Jump to content


"Character Actors"

  • Please log in to reply
4 replies to this topic

#1 Casey


    Advanced Member

  • Administrators
  • 1,059 posts

Posted 30 March 2016 - 06:10 PM

There is no real consensus on what a "character actor" is.


A quick scan of definitions on the internet will give you a range of differing opinions on what it means to be a character actor, but there are common elements to them all. 


*By standards within the acting community, they are successful in their trade, and respected by their peers. 


*True "stardom" has for the most part eluded them, but their talent has gotten them enough work to build a career. They're almost never number 1 on the call sheet, but often land important roles as supporting actors and in the case of television, recurring characters. They sometimes take roles in commercials to supplement their income. 


*To me, the most important trait of all, "You'd know them if you saw them." Character actors are seldom known by name, but by their faces and roles. 



I'll start this off by giving an example of my own. 



He's an Oscar nominee, an Emmy winner and recipient of many film critic awards. His father was a dye maker. His mother was an actor in local community theater and gave him the acting bug. He's been an uneasy ally of Al Swearengen, an ill-fated inmate at a mental institution and the voice of a psychopathic, serial-killing doll. 



Submitted for your approval...Brad Dourif. 



*NSFW* (language)



(Forgive the horrible music in this video.) 



#2 Slim


    Advanced Member

  • Hat Award Winner
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,638 posts

Posted 30 March 2016 - 06:47 PM

I think of a "character actor" as someone who isn't know for glamorous or leading roles; someone with the emphasis on being an actor rather than a star. But I think a well-known thespian can fall into that category, Michael Caine for example (albeit he certainly as done some leading role acting as well).

#3 Soddy


    Advanced Member

  • Administrators
  • 981 posts

Posted 30 March 2016 - 07:47 PM

My mother's cousin was the sister-in-law of Vincent Gardenia, who definitely qualified. He played everything from a villain on The Monkees to Cher's father in Moonstruck. 


I would think some are better off working as character actors as opposed to leads. More opportunity for work and less media scrutiny.


Please buy my books so I can send my girl to a decent school.



#4 fenderjazz


    Insert witty title here

  • Administrators
  • 6,082 posts
  • LocationNYC Area Suburbs

Posted 30 March 2016 - 07:49 PM

If there ever were a character actor who is famous for playing weasels, it would be William H. Macy




My favorite role is The Cooler, where he actually was the lead.

#5 DarthLen


    Advanced Member

  • Hat Award Winner
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,140 posts
  • Locationa galaxy, far, far away...

Posted 31 March 2016 - 02:30 AM

Character actors off the top of my head:


Gene Hackman tops the list; I can watch him in almost anything (never saw the one with Ray "I'm not funny" Romano), but apparently, that film was enough to make him retire from the 'life'.

Kevin Spacey (really appreciated his roles in American Beauty, Seven, Father of Invention, Usual Suspects, The Life of David Gale, K-Pax, Pay It Forward, Swimming with Sharks, The Ref & Glengarry GlenRoss)

Kevin Bacon, I mean, come on, the dude's been in just about everything from Friday the 13th to Footloose to Sleepers to Mystic River and he usually nails the character.


honorable mentions:

Michael Keaton, Kathy Bates, Sandra Oh & John Leguizamo

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users