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Classic Character Actors


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Then you'd better tell TCM, since Lionel was a stah in SUTS, and SUTS doesn't condescend to character actors and if they do, then SUTS has set a precedent with Lionel (star or character actor, which is it, can't be both fish and fowl) and has to include Sam Levene and James Gleason next year.

 

 

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Sorry TB, but please down "kowtow" to willbe here!

 

Ya SEE, while she MAY have a point about Lionel being down there, DON'T forget that Laughton's name, just like Barrymore's, WAS often the first one listed in the cast of many movies back in the '30s and even later, and thus signifying them as "The Star" of those movies, whereas neither James Gleason's NOR Sam Levene's name was seldom if EVER listed first in any cast listings.

 

(...and one again, NOT that I'm in anyway suggesting that either Messrs Gleason OR Levene weren't exceptionally good actors...but CHARACTER actors, once again.

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Dargo; I agree with you with regards to Laughton and Barrymore. Yea, as they aged more and more of their roles were as character actors instead of a leading part but both of them made many movies where they were cast in a leading part (have star billing,, name before title, not listed in the general casting but instead before hand, or listed with a larger font in the general casting). That is not the case with Levene or Gleason.

 

Note that I feel SUTS should be used to promote the work of character actors. I would love for all 31 days to be used for that. Just call it SUTCA! (here I'm joking since I would be A-OK if the event was still called SUTS).

 

I define a 'star' as an actor that has receiving 'star billing' at least 2 or 3 times in a major production. But as you pointed out the term 'star' doesn't reflect on their ability as an actor. Elvis and Crosby are clearly movie stars based on how I define a star.

 

 

 

 

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I think it goes back to the 'household name' thing again. Some character actors became household names and did appear as the lead in B-films or occasional A-films, and they are still fairly well known today. Others are much more obscure, or less recognized, unfortunately (despite their obvious talents).

 

For the record, Gleason headlined a series of films with his wife and son at Republic. The first entry was called THE HIGGINS FAMILY and was produced in 1938. The seventh and final installment with Mr. Gleason, EARL OF PUDDLESTONE, was made in 1940. So he did star in some pictures.

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*Alison Skipworth*

 

To Carole Lombard in THE PRINCESS COMES ACROSS:

 

My dear, I am an old woman. I have traveled at home and abroad, and never, never have I known any good to come out of a concertina.

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*Slim Pickens*

 

In DR. STRANGELOVE:

 

Well, boys, I reckon this is it - nuclear combat toe to toe with the Roosskies. Now look, boys, I ain't much of a hand at makin' speeches, but I got a pretty fair idea that something doggone important is goin' on back there. And I got a fair idea the kinda personal emotions that some of you fellas may be thinkin'. Heck, I reckon you wouldn't even be human bein's if you didn't have some pretty strong personal feelin's about nuclear combat. I want you to remember one thing, the folks back home is a-countin' on you and by golly, we ain't about to let 'em down. I tell you something else, if this thing turns out to be half as important as I figure it just might be, I'd say that you're all in line for some important promotions and personal citations when this thing's over with. That goes for ever' last one of you regardless of your race, color or your creed. Now let's get this thing on the hump - we got some flyin' to do.

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1sept.jpg

 

1: JO VAN FLEET

2: FRANKLIN PANGBORN

3: EVE ARDEN

4: CHARLES LAUGHTON

5: KATINA PAXINOU

6: E.E. CLIVE

7: JESSICA TANDY

8: RAY COLLINS

9: KATHLEEN FREEMAN

10: RICHARD DEACON

11: BUTTERFLY MCQUEEN

12: JAY C. FLIPPEN

13: GALE SONDERGAARD

14: LIONEL STANDER

15: ANNE REVERE

16: J. CAROLL NAISH

17: HOPE EMERSON

18: BOB DENVER

19: RUTH GORDON

20: FRANK MORGAN

21: PATSY KELLY

22: HENRY DAVENPORT

23: MARJORIE GATESON

24: WALTER CONNOLLY

25: KATHY BATES

26: LEE J. COBB

27: POLLY MORAN

28: STERLING HOLLOWAY

29: PHYLLIS DILLER

30: JIM BACKUS

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*Katina Paxinou*

 

In FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS:

 

A man while he loves you....he thinks you are beautiful. And one day for no reason at all he sees you ugly as you really are. And he is not blind anymore. Then you see yourself as ugly as he sees you - and you lose your man and your feeling. Then one day the feeling, that idiotic feeling that you are beautiful, grows inside you again and another man sees you and thinks you are beautiful and it's all to do over again. Now I'm past it. But it still might come again.

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The great E.E. Clive! Always added something, in even the smallest of roles. I would like to see him as SOTM -- IMHO, that's the best thing TCM could do, take a great actor like E.E. Clive, who contributed so much, and show a series of his films. I don't care who the "stars" are!

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E.E. Clive easily blends into the background of many classic films, often in roles as butlers, policemen and mayors. When he gets the chance to play a more substantial supporting part, as he does in PERSONAL PROPERTY, you go 'what a good actor, how come I haven't seen him before!'

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Love thelittle programmers RKO used to do with nothing but character actors in it. Stuff like the 1937 THE LIFE OF THE PARTY, that has as its 'stars' : Joe Penner (that should be enough right there), Gene Raymond, Harry 'Parkyakarkus' Towne, Harriet Hilliard (pre-Ozzie), Victor Moore (of course), an at best 14 year old Ann Miller, Billy Gilbert - because they needed an orchestra leader, Franklin Pangborn, and best of alll - the one and only Margaret Dumont.

 

Several thoughts occur viewing that list

 

1. Yes, Joe Penner and Parkyakarkus do schtick together - a sight most memorable..

 

2. Was there a California law saying that Franklin Pangborn had to be in every comedy in the late 30's?

 

3. For those who did know, Parke/Towne was the father of both 'Super Dave Osborne', and Albert Brooks.

 

TCM hasn't shown this one for a while....

 

 

 

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