Anniversary Post: Anthony Perkins

Anthony Perkins

On this day, 4 April, in 1932, Anthony Perkins was born. He had quite a colorful career and was always a remarkably compelling actor. But he will always be remembered for his break-out performance in Psycho.

He was already an established actor at that time, but not well-enough known to be prevented from acceptance as a truly messed up character. Until recently, I thought mostly about the film in terms of its effect on me rather than what was going on with poor Norman Bates.

I mean: he’s Ed Gein — but worse. I’m not even sure what Gein was about. He just seemed to really miss his mama. But Bates doesn’t miss her; she’s always around: yelling at and punishing him for the sin of his sex drive.

But I’m not a huge fan of the film. I do think it’s one of Hitchcock’s best. But it has its problems. And the biggest problem it has is that damned ending. I’m not talking about Norman in mama’s clothes with a chef’s knife. I mean the ending with all the psychobabble from Simon Oakland (The Night Stalker).

I prefer him in Orson Welles’ criminally neglected The Trial (note: not a good release). Anthony Perkins has the perfect combination of intelligence and paranoia to play Josef K.

Perkins was only 60 years old when he died of complications related to AIDS. It’s particularly tragic given he certainly had a lot more work he likely would have done. Still, for someone so associated with one role, he left a lot of work — including other times he played Norman Bates.

Also on 4 April

Richard Coogan (Captain Video and His Video Rangers) was born in 1914, David White (Bewitched) in 1916, Elizabeth Wilson (The Addams Family) in 1921, Peter Vaughan (The Remains of the Day) in 1923, Kenneth Mars (Young Frankenstein) in 1935, Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight) in 1979, Craig T Nelson (Poltergeist) is 76, Christine Lahti (…And Justice for All) is 70, Hugo Weaving (V for Vendetta) is 60, A Michael Baldwin (Phantasm) is 57, David Cross (Mr Show) is 56, and Robert Downey Jr (Soap Dish) is 55.

Producer Gene Reynolds (M*A*S*H) was born in 1923.

Cropped from Anthony Perkins by Allan warren under Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

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