The actor Cliff Robertson, who died this weekend at age 88, was a very important member of my family. We were not at all related and we never actually met.
But Robertson won his only Oscar for the title role in a movie called "Charly," It was released in 1968, when I was 11 years old, and featured Robertson as a mentally-challenged man who swept floors in a small bakery.
My father owned a small bakery in The Bronx at that time. More importantly to all of us, my older brother was also a mentally-challenged young man who sometimes dropped by the shop to sweep the floors.
In the film, Robertson's Charly becomes the subject of an experiment -- one that works and turns him into a genius by the middle of the story. When I heard about the movie, I couldn't wait to see it: there weren't a lot of stories around then about brain-injured adults, and I hoped "Charly" would touch on the things my family went through every day.