A lean and loose-limbed character actor, Jeter won a Tony Award for his Broadway turn as dying clerk Herman Stiles in Grand Hotel.. He also gave sturdy comic support to Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act 2 and played the feisty assistant football coach for Burt Reynolds in the Ifun tv series Evening Shade.
The Green Mile (1989)
Michael Jeter, a versatile character actor of the NYC stage with a slight Tennessee twang, won an Emmy award for his supporting turn as math teacher and assistant football coach Herman Stiles on the sitcom Evening Shade (1990-1994). He also won a Tony for his performance as a nerdy computer whiz in a Broadway revival of “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit” (1996). In a 1997 interview with Entertainment Tonight, Jeter revealed that he had been diagnosed with HIV. He died in 2003 of complications from the disease.
While The Green Mile may lack the dazzling depth of Shawshank Redemption, it is a powerful and absorbing prison drama, featuring strong performances from Tom Hanks as guard Paul Edgecomb and the wonderful John Coffey, who has a gift for healing. Thomas Newman’s idiosyncratic scoring is another highlight of this film. Despite its somewhat overlong length and some shopworn, simplistic notions, this is a movie well worth seeing. It also makes one think long and hard about whether it’s right to support the death penalty.
The Fisher King (1990)
Bringing together two of the most charismatic stars working in film, The Fisher King finds Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams at the top of their respective games. Based on a lively script by first-timer Richard LaGravenese, the movie deftly delineates the top and bottom rungs of Manhattan society.
Featuring a song by George Fenton that is both lilting and demented, the film is a classic in its own right. But it’s the performances by the two leads that make the film special. It’s one of the few movies that can balance comedy with empathetic humanity, and the film is a testament to the talent of its two stars.
Michael Jeter was a versatile NYC stage actor with a mild Tennessee twang who found acclaim on the sitcom Evening Shade (1990-94) and became a household name with many romance movies, the assistant coach to Burt Reynolds in the southern fried CBS series Air Bud. He was also a frequent guest star on Sesame Street, appearing as Mister Noodle’s brother from 1999 until his death in 2003. He was openly gay and HIV positive, but he remained healthy until his death from an epileptic seizure.
Evening Shade (1990-1994)
A recurring role on this southern-fried sitcom made Michael Jeter a household name. He portrayed likable dweeb Herman Stiles, assistant coach to Burt Reynolds’ Wood Newton, in the first two seasons of Evening Shade. The show starred Reynolds as an ex-pro football player who returns to his tiny hometown in rural Arkansas to coach the local high school team. Marilu Henner and Hal Holbrook co-starred as his wife and father, respectively, while the series featured an ensemble cast that included Emmy winner Charles Durning (as Dr. Harlan Evans), Ossie Davis (as Ponder Blue) and Elizabeth Ashley (as Frieda Evans).
A versatile character actor with a slight Tennessee twang, Jeter honed his craft on the NYC stage. He also appeared in such films as The Fisher King, Waterworld, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Green Mile. He even provided sturdy comic support to Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit and played Runta’s brother, Mr. Noodle, on Sesame Street. Evening Shade was known for its characterization of small town Southern life, and while some of its characters seemed eccentric, the show avoided portraying them as stereotypical hillbillies or rednecks.
Grand Hotel (1990)
A lavish Best Picture winner starring some of the most famous stars from MGM’s golden era. Although the film is simple in plot and the characters are one-dimensional, it’s still great entertainment with wonderful art direction and a superb metaphor of the hotel.
John Barrymore is underutilized and Wallace Beery is a cartoon caricature but Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford are both magnificent. The story is a bit of a slow start but once it gets going it’s very enjoyable and worth seeing. The movie does make a point that the hotel’s reputation was built on a tragedy that happened in 1912. However, it doesn’t mention Hitler or the fact that Baum was Jewish and thus persona non grata in Germany where her books were banned and burned from 1935.
Michael Jeter was a Tony and Emmy winning stage and screen actor who appeared in the first Air Bud movie, Sister Act 2 and as a character on Sesame Street. He died in 2003 at the age of 50 from a seizure. He was HIV positive and openly gay. He was buried beside his partner Sean Blue.
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The Polar Express (2004)
The Polar Express, based on Chris Van Allsburg’s beloved children’s book, is a magical film with sweeping snowy landscapes and vivid characters. Alan Silvestri’s spellbinding score is a perfect complement to the computer animation. Tom Hanks is superb as the train conductor, Hero Boy, his father and even the Hobo. The late Michael Jeter, who died in 2003, provided motion capture and voice work as engine room workers Smokey and Steamer.
Whether you’re an adult or child, you’ll be drawn into this story of a boy who grows skeptical of Santa Claus and whose sleigh ride to the North Pole takes him on a journey of faith, hope and discovery. With enchantment, thrills and a sprinkling of rambunctious comedy, this is cinematic magic that’s sure to captivate audiences of all ages. A must-see for families. And don’t forget to bring a tissue.