Bob Penny, ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ and ‘Forrest Gump’ actor, dead at 87
Bob Penny, a character actor with roles on “Forrest Gump” and “Sweet Home Alabama,” died Sunday. He was 87 years old.
Penny’s cause of death was not disclosed in an online obituary distributed by Laughlin Service Funeral Home.
Additional credits included Fried Green Tomato, When Will I Be Loved, Mississippi Burning, My Cousin Vinny, and The Legend of Bagger Vance, as well as seven episodes of the television series In the Heat of night. “
Born in Anniston, Alabama, in 1935, Penny appeared in more than 30 films and television shows throughout his acting career. Before acting, he spent three decades as an English professor and taught poetry at the University of Alabama.
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“Sweet Home Alabama” actor Bob Penny died Sunday at age 87. (Kim McCray)
He received his master’s degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a doctorate from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa.
Penny has received numerous awards over the years, both for his teaching and his poetry.
During the 80s, Penny found side work acting in television commercials for a local store and for a United Way campaign in Atlanta.
Bob Penny appeared with Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama. (Getty Images)
He retired from teaching in 1990 and pursued his acting career.
“Then the movies started coming,” Penny told AL.com in 2008. “I was really lucky. I had these very small roles, but they certainly helped pay the mortgage.”
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He was credited as a “benevolent” in the 1994 Tom Hanks film “Forrest Gump” and appeared as small-town lawyer Wallace Buford in 2002’s “Sweet Home Alabama” with Reese Witherspoon.
Penny was credited as a “benevolent” in the 1994 Tom Hanks film Forrest Gump. (Getty Images)
Penny also participated in theater and performed on stage in productions of plays including The Odd Couple and Don Juan in Hell in Birmingham.
“Bob Penny captured all of our hearts at Birmingham Festival Theater and gave his all to his work,” Rhonda Erbrick, the theater’s board chair, said in a statement. She added that Penny “is and always has been an actor and a joy to be around.”
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Penny is survived by her brother, sister, six nieces and a nephew.
“A special thank you goes out to longtime friend/caregiver, Lakin Boyd,” his online obituary reads.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Tracy Wright is an entertainment writer for Fox News Digital. Send story tips to [email protected]