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Favorite Charactor Actors/Actresses of Today


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I just finished a wonderful 20 page article in Spring 2020's issue of FILMS OF THE GOLDEN AGE about great actresss Jackie Joseph. She laments at the end of the interview she was never really a big star, but she continually worked throughout her career in varied TV & movie roles.

LittleShopCast.jpg

Sure, she was in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, GREMLINS & CHEYENNE SOCIAL CLUB but you'll spot her in KING CREOLE too, with Elvis singing to her in a scene.  She was a standout in guest roles on Gomer Pyle, Andy Griffith, Dick Van Dyke and was a regular on Doris Day's TV show.  Even when you didn't see her, you recognized her voice, as in Josie & The Pussycats' Melody charactor.

0a29bab292ba3950f8dfac1b632761bd--joseph

Here's a hard working lady with tons of talent - she could act, do comedy, sing, dance, everything. Even though she thinks of herself as a "charactor" actor, to me, she's a STAR & still just as cute as ever:

Jackie-Joseph-Photo-1.jpg

Are there still great unsung charactor actors like the golden studio age of Hollywood? (oops sorry, charactEr)

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I haven't the time just now, but I'll mention one character actor I've often seen and liked,  but deserves more...

RICHARD JENKINS  

I'll give this more thought and hopefully come back with a few more.

Interesting topic.  ;) 

Sepiatone

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Good topic for a thread.

I notice later generations of character actors and actresses when I watch television shows made in the 1980s and 1990s. 

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Pat Corley was wonderful as Phil the gravelly voiced bartender on the long-running sitcom Murphy Brown and he often played crooks on crime shows.

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Dennis Franz was also great as Detective Norman Buntz in the final seasons of Hill Street Blues and its spinoff Beverly Hills Buntz. Not to mention his lead "character" role as Andy Sipowicz on NYPD Blue.

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Billie Bird was fantastic as Richard Crenna's mother on Susan Harris' sitcom It Takes Two. A short time later she was cast as housekeeper Mrs. Cassidy on Susan Harris' Benson. But her funniest role on TV came when she was hired to play daffy Mrs. Philbert on Dear John opposite Judd Hirsch and Jane Carr. Sometimes she only had five or six lines but she brought the house down with nearly every line.

The queen of zingers from this time period, though, is Estelle Getty. She played Sophia Petrillo on The Golden Girls, The Golden Palace and Empty Nest. These were Susan Harris productions too. A few episodes of The Golden Girls featured Nancy Walker as Sophia's sister Angela. Walker and Getty together in the same scene, it doesn't get any better than that!

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J.K. Simmons is a great actor (even on the insurance commercials).  You take a role, you might be the lead or just another player (like he was in La La Land).

Many of the characters on Cheers (Lillith - hope she comes to Frasier revival) and Frasier were great.  George Wendt as Norm and Cliff Clavin and his infamous appearance on Jeopardy.  On Cheers, Harry Anderson played a con artist.  When he became the star of Night Court, we had John Laroquette among others (also Selma Diamond).  And how could I forget Carla and her ex (Dan Hedaya has played so many roles in movies (First Wives Club) and TV (several episodes of Blue Bloods)

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RbUBJRA.jpg

I love very much Jewel Staite in her many roles.  I saw her first as: Kaylee on: Firefly (2002-2003). Her role in the space-opera was a space cadet who was a savant with all things mechanical. She had the perpetual soft-hearted, clueless innocence of a young girl whose third brownie had just kicked in. She never worried because it was all shiny. 

I saw her next as a matter-of-fact doctor on: Stargate: Atlantis (2004-2009). The character was so very different from her role as Kaylee that it was difficult for me to reconcile the two. 

Most of her work has been television series and television movies but she has been the high point in a few poorly-selected movies. 

 

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Morena Baccarin in one who appears also mostly on television series and television movies but she has respectable credits in decent theatrical releases. She has done also a good bit of voice work.

I love that she can go with such ease from being a playful kitten to a ferocious cat on the prowl.

