Jonathan “The Duke” Mardukas
Mob bookkeeper “The Duke” Mardukas (Charles Grodin) has an even more adventurous life than Al Capone’s fugitive number-cruncher in The Untouchables. Like that accountant, the Duke is on the lam, carrying with him the ledgers that would help the feds send his bosses up the river. He’s also embezzled $15 million from them. But the Duke proves to be a wily trickster, much to the consternation of everyone who pursues him, and especially to Jack Walsh (Robert De Niro), the bounty hunter who finds him first and tries to haul him from New York to Los Angeles to serve as a state witness.
The odd-couple chemistry between the earthy Jack and the uptight Duke is the humor engine that drives this road-trip classic. Grodin would play another fussy accountant a few years later in Dave, an ordinary bookkeeper who gets some satiric mileage out of trying to help Kevin Kline’s acting president balance the federal budget, but it’s the Duke who remains the actor’s most fully realized comic creation.