A Name Worth Remembering: Roberts Blossom

The name Roberts Blossom is first of all, awesome. Secondly, it may not sound familiar to you, and that’s okay. Roberts Blossom is most famously known for his role as old man Marley in the great American classic ‘Home Alone’. When we first meet his character, he looks pretty scary – evil even, as seen in the picture above. Also, he’s carrying a shovel, which only adds to his whole terrifying persona. We see him other times throughout the film as well, usually walking alone at night and not smiling, and still carrying that shovel. I have to admit, when I saw the movie I was terrified of old man Marley. I gathered that he was the reason my parents told me not to talk to strangers. But then something changed.

As things get interesting for Kevin, old man Marley puts his shovel to good use and becomes the hero, saving Kevin from the wrath of the Wet Bandits. And not only that, he has a little talk with Kevin about being grateful and the importance of family.  As it turns out, old man Marley wasn’t evil at all, he was just a lonely old man with life lessons to share who took pride in saving little kids with ridiculous parents from robbers and also happened to love shoveling snow – all the time.

Roberts Blossom was actually quite an accomplished actor, judging solely from his IMDB profile. In his earlier days, he attended Harvard, but after a year of studying was whisked off to fight a war in Europe. Initially it was his dream to become a therapist, but his talents on the big screen eventually won out. Had he chosen to become a therapist, I can only assume that he would have won several awards for his theories on ‘shovel therapy’. He played the “scary old man” role well, and in most of the films he was in, including  ‘Deranged’, ‘The Hospital’, and ‘Slaughterhouse Five’. He also played roles in ‘Escape from Alcatraz’ and ‘Doc Hollywood’. But his most famous role, at least for my generation, was his incredibly terrifying and unexpectedly helpful role as old man Marley. He passed away last year at the age of 87 in Santa Monica, CA, where he didn’t have to worry about shoveling all that snow anymore. So here’s to you, old man Marley, for teaching Kevin McCallister and us all not to judge a book by its cover.

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