 

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I first saw Summer Glau in: Firefly (2002-2003) also. Her role was slightly idiosyncratic as an abused, innocent, loving, childlike government-trained assassin locked in the wonderful world of autistic psychosis. She was a classically-trained ballerina who drifted into commercials and then a guest part on a television series and then into co-starring roles in several television series. I have never seen her in a role as a normal person.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

RICHARD JENKINS

Wow can't say I recognize him

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Nor Jewel Staite. I must be too old.

remember seeing BABE '95 for the first time & being delighted to see James Cromwell who played recurring charactor Stretch Cunningham on All In The Family:

jc2.JPG

...of course never realizing how young he was. Lots of great actors were in the Lear stable, similar to the Harris Productions earlier mentioned.

I loved Rue McLanahan & Vincent Gardenia as "the Swingers" on that show, shocking Archie.

allinthefamily-14.jpg

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A few more character actresses I have to mention from classic 80s/90s television:

Screen Shot 2021-02-27 at 1.47.32 PM

Alice Ghostley played rambunctious Bernice Clifton on Designing Women. Producers Linda Bloodworth & Harry Thomason also gave her a recurring role on Evening Shade

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Nell Carter starred as Nell Harper, a sassy housekeeper on Gimme a Break! And boy did she need a break after dealing with the Kiniski family!

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Vicki Lawrence played Thelma Harper (no relation to Nell)-- the ultimate small town matriarch on Mama's Family.

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And Doris Roberts was Mildred Krebbs, girl Friday for Remington Steele.

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1 hour ago, TikiSoo said:

 Re: "remember seeing BABE '95 for the first time & being delighted to see James Cromwell who played recurring charactor Stretch Cunningham on All In The Family:

jc2.JPG

...I loved Rue McLanahan & Vincent Gardenia as "the Swingers" on that show, shocking Archie."

allinthefamily-14.jpg

 It was strange experiencing a pair of television sillies, Vincent Gardenia and Stuart Margolin, in the far-more-serious setting of "DEATH WISH" (1974).

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13 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I just finished a wonderful 20 page article in Spring 2020's issue of FILMS OF THE GOLDEN AGE about great actresss Jackie Joseph. She laments at the end of the interview she was never really a big star, but she continually worked throughout her career in varied TV & movie roles.

LittleShopCast.jpg

Sure, she was in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, GREMLINS & CHEYENNE SOCIAL CLUB but you'll spot her in KING CREOLE too, with Elvis singing to her in a scene.  She was a standout in guest roles on Gomer Pyle, Andy Griffith, Dick Van Dyke and was a regular on Doris Day's TV show.  Even when you didn't see her, you recognized her voice, as in Josie & The Pussycats' Melody charactor.

0a29bab292ba3950f8dfac1b632761bd--joseph

Here's a hard working lady with tons of talent - she could act, do comedy, sing, dance, everything. Even though she thinks of herself as a "charactor" actor, to me, she's a STAR & still just as cute as ever:

Jackie-Joseph-Photo-1.jpg

Are there still great unsung charactor actors like the golden studio age of Hollywood? (oops sorry, charactEr)

Not Exactly Sure These Three Would Be Defined As Character Performers.. Artists.. .per se ...

 

But Rooney Mara.. ...Noomi Rapace.. .and Joaquin Phoenix.. ...are Pretty Much FANTASTIC - EXQUISITE.. .....In WhatEver.. .ItIs.. ...that They Perform In..

🌈🎭🎨🌈🌈🌈

_

A Handful of Other 🎨🎭; ..ill Give a Shout Out to, ,,that are .. EXCEPTIONAL.. In My Book... .

Michel(l)e Dockery (sp.)...

Naomi Watts

Robin Wright

Helen Hunt

Saoirse Ronan

William DeFoe

Mads Mickkelson (sp)

Vincent Cassel

 

👌👍👍👍👍👍

MIGHTY Fine.. imo

+100%.....

🎨🌈

...

.

..

_

Kinda as an aside..

..i DO.. ...Wish Shia Lebouf (sp.) Was /Is a BitMore .. ... Consistent ..

