In Appreciation of Character Actors (M-R)

(NOTE: The Full List is the only list being continually updated.)

Part III, of the character actors.

Fred MacMurry

Where you know him from: 

The Apartment, as Mr. Sheldrake

Double Indemnity, as Walter Neff

My Three Sons, as Steve Douglas

Also look for him in: Alice Adams, as Arthur Russell, The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, as Jack Hale, The Egg and I, as Bob MacDonald, The Caine Mutiny, as Lt. Tom Keefer, The Shaggy Dog, as Wilson Daniels, The AbsentMinded Professor, as Prof. Ned Brainard.

William H. Macy

Here’s a guy I’m pretty sure everybody knows, but you can’t be too sure. So we’re gonna put him on, because, he’s awesome.

Where you know him from:

Fargo, as Jerry Lundergaard

Boogie Nights, as Little Bill

Mystery Men, as The Shoveler

Also look for him in: WarGames, as NORAD officer, The Last Dragon, as J.J., Radio Days, as Radio Actor, House of Games, as Sgt. Moran, Shadows and Fog, as Cop with Spiro, Benny & Joon, as Randy Birch, Searching for Bobby Fischer, as Tunafish Father, The Client, as Dr. Greenway, Murder in the First, as D.A. William McNeil, Mr. Holland’s Opus, as Vice Principal Wolters, Down Periscope, as Cmdr. Carl Knox, Ghosts of Mississippi, as Charlie Crisco, Air Force One, as MAjor Caldwell, Wag the Dog, as CIA Agent Charles Young, Pleasantville, as George Parker, Psycho, as Milton Arbogast, A Civil ACtion, as James Gordon, Happy, Texas, as Sheriff Chappy Dent, Magnolia, as Donnie Smith, Jurassic Park III, as Paul Kirby, Welcome to Collinwood, as Riley, The Cooler, as Bernie Lootz, Seabiscuit, as Tick Tock McGlaughlin, Spartan, as Stoddard, Cellular, as Sgt. Bob Mooney, Sahara, as Adm. Jim Sandecker, Thank You for Smoking, as Senator Ortolan Finistirre, Bobby, as Paul, Inland Empire, as Announcer, Wild Hogs, as Dudley Frank, ER, as Dr. David Morgenstern, Marmaduke, as Don Twombly, The Lincoln Lawyer, as Frank Levin, Shameless, as Frank Gallagher.


Where you know him from:

The Sand Pebbles, as Po-han

Conan the Barbarian & Conan the Destroyer, as The Wizard/Narrator

Also look for him in: Tucker: The Man and His Dream, as Jimmy, RoboCop 3 (Didn’t know there were three of them, did ya?), as Kanemitsu, Highlander: The Final Dimension (I thought there could be only one?), as Nakano, Pearl Harbor, as Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, Bulletproof Monk, as Mr. Kojima, Samurai Jack, as Aku, Memoirs of a Geisha, as Sakamoto, TMNT, as Splinter, Avatar: The Last Airbender, as Uncle Iroh.

Mark Margolis

Where you know him from:

Scarface, as Alberto The Shadow

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, as Mr. Shickadance

The Fountain, as Father Avila

Also look for him in: The Cotton Club, as Charlie Workman, Glory, as 10th Connecticut Soldier, 1492: Conquest of Paradise, as Francisco de Bobadilla, Absolute Power, as Red Brandsford, Pi, as Sol Robeson, The Thomas Crown Affair, as Heinrich Knutzhorn, Mickey Blue Eyes, as Gene Morgansen, Reqiuem for a Dream, as Mr. Rabinowitz, Dinner Rush, as Fitzgerald, Hannibal, as Perfume Expert, Daredevil, as Fallon, Manhunt, as The Tramp (anyone who played the game will remember this character. You have to bring him with you for one level), The Girl Next Door, as Homeless Man Hit By Car, Gone Baby Gone, as Leon Trett, The Wrestler, as Lenny, Black Swan, as Mr. Fithian.

