‘Forrest Gump’ actor Bob Penny died on Christmas

Actor Bob Penny, known for bit parts in modern classics like “Forrest Gump” and “My Cousin Vinny,” has died. He was 87.

The former professor died on Christmas Day in his home state of Alabama, according to an online obituary. A cause of death was not immediately released, but the obituary noted Penny had been residing in an assisted living center.

A Columbia University alum, Dr. Robert “Bob” Lynn Penny — who was also a poet — spent more than 20 years teaching Poetry and Prose at University of Alabama at Birmingham before retiring after 32 years as an educator.

His roles on screens big and small started in 1987 with “The Verne Miller Story.” The following year, he appeared in the Oscar-winning film “Mississippi Burning,” which was also nominated for six awards including best picture.

Several films Penny appeared in, including “Fried Green Tomatoes,” “My Cousin Vinny,” and “Forrest Gump,” scored Oscar nominations or wins, including a best picture award for the latter.

Penny also had roles in Robert Redford’s “The Legend of Bagger Vance,” as well as the Reese Witherspoon vehicle “Sweet Home Alabama.” His television roles include a seven-episode stint on the TV adaptation of “In the Heat of the Night” as well as a role on “Drop Dead Diva.”

He last acted onscreen in 2016, appearing as Harold in two episodes of “Still the King,” a CMT sitcom starring Billy Ray Cyrus.

Penny is survived by by his brother, sister, six nieces and a nephew.