😬😐😑

He's (been) in Some +EXQUISITE Stuff.. ... ....... .and yet other.. ..projects of his are dumpster fires ..

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16 hours ago, TopBilled said:

 

Screen Shot 2021-02-27 at 1.47.32 PM

Alice Ghostley 

Screen Shot 2021-02-27 at 1.43.18 PM

Nell Carter

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Doris Roberts

YES! Although I have never seen the roles/shows mentioned, I know the actresses-which is the definition of "charactor" actor isn't it? I would often confuse Doris Roberts with Charlotte Rae because they were both similar "types", but Doris was brilliant as a passive aggressive complainer.

Many know Charlotte Rae from 80's TV show FACTS OF LIFE

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But she was incredibly funny in two decades earlier in CAR 54 WHERE ARE YOU? 

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Pictured here with Fred Gwynne & Al Lewis who went on to THE MUNSTERS together.

I absolutely remember Rae in this as a kid & wondered why she'd do commercials...and my mother would say, "It's a living"

 

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20 hours ago, TopBilled said:

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Omigod I never watched GOLDEN GIRLS and had no idea Nancy Walker guested on it! I bet she was a RIOT!! Two tiny ladies packing huge talent! Estelle Getty is another talented, determined lady who worked in Broadway Theater while raising her children.

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1 hour ago, TikiSoo said:

Omigod I never watched GOLDEN GIRLS and had no idea Nancy Walker guested on it! I bet she was a RIOT!! Two tiny ladies packing huge talent! Estelle Getty is another talented, determined lady who worked in Broadway Theater while raising her children.

Yes, that's a good way to describe these gals.

You may be the only person on the planet who hasn't seen an episode of The Golden Girls.  :) 

I think all 7 seasons are now on Hulu.

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2 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

You may be the only person on the planet who hasn't seen an episode of The Golden Girls. 

Well, I've seen some...just not much of a TV series viewer.

I've never seen a MURDER SHE WROTE, FRIENDS, THREES COMPANY, LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, Big Bang THEORY and many other well loved series. 

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10 minutes ago, TikiSoo said:

Well, I've seen some...just not much of a TV series viewer.

I've never seen a MURDER SHE WROTE, FRIENDS, THREES COMPANY, LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, Big Bang THEORY and many other well loved series. 

I haven't seen Big Bang Theory or any episodes of Lost. And I have only seen one episode of The X-Files. As I mentioned on a thread I started in early January, my new year's resolution was to sample a few of these. I did finally get around to watching two or three episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show-- another classic series that had eluded me.

Obviously, there isn't time to watch everything. These days I watch a lot of British television-- classic British series and new British series (recent TV movies and current episodes of my favorite British soaps). Because I am spending more time on British television product, I have less time for American product. 

***

Getting back on topic, a lot of the old-time character actors pop up on Murder She Wrote and The Love Boat.

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First, we gotta get straight on what time span is covered by "today"( in the threads title)  as I haven't seen many movies of late and don't also watch a lot of the TV fare produced in the last decade.   But responding to some posts----

 

19 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

 

remember seeing BABE '95 for the first time & being delighted to see James Cromwell who played recurring charactor Stretch Cunningham on All In The Family:

 

I've seen Cromwell doing various roles on many TV shows in the '70's.  From NIGHT COURT to BARNEY MILLER  and beyond.

One guy I liked often seeing him in commercials and then eventually getting bigger roles on TV and then in some movies is 

PAUL DOOLEY

19 hours ago, TopBilled said:

A few more character actresses I have to mention from classic 80s/90s television:

Screen Shot 2021-02-27 at 1.47.32 PM

Alice Ghostley played rambunctious Bernice Clifton on Designing Women. Producers Linda Bloodworth & Harry Thomason also gave her a recurring role on Evening Shade

 

And Doris Roberts was Mildred Krebbs, girl Friday for Remington Steele.

Ghostley was also known as the sly, inept maid for a short "spell"( no pun intent) on BEWITCHED, named Esmeralda.  I've also seen her pop up in small roles in several movies.

