He was one of those guys who'd pop up in movies and make you slap your head and say, "Oh yeah ... that guy!" In films as diverse as City Slickers and The Godfather II and This is Spinal Tap, Kirby created hilarious, often neurotic characters with a minimum of effort. (On the small screen, he contributed memorable performances in shows like Entourage, Homicide: Life on the Streets, and even played himself to hilarious effect during a run on the still-sorely-missed Larry Sanders Show).
Kirby was one of my first celebrity sightings when I moved to LA early last year. Upon entering the Whole Foods at Santa Monica and Fairfax, I heard a very distinctive voice saying, "Thank you, thank you, aw, thank you!" Two aisles down, Bruno Kirby is in the check-out line. Apparently the cashier had recognized him and said something. He was effusive, gracious, and, I recall sadly, really young-looking.
I remember telling a few friends, "Hey, I spotted Bruno Kirby at the grocery store!" And they had no idea who I meant. Then I'd imitate his voice and say a few of his more famous lines (I'm fond of his much-mocked "And if you dooOOOO..." from Good Morning, Vietnam), they'd peg him instantly.
"Oh yeah ... that guy!"
Rest in peace, Sir Bruno.