Don Calfa was not just an actor. He was an enigma, a man who brought life to every character he played on screen. With his iconic roles in films like “The Return of the Living Dead” and “Weekend at Bernie’s,” Calfa captivated audiences with his unique blend of humor and intensity. But behind the scenes, his journey to success was one marked by determination, hard work, and an unwavering passion for his craft.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1939, Calfa’s love for acting blossomed at an early age. He took part in local theater productions throughout his school years, honing his skills and deepening his understanding of the craft. But his dream took a backseat when he enlisted in the United States Army, serving overseas during the Vietnam War. Despite the hardships he faced during this time, Calfa never let go of his dream of becoming an actor.
After returning from the war, Calfa dove headfirst into the competitive world of acting in Los Angeles. He appeared in a number of small roles on television shows like “Kojak” and “Starsky and Hutch,” slowly building his reputation within the industry. But it was his breakthrough role in the 1979 film “The Rose” that began to put him on the map.
Calfa’s talent for portraying complex characters with depth and charm caught the attention of filmmakers and casting directors alike. His ability to seamlessly transition between comedy and drama proved to be his greatest strength, earning him critical acclaim and a dedicated following of fans.
In 1985, Calfa starred in what would become one of his most memorable roles – that of mortician Ernie Kaltenbrunner in “The Return of the Living Dead.” This horror-comedy cult classic showcased Calfa’s ability to bring humor to even the most terrifying situations, leaving a lasting impression on audiences around the world. His performance in this film solidified his status as one of the industry’s most skilled character actors.
But it wasn’t just Calfa’s talent as an actor that made him so beloved by his colleagues. Throughout his career, he was known for his professionalism, dedication, and humility on set. He treated everyone with respect, from the director to the production assistants, and was always willing to go the extra mile to ensure the success of a project.
Calfa’s inspirational journey as an actor came full circle in 1993 when he played the role of Bernie Lomax in the hit comedy “Weekend at Bernie’s.” Although a departure from his usual genre, Calfa once again proved his versatility and comedic genius. The film became a commercial success, further cementing his place in Hollywood.
Sadly, Calfa passed away in December 2016 at the age of 76. But his legacy as an actor and as a person lives on. He left behind a body of work filled with memorable performances and a lasting impact on the industry.
Don Calfa’s journey to success serves as a reminder that with hard work, dedication, and a passion for one’s craft, dreams can be achieved. He inspired countless aspiring actors with his commitment to his art and his unwavering determination to bring characters to life. Don Calfa will forever be remembered as an actor who defined what it meant to be talented, humble, and truly dedicated to the craft of acting.