goal as to be forgettable. The later Cort films in this "midnight movie wannabe" vein included Electric Dreams (1984), Invaders From Mars (1989), Love at Stake (1991), and Ted & Venus (1992), a charmingly outdated "crazy for love" opus which Cort also directed.

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