Bob Penny Cause of Death: ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ Actor Dies at 87

Bob Penny, who taught at a college in Alabama and had small parts in movies like “Forrest Gump” and “Sweet Home Alabama,” has died at the age of 87.

A death notice from Laughlin Service Funeral Home in Huntsville says that Penny died on Christmas Day. The cause of death wasn’t given.

Penny was born in Anniston in 1935. For 30 years, he worked as an English professor, mostly at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he taught poetry and prose.

During the 1980s, Penny worked on the side by appearing in TV ads for a local department store and an Atlanta United Way campaign. After Penny left the university in 1990, she spent more time acting.

“Then the movies began to come,” Penny told AL.com in 2008. “I was really lucky. I had these very small roles, but they sure helped pay the mortgage.”

Penny was in more than 30 movies and television shows. In the 1994 movie “Forrest Gump,” he was called a “crony.” In the 2002 movie “Sweet Home Alabama,” he played a bumbling small-town lawyer.

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Penny also acted in the movies “Mississippi Burning,” “My Cousin Vinny,” and “The Legend of Bagger Vance,” as well as the TV series “In the Heat of the Night.”

When he wasn’t acting in movies, Penny was in theatre productions in Birmingham. He was in “The Odd Couple” and “Don Juan in Hell,” among other plays.

“Bob Penny captivated all of our hearts at Birmingham Festival Theatre and put his all into his work,” Rhonda Erbrick, chairwoman of the theater’s board, said in a statement. She added that Penny “is and was always an actor and a joy to be around.”

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