Name on the tip of the tongue: Male Character Actors
You know their faces. They play your TV and movie cops, background lawyers, second banana’s third banana. They are the working actors and here are five of my favorites.
I first spied Mr. Young in the short lived Elliott Gould vehicle E/R (’84) as Officer Fred Burdock. He brought an assortment of drunks, homeless folks and runaways to the emergency room, where Gould’s ENT would “treat and street” them. Despite a busy schedule, Officer Fred always had time to flirt with Maria, a triage nurse. He showed up as yet another cop in Basic Instinct and has continued to work steadily ever since.
Best known for his memorable douchebag roles in Ghostbusters and the Die Hard Series, Atherton had pivotal roles in Looking for Mr. Goodbar and The Sugarland Express. Despite having a diverse body of roles, for better or worse he is often cast as the either the overly ambitious asshole or the uptight governmental agency wonk.
It feels weird to be including James “That’ll do pig.” Cromwell on the list because he’s pretty well recognizable now. But there was a long stretch of time where the 6’7 actor was relegated to a dizzying array of bureaucrats and bad guys. Most notably was his cheeky turn as Charles Keating (which is where I first noticed him) in The People vs. Larry Flynt
Of the actors listed, Charles Chun is the one I most wish would work MORE. Best known as Dr. Wen on Scrubs, though has had roles on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Mission Impossible III and General Hospital. I loved him as Dr. Wen. He was deliciously snarky in the episode where he and Turk discuss what song to play during a surgery.
Courtney B. Vance commits himself to his stinky roles like The Preacher’s Wife and meaty roles like A.D.A Carver on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. While I’m not particularly interested in watching FlashFoward I’m excited that Courtney is on television again. Just don’t call him Mr. Bassett.
…up next my favorite female character actors.