And ROBERTS was seen in a wide variety of TV shows and some movies for a long time.  Some here might have recognized her as the mayor's wife in the '74 flick THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3. 

PAUL BENEDICT, once too known as "The Painter" on SESAME STREET also had many character parts in several movies over the years until becoming a regular in the cast of THE JEFFERSONS  as their British neighbor  Harry Bentley. 

More to come whenever my sleepy memory wakes up.  ;) 

Sepiatone

 

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Thanks for mentioning Paul Benedict. He fits in with my sub-theme of character actors from classic 80s/90s television.

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I'd also add Tom Poston as the beloved handyman George Utley on Newhart.

Screen Shot 2021-02-28 at 9.27.10 AM 2

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Heh.  And I'm still wondering if TCM will show Poston's '62  supernatural "thriller" ZOTZ.

Poston has a rich history in many appearances on various TV shows and movies over his time,   before AND after NEWHART.  

And Benedict managed 33 movie appearances from '65 until '08(his death).  Along with his TV work.

Sepiatone

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20 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Nor Jewel Staite. I must be too old.

 

She is in: A Frosty Affair(2015) which is available on TubiTV and The Roku Channel. I have not watched this movie and it seems to be in the genre of a Hallmark movie. She is in also: Mothman (2010). I have not watched this movie and I do not know if you will be attracted to it because it is one of those admixtures of a watered-down blend of three genres. 

Do you have one of those free accounts on: PeacockTV? I know that it is not a genre which you like and I know that you resist movies which have realistic moments of violence and I know that there is no reason for you to accept my recommendation but I yet wish very much that you might watch: Serenity (2005). Jewel Staite is at her quirky best. It has also: Morena Baccarin and Summer Glau in roles which define what great character actors bring to a movie.

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There's also ...

JOSEF SOMMER,  who was the ill fated LARRY in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, and later in WITNESS and THE MIGHTY DUCKS and near 50+ other film appearances.

On the younger side, 

JEREMY PIVEN can be seen in several character roles on TV and in films.

Another favorite of mine is..

DAVID STRATHAIRN  who did have a major role as EDWARD R. MURROW in GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK  ('05)  but has too, a ton of good character roles under his belt.

Sepiatone

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Wow.  So many.  Some of these folks have left us (some not) but we have no shortage of amazing "modern" character actors:

Raul Julia

J.K. Simmons

Brian Dennehy

Ed Harris (I know he is also a leading man but he's really a character actor) 

Stanley Tucci (ditto)

Anna Deavere Smith

.J. T. Walsh

CCH Pounder

Willem Dafoe

Joe Pantoliano

Allison Janney

Hector Elizondo

David Straitharn

Diane Weist

Don Cheadle 

Linda Hunt

Holland Taylor

Luis Guzman

 . . . to name a few.

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I like David Straitharn  too. He was great in the Jason Borne movies and LA CONFIDENTIAL. My favorite female would probably be Allison Janney. She'll always be C.J. Craig to me, even though her roles in THE HELP and MOM were miles apart from President Barlett's  sharp witted press secretary and later Chief of Staff.

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And yet, not until now, NO mention of the late, great JERRY ORBACH?  

With a 49 year career of film appearances in character and some supporting roles, and a few uncredited (in "Guys and Dolls" and "Marty" for instance) and of course, his Broadway roles(ie; as Mickey Finn in "Chicago") before wrapping up his career as the beloved Det. LENNY BRISCOE in the long running LAW & ORDER series. 

Sepiatone

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On 3/6/2021 at 5:02 PM, lydecker said:

J.K. Simmons

CCH Pounder

 

These are two of my favorites also. I recently watched: Counterpart (2017-2019) with him playing parallel-world opposites. He was great as both the meek becoming strong and the jerk becoming human.

I have seen CCH Pounder in several things but she will for all time be: Mrs. Frederic to me. 

This brings to my mind also how wonderful: Saul Rubinek is in his many incarnations. 

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