With the American election in full swing, as well as the MLB playoffs, other headlines were buried this week – such as the passing of character actor Robert Bodine.
Once a rising star in the 80’s, Bodine never landed his “breakout” role, and mostly faded from public eye. He occasionally surfaced in movies (such as The Wicker Man), but led mostly a private life, raising his two kids with his wife.
We take a look back at Robert Bodine today, and 5 of his most noticeable roles.
1. The Wicker Man (2006)
In his last film role, Bodine was almost unrecognizable from his 80’s days, and was only relegated to one line.
However, it came in one of the most iconic scenes from the film, where Nicholas Cage is tortured in a crude mask, filled with bees.
When one of the “Sisters” of the village suggests the bees as torture, Bodine gets his one line – “Finally – the bees”.
While its a shame he wasn’t given more in his last role considering his acting history, the scene in question has become an internet sensation, ensuring Bodine’s legacy lingers on.
2. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
While once again relegated to only one line, here Bodine steals the scene. When Ferris tells a fellow classmate of his “ailments” over the phone, Bodine’s character, another student at the school, listens in.
Ferris Bueller: Yeah I’m pretty sick, probably won’t be able to come in today.
Female Classmate: That’s awful! I hope you’re feeling better by this weekend.
Male Classmate: When Principal Rooney catches-
Female Classmate: Oh my god, where did you-
Male Classmate: – catches Ferris Bueller in his nasty lie, I hope he punishes him.
I hope he punishes him with bees.
Female Classmate: What does that even-
Cue the song “Oh Yeah” by Yello, and the opening credits of the film.
A great opening to a great movie, and Robert Bodine nails the delivery.
3. Rocky (1976)
In his first ever film role, Bodine was little more than a background extra.
In the classic, climactic fight scene, the camera pans over an enthusiastic crowd, and for a brief second the camera lingers on a young face.
Which yells “, Hey, I got a hot tip for ya, Rocks! When Apollo Creed’s feelin’ woosy, here’s what you do! Construct a full face helmet, and put a big funnel on top! And then, fill it with bees! Fill it right up with bees! He will get stung many times, in his face and nose and eyes! Yup! That’s what you should do, and I’ll be right here in the crowd, just a watchin!”
Before the camera quickly pans back to the fight. It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo from Bodine, but deserves a place on the list as his first Hollywood credit.
4. Back to the Future Part II (1989)
In the second installment of the classic trilogy, Marty McFly travels to the future, only to find that the offspring of his nemesis Biff – Griff – exists, and is just as mean as his grandfather. Like Biff in the first movie, Griff is constantly surrounded by his group of cronies, one of whom is played by none other than Robert Bodine.
It’s in Back to the Future Part II that Bodine was given perhaps the most screentime of his career, in a scene where Griff threatens Marty.
Griff: Listen McFly, we’re gonna pound your head in!
Cronie: Yeah! And then you know what we’re gonna do?
Griff: No, not again-
Cronie: We’re gonna construct a helmet.
Griff: Robert, come on man.
Cronie: Out of sticks and wood and whatever materials we have on hand.
Griff: Can we please cut? This is getting ridiculous.
Cronie: We’re going to go down to the local bee sanctuary. We’re gonna grab 80, 90 bees.
Griff: How are you going to grab bees?
Cronie: And that’s where the funnel I described in an earlier scene finally comes into play.
Cue the song “Oh Yeah” by 80’s band Yello, and the closing credits to the film.
That’s right – the same actor who yelled about bees in Rocky is the one who yelled about bees in Back to the Future Part II – and it’s Robert Bodine.
5. SuperBowl XXI
The 1987 SuperBowl was highly anticipated, and with good reason. Could the Denver Broncos defeat the New York Giants, and the stacked defense of the “Big Blue Wrecking Crew”?
The answer was no, as the end result was 39 – 20 for the Giants. This was especially impressive as the Giants were hindered by the injury of quarterback Phil Simms.
After the halftime performance by Yello, an ecstatic Robert Bodine ran onto the field, pulled Simms down onto the ground, and forced a homemade mask onto his head, before pouring large amounts of insects down through the top.
Both teams gathered around in a circle to watch in curiosity, as bees stung Simms in the face and nose and eyes.
While this was deemed disappointing by the NFL commissioner, the game was allowed to continue.
Bodine was named MVP.
As the only ever actor to win a “EGOTM” (No Emmy, no Grammy, no Oscar, no Tony, and the MVP of the 1987 SuperBowl), Bodine will go down in history as a tragic “What could have been” story.
However, we can all agree, his role in The Wicker Man was the one he was born to play.
** Griffin Toplitsky is a comedian / writer. Please follow him on Twitter although it might be abandoned.