Cliff Robertson, the Oscar-winner for 1968's Charly who is best-known to today's generation as uncle Ben Parker in the Spider-Man movies, died yesterday at age 88, reports the LA Times. Described by Look magazine in 1963 as "one of the finest young actors in America today," Robertson won many plaudits for his theater and television work, and appeared in more than 50 movies—including Gidget, Three Days of the Condor, and Brainstorm—but never made the leap to the Hollywood A-list.
But in 1977, Robertson starred in a real-life story, turning whistleblower in an infamous embezzlement scandal at Columbia Pictures, which ultimately implicated the studio chief. "I wasn't trying to be Don Quixote," Robertson told a magazine later. But he was black-balled for three years: "I broke the unwritten commandment: Thou shalt never confront a major mogul on corruption," he said in a later interview. "Suddenly, the phone stopped ringing."