Eddie Marsan

Where you know him from: 

Sherlock Holmes, as Inspector Lestrade

The Illusionist, as Josef Fischer

Hancock, as Red

Also look for him in: Gangs of New York, as Killoran, 21 Grams, as Reverend John, Vera Drake, as Reg, The New World, as Eddie, V for Vendetta, as Etheridge, Mission: Impossible III, as Brownway, Miami Vice, as Nicholas, Happy-Go-Lucky, as Scott, Me and Orson Welles, as John Houseman, London Boulevard, as DI Bailey

Strother Martin

Where you know him from: 

Cool Hand Luke, as Captain (He speaks one of the most famous lines in cinema. Something about communicating or what not.)

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, as Percy Garris (“That’s what happens when you spend ten years alone in Bolivia. You get colorful.”)

Slap Shot, as Joe McGrath

Also look for him in: The Asphalt Jungle, as William Doldy, Kiss Me Deadly, as Harvey Wallace, Attack, as Sgt. Ingersol, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, as Floyd, Shenandoah, as Train Engineer, The Sons of Katie Elder, as Jeb Ross, The Wild Bunch, as Coffer, Rooster Cogburn, as McCoy, The Champ, as Riley, The Villain, as Parody Jones.

Margo Martindale

 Where you know her from:

Million Dollar Baby, as Earline Fitzgerald (this is where I first took notice of her. I was like, “Holy shit, this woman is amazing.” Because she really nailed that character)

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, as Ma Cox

And, most recently…

Justified, as Mags Bennett

Now check out all the major films she’s had parts in that you probably didn’t notice:

Also look for her in: Days of Thunder, as Donna, The Rocketeer, as Millie, Lorenzo’s Oil, as Wendy Gimble, The Firm, as Nina Huff, Nobody’s Fool, as Birdy, Dead Man Walking, as Sister Colleen, Marvin’s Room, as Dr. Charlotte, Ghosts of Mississippi, as Clara Mayfield, Critical Care, as Connie Porter, 28 Days, as Betty, The Hours, as Mrs. Latch, Rocket Science, as Coach Lumbly, The Savages, as Roz, The Riches, as Nina Burns, Orphan, as Dr. Browning, Secretariat, as Miss Ham.

Chi McBride

Where you know him from:

Gone in 60 Seconds, as Donny Astricky

I, Robot, as Lt. John Bergin

House, M.D., as Edward Vogler

Also look for him in: The Distinguished Gentleman, as Homer, What’s Love Got to Do with It, as Fross, Mercury Rising, as Tommy B. Jordan, The Kid, as Kenny, Narc, as Captain Cheevers, Undercover Brother, as The Chief, Cradle 2 the Grave, as Jump Chambers, Boston Public, as Steven Harper, The Terminal, as Mulroy, Waiting…, as Bishop, Annapolis, as McNally, The Brothers Solomon, as James, Pushing Daisies, as Emerson Cod.

Mercedes McCambridge

Where you know her from:

All the King’s Men, as Sadie Burke

Johnny Guitar, as Emma Small

Giant, as Luz Benedict

The Exorcist, as the voice of the Demon

Also look for her in: A Farewell to Arms (1957), as Miss Van Campen, Touch of Evil, as Gang Leader, Suddenly, Last Summer, as Grace Holly, Cimarron (1961), as Sarah Wyatt.

Edie McClurg

Where you know her from:

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, as Grace

Back to School, as Marge Sweetwater

Natural Born Killers, as Mallory’s Mom (the fact that this is the third film on this list proves she deserves to be here)

Also look for her in: Carrie, as Helen Shyres, The Secret of NIMH, as Miss Right, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, as Car Rental Agent, She’s Having a Baby, as Lynn, The Little Mermaid, as Carlotta the maid, A River Runs Through It, as Mrs. Burns, Airborne, as Aunt Irene, Flubber, as Martha George, A Bug’s Life, as Dr. Flora, Cars & Cars 2, as Minny.

