(Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Kumar Pallana, the Indian-born character actor best known for his quiet but unforgettable roles in Wes Anderson films, has passed away at the age of 94.
Despite being widely recognized as the safe-cracker in Bottle Rocket, the groundskeeper in Rushmore and the housekeeper in the Royal Tenenbaums, Kumar Pallana leaves behind a much more eclectic body of work than many people may realise.
Born in India in 1918, Kumar dropped out of high school and went on to travel the world with his juggling and balancing act. In 1946, he appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show as a juggler and in 1957, Pallana performed his plate-spinning routine on the Mickey Mouse Club.
Pallana eventually quit show business and moved to Dallas to open up a Yoga studio and coffee shop with his family called the Cosmic Cup. In an interview with The Believer, he explains what happened as his shop started getting more popular:
So, this place becomes more and more and more. And Wes Anderson starts coming because we have the chess night. On Tuesday or Wednesday we have the jazz music. All the musicians I know, I see practicing at home, I say, “Why don’t you come and practice with us? Let the people know that you are making a noise.” Then we had people like you, the storytellers. They bring their own group, four or five friends. They both came, Owen [Wilson] and Wes. They just finished college, the both of them. They heard that this is the place, every night something different. Wes used to come up and take a lot of pictures. Small camera, you know. And he became a really good friend.... They go to Los Angeles and finally they come and they say, “Yeah, we are shooting the movie. And here is your part.” And that’s where it started.
When Pallana was 93, Dark Rye Magazine made this short film about him:
Via The Dissolve