By Aly Semigran
Updated July 14, 2011 at 05:02 PM EDT
Credit: Everett Collection

Some seriously sad news: Roberts Blossom — the character actor best known for playing the wrongly-accused South Bend Shovel Slayer, a.k.a. “Old Man Marley,” in Home Alone — has passed away at the age of 87. The L.A. Times reports that Blossom died of natural causes in a nursing home in Santa Monica.

While Blossom, a three-time Obie Award winner, had an illustrious career on stage and screen that spanned 40 years (he was featured in films like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Always, Christine, and the cult horror movie Deranged, and appeared in TV shows such as Moonlighting, Northern Exposure, and Chicago Hope) he’ll best be remembered by younger folk everywhere as the neighbor who saves Macaulay Culkin’s trouble-making Kevin McCallister from being murdered by the Wet Bandits. (Oh, if only he’d been there when Thomas Jay stumbled upon that beehive… )

Sure, Macaulay Culkin became the biggest star at the time in the 1990 classic, but it was “Old Man” Marley that taught him — and us — valuable lessons like not judging a book by its cover and believing everything you hear. (The rumor that the salt he spread up and down “the most boring street in the whole United States of America” turned to bodies into mummies was most certainly not true.)

I don’t know about you, PopWatchers, but Home Alone is a staple for me each holiday season, not to mention one of my all-time favorite movies, period. So I’m sure I’ll get choked up even more than usual this year during that final scene in which we find out Marley has patched things up with his estranged family. When Marley sends that final, sweet wave to Kevin, Home Alone fans will be saying goodbye to an old, reliable friend, too.

Post your favorite moment from the actor below, PopWatchers.