Hattie McDaniel

Where you know her from:

Gone With the Wind, as Mammy

Since You Went Away, as Fidelia

Song of the South, as Aunt Tempy

Also look for her in: Alice Adams, as Malena Burns, Maid Serving Dinner, Show Boat, as Queenie, Valiant is the Word for Carrie, as Ellen Belle, Libeled Lady, as Maid in Grand Plaza Hall, Stella Dallas, as Edna, Maid #2, The Great Lie, as Violet, They Died With Their Boots On, as Callie.

This is mostly because she’s very memorable, and to point out just how racist Hollywood was in the 30s and 40s. It was really, really bad. It’s a testament to her that she was so memorable despite the role she had to take.

Christopher McDonald

Where you know him from:

Happy Gilmore, as Shooter McGavin

Requiem for a Dream, as Tappy Tibbons

Thelma & Louise, as Darryl

Also look for him in: Grease 2, as Goose McKenzie, Breakin’, as James, Grumpy Old Men, as Mike, Quiz Show, as Jack Barry, House Arrest, as Donald Krupp, Dirty Work, as Travis Cole, The Faculty, as Mr. Connor, The Iron Giant, as Kent Mansley, The Perfect Storm, as Todd Gross, The Man Who Wasn’t There, as Macadam Salesman, Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams, as President of the USA, Broken Flowers, as Ron, Fanboys, as Big Chuck, Mad Money, as Bryce Arbogast, Superhero Movie, as Lou Landers.

Neal McDonough

Where you know him from:

Band of Brothers, as Buck Compton

Angels in the Outfield, as Whitt Bass (the pitcher that isn’t Tony Danza) (or is that just me?)

And, I guess, most recently…

Captain America: The First Avenger, as Dum Dum Dugan

Also look for him in: Star Trek: First Contact, as Lt. Hawk, Minority Report, as Fletcher, Walking Tall, as Jay Hamilton, The Guardian, as Jack Skinner, Flags of our Fathers, as Captain Severance, The Hitcher, as Lt. Esteridge, 88 Minutes, as Jon Forster, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, as Bison, Desperate Housewives, as Dave Williams.

Frances McDormand

Where you know her from:

Fargo, as Marge Gunderson

Almost Famous, as Elaine Miller

Also look for her in: Blood Simple, as Abby, Raising Arizona, as Dot, Mississippi Burning, as Mrs. Pell, Chattahoochee, as Mae Foley, Short Cuts, as Betty Weathers, Primal Fear, as Moll, Lone Star, as Bunny, Wonder Boys, as Dean Sara Gaskell, The Man Who Wasn’t There, as Doris Crane, Laurel Canyon, as JAne, City by the Sea, as Michelle, Something’s Gotta Give, as Zoe, North Country, as Glory, Æon Fluxb, as Handler, Friends with Money, as Jane, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, as Miss Pettigrew, Burn After Reading, as Linda Litzke, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, as Mearing.

Roddy McDowall

Where you know him from:

Planet of the Apes & Escape from the Planet of the Apes as Cornelius

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes & Beneath of the Planet of the Apes, as Cesar

How Green Was My Valley, as Huw Morgan

Fright Night (1985), as Peter Vincent

Also look for him in: The Pied Piper, as Ronnie Cavanaugh, Lassie Come Home, as Joe Carraclough, The Keys of the Kingdom, as Francis Chisholm, Macbeth, as Malcolm, The Longest Day, as Pvt. Morris, Cleopatra, as Octavian, Shock Treatment, as Martin Ashley, The Greatest Story Ever Told, as Matthew, Inside Daisy Clover, as Walter Baines, , Bedknobs and Broomsticks, as Mr. Jelk, The Poseidon Adventure, as Acres, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, as Frank Gass, Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, as George Stanton, Funny Lady, as Bobby Moore, A Bug’s Life, as Mr. Soil.

Darren McGavin

Where you know him from:

A Christmas Story, as The Old Man

Also look for him in: The Man with the Golden Arm, as Louie, Airport ’77, as Stan Buchek, The Natural, as Gus Sands, Raw Deal, as Harry Shannon, Billy Madison, as Brian Madison.

Bruce McGill

Where you know him from:

Animal House, as D-Day (Daniel Simpson Day)

My Cousin Vinny, as Sheriff Farley

Collateral, as Pedrosa

Also look for him in: Silkwood, as Mace Hurley, Cliffhanger, as Treasury Agent, A Perfect World, as Paul Saunders, Black Sheep, as Neuschwander, as Courage Under Fire, as McQuillan, The Insider, as Ron Motley, The Legend of Bagger Vance, as Walter Hagen, Exit Wounds, as Frank Daniels, Shallow Hal, as Reverend Larson, Ali, as Bradley, The Sun of All Fears, as National Security Advisor Revell, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde, as Stanford Marks, Matchstick Men, as Chuck Frechette, Runaway Jury, as Judge Harkin, Cinderella Man, as Jimmy Johnston, Elizabethtown, as Bill Banyon, The Lookout, as Robert Pratt, Vantage Point, as Phil McCullough, W., as George Tenet, Fair Game, as Jim Pavitt.

John C. McGinley

Where you know him from:

Office Space, as Bob Slydell

The Rock, as Marine Captain Henrdix

Platoon, as Sgt. O’Neill

Scrubs, as Dr. Perry Cox

Also look for him in: Wall Street, as Marvin, Talk Radio, as Stu, Born on the Fourth of July, as Official #1, Highlander II, as David Blake, Point Break, as Ben Harp, Se7en, as California, Nixon, as Earl in Training Film, Set It Off, as Detective Strode, Any Given Sunday, as Jack Rose, Get Carter, as Con McCarty, The Animal, as Sgt. Sisk, Stealing Harvard, as Detective Charles, Identity, as George York, Wild Hogs, as Highway Patrolman, Are We Done Yet?, as Chuck Mitchell Jr.

Butterfly McQueen

Where you know her from:

Gone With the Wind, as Prissy (She don’t know nothin’ bout birthin’ babies.)

Also look for her in: Mildred Pierce, as Lottie, Duel in the Sun, as Vashti, The Mosquito Coast, as Ma Kennywick.

Her voice is what puts her on this list. You remember her when you see her.

Ian McShane

Where you know him from:

Deadwood, as Al Swearengen

Pirates of the Caibbean: On Stranger Tides, as Blackbeard

Sexy Beast, as Teddy Bass

Also look for him in: Agent Cody Banks, as Brinkman, Scoop, as Joe Strombel, We Are Marshall, as Paul Griffen, Shrek the Third, as Captain Hook, Hot Rod, as Frank Powell, The Golden Compass, as Ragnar Sturlusson, Kung Fu Panda, as Tai Lung, Death Race, as Coach, Coraline, as Mr. Sergei Alexander Bobinsky, 44 Inch Chest, as Meredith.

Donald Meek

Where you know him from:

Stagecoach, as Samuel Peacock

You Can’t Take It With You, as Poppins

Also look for him in: The Informer, as Peter Mulligan, Captain Blood, as Dr. Whacker (oh I’m stealing that name for a script), Double Wedding, as Judge Blynn, Jesse James & The Return of Frank James, as McCoy, Young Mr. Lincoln, as Prosecutor John Felder, Tortilla Flat, as Paul D. Cummings, The Thin Man Goes Home, as Willie Crump.

Adolph Menjou

Where you know him from:

Paths of Glory, as Gen. Broulard

A Star is Born, as Oliver Niles

The Front Page, as Walter Burns

A Farewell to Arms(1932), Maj. Rinaldi

Also look for him in: Morning Glory, as Louis Easton, Little Miss Marker, as Sorrowful Jones, Gold Diggers of 1935, as Nicoleff, One Hundred Men and a Girl, as John Cardwell, Stage Door, as Anthony Powell, Roxie Hart, as Billy Flynn, Pollyanna, as Mr. Pendergast.

Burgess Meredith

Where you know him from:

Rocky, Rocky II & Rocky III, as Mickey

Batman (1966), as The Penguin

Grumpy Old Men & Grumpier Old Men, as Grandpa Gustafson

Also look for him in: Of Mice and Men (1939) as George, Story of G.I. Joe, as Ernie Pyle, Advise and Consent, as Herbert Gelman, The Cardinal, as Father Ned Halley, In Harm’s Way, as Cmdr. Egan Powell, Mackenna’s Gold, as The Storekeeper, The Reivers, as Lucius/Narrator, There Was a Crooked Man, as The Missouri Kid, The Day of the Locust, as Harry Greener, Foul Play, as Mr. Hennessey, Magic, as Ben Greene, Clash of the Titans, as Ammon.

Joel McKinnon Miller

Where you know him from:

Curb Your Enthusiasm, as Dr. Wiggins (Shaq’s doctor, who cheats at Scattegories)

Big Love, as Don Embry

Also look for him in: The Family Man, as tommy, Rush Hour 2, as Tex, Men in Black II, as Agent, Friday After Next, as Officer Hole, After the Sunset, as Wendell, Super 8, as Mr. Kaznyk.

Thomas Mitchell

Where you know him from:

Stagecoach, as Doc Boone

Gone With the Wind, as Gerald O’Hara

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, as Diz Moore

It’s a Wonderful Life, as Uncle Bill Bailey

Also look for him in: Theodora Goes Wild, as Jed Waterbury, Lost Horizon, as Barnard, Make Way for Tomorrow, as George Cooper, The Hurricane, as Dr. Kersaint, Only Angels Have Wings, as Kid Dabb, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1940) as Clopin, Our Town, as Dr. Gibbs, The Long Voyage Home, as Driscoll, The Outlaw, as Pat Garrett, The Keys of the Kingdom, as Willie Tulloch, High Noon, as Mayor Jonas Henderson, Pocketful of Miracles, as Judge Henry G. Blake.

Jay Mohr

Where you know him from:

Jerry Maguire, as Bob Sugar

Suicide Kings, as Brett Cambell

Also look for him in: Picture Perfect, as Nick, Small Soldiers, as Larry Benson, Jane Austen’s Mafia!, as Tony Cortino, Go, as Zack, Pay it Forward, as Chris Chandler, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, as Tony Francis, S1m0ne, as Hal Sinclair, Are We There Yet?, as Marty, Even Money, as Augie, The Groomsmen, as Cousin Mike, Street Kings, as Mike Clady, Ghost Whisperer, as Professor Rick Payne, Hereafter, as Billy.

Alfred Molina

Where you know him from:

Boogie Nights, as Rahad Jackson

Spider-Man, as Dr. Otto Octavius/Doc Ock

The Da Vinci Code, as Bishop Aringarosa

Also look for him in: Raiders of the Lost Ark, as Satipo, Enchanted April, as Mellersh Wilkins, Dead Man, as Trading Post Missionary, Species, as Dr. Stephen Arden, Dudley Do-Right, as Snidely Whiplash, Magnolia, as Solomon Solomon, Chocolat, as Comt de Reynaud, Frida, as Diego Rivera, Identity, as Dr. Malick, The Hoax, as Dick Suskind, An Education, as Jack Mellor, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, as Sheik Amar, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, as Maxim Horvath, The Tempest, as Stephano.

Agnes Moorehead

She’s legit one of my favorite actors or actresses of all time. Not character actor, just actor in general.

Where you know her from:

Most people would know her as Endora on “Bewitched.” But she’s done so much more than that on film. She’s one of those actresses who could play just about any race or ethnicity and pull it off convincingly.

