La Jolla native Cliff Robertson dies at 88

By Kathy Day

Staff Writer

Clliff Robertson, a La Jolla native, at age 88 -- one day after his birthday -- according to his website which showed only a photo of him soaring in a glider with the message “In loving memory... September 9, 1923 - September 10, 2011.

The New York Times reported his passing at 6:20 p.m. PDT, describing him as a “ruggedly handsome actor who won an Oscar for ‘Charly’ and was consistently praised by critics but never quite reached the top echelon of movie stardom.”

The story on the Times website quoted a statement from his daughter Stephanie Saunders, which read: “My father was a loving father, devoted friend, dedicated professional and honorable man. He stood by his family, friends, and colleagues through good times and bad. He made a difference in all our lives and made our world a better place. We will all miss him terribly.”

In October 2010, he attended the reunion of La Jolla High’s classes of 1939-44, an event he had begun hosting 20 years before at his La Jolla oceanfront estate when it was known as “Old La Jolla Night.”

He was featured in the Light’s 10 Questions in May 2009, which noted his “writing, directing and acting skills have been seen and praised on television, on stage and in more than 70 motion pictures. Along with winning an Oscar, Robertson has also won an Emmy Award (Best Actor T.V.), a Theatre World Award (Stage) and an Advertising Age Award (Best T.V. Commercial, AT&T).

“Among the several films he has starred in are “PT 109,” “The Best Man,” “Charly” (Academy Award for Best Actor) and the recent “Spider-Man” films.”

Robertson at that time lived in Mill, Long Island, N.Y. In 2006 he was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame. In the 10 Questions feature, he said for fun he soared in his airplane and his glider.

He was involved with more than 50 national charities.

Among his other answers to 10 questions were:

-- What makes La Jolla special to you?

Indelible memories of my Tom Sawyer youth and my many friends and very few enemies.

--If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in La Jolla?

Nothing to add. Subtract about 30,000.