Sunday, October 12, 2008

(link:) Character Actors Galore

Click over to List Of The Day for a recent post that I really enjoyed - -

"That Guy": Supporting Actors Of The Day

It listed lots of familiar male character actors from contemporary film, guys you see time and again in supporting roles.

Over to the right I've shown just six from that post.

(click on images if you're not remembering where you've seen them)

At a certain point, actors like these will often reach a level of fame where you know them on sight, might even remember their names.
But generally that comes after years of saying 'Oh, it's that guy...' to yourself when they appear on screen.

I've always loved the character actors - -

- - both the people you see nowadays and the prolific and ubiquitous contract players of Hollywood's golden age.

Speaking of which, you can see pages and pages of those classic, earlier faces over at the
Great Character Actors website.

(A similar site, 'What A Character!' seems to be down as of this writing. Hopefully it'll return...)

The 'List Of The Day' post is fun, check it out. I just wish it was longer and a bit more detailed.

- - But it did inspire me to dig up photos and info for a few more that weren't included (yet) on
that other list...

William Sadler
Seen in: The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, Rocket Man,
The Mist, etc.

Perhaps best remembered in: 'Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey' as
The Grim Reaper, though his cameo as the 'speed masturbator' in 'Kinsey' was pretty memorable...

Tommy 'Tiny' Lister
Seen in: The first two 'Friday' moves, Jackie Brown, lots of TV (including the WWF), and recently in 'The Dark Knight', and many more...

Shone in: 'The Fifth Element' as President Lindberg

Ed Lauter
Seen in: TONS of TV action / dramas, Breakheart Pass, Death Wish 3,
Born on the Fourth of July, Seabiscuit, Cujo, Not Another Teen Movie, Talladega Nights, Family Plot...

- Was in both the original version and the remake of 'The Longest Yard'.

William Forsythe
Seen in: Dick Tracy, The Rock, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo,
G-Men from Hell, and others.

Perhaps best remembered in: 'Raising Arizona' as escaped convict
Evelle Snoats.

William Atherton
Seen in: Sugarland Express, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, The Last Samurai , Bio-Dome, Real Genius, etc.

Perhaps best remembered in: It's a toss-up between the douchebag he played in 'Ghostbusters' or the douchebag he played in 'Die Hard'
(and 'Die Hard 2').

Earl Boen
Seen in: Dozens of TV shows from the '70s through the '90s, in one-off or recurring appearances, also voice work in cartoons and now videogames.

Perhaps best remembered in: The first three 'Terminator' movies, as police psychologist Dr. Peter Silberman.

Jon Polito
Seen in: TV's 'Homicide: Life on the Street', The Tailor of Panama,
The Freshman, C.H.U.D., Highlander, The Rocketeer, The Crow, etc.

Perhaps best remembered in: Five Coen Brothers films (so far);
Miller's Crossing, Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy, The Big Lebowski,
The Man Who Wasn't There

I feel like I could do this all day, but I'll admit that for no good reason, it seems that perhaps female character actors in contemporary films can sometimes remain overlooked for longer periods than their male counterparts.

(Perhaps a fresh eye in a second blog post?)

In my own case though, it was with Teri Garr back in the 1970's that I first felt like I was noticing the 'supporting player phenomena' - - that moment when a supporting actor approaches household name status, and then you suddenly begin to notice them everywhere, especially in a jillion things you'd previously seen, before you'd recognized them.

One lady I'll single out for this post is
Beth Grant
Seen in: No Country for Old Men, Little Miss Sunshine, Donnie Darko, Speed, City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold, Rain Man and plenty of TV shows.

A personal favorite: Beth Grant as Mark Wahlberg's good-natured rocker mom in 'Rockstar'.

NOW it's YOUR TURN. Please feel free to share your thoughts on some of your favorite character actors, past and present, male and female.

Post your own lists on your own blogs. Let's start a chain!

- See also: A Guide To Nebbishy Character Actors, posted at I, Splotchy.

See also some previously posted character actor bits and pieces...
- Obit posts for Allan Melvin, Charles Lane and Harvey Korman.

- Stan Freberg and the Mystery of Ronald Long

- Thoughts on Cesar Romero

- Rediscovering Larry Hankin

- Paul Ford in a print ad for Nabisco

- Scroll down towards the end of an old Reasons To Be Cheerful post for a salute to Charles Napier

- A magazine photo spread featuring Severn Darden and Joanna Pettet.

- And there's always Michael J. Pollard...


Rich said...

Nice feature!
Back in the day, Michael Weldon's Psychotronic Video magazine used to have at least one lengthy interview with one of those oft-seen character actors, especially ones that had careers both in 'b' movies and major films.
Their biographies are usually so much more fascinating than those of big stars and they are usually so much more humble.
I think a lot of the interviews may still be available online right here.

Preston said...

Beth Grant was also in 1985's To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar. They had a great seen where all the ladies in the town dressed up in 60's fashions.

anne said...

oh, I did love how the Dark KNight began with That Guy, William Fichtner, as the bank manager.

there used to a blog called fametracker that had a section on the That Guy. thanks for keeping That Guy's name alive.

RevRev said...

For what it's worth: Vaughn Meader told me on several occasions that Ed Lauter was the single funniest stand-up comedian he had ever seen. Funny in itself for a man like Lauter who has played so many nut-case villains. He was also in Family Plot, the final Hitchcock film (as a nut-case killer). Thanks for the wonderful blog! It is a highlight of my day. Real good, sweet vibes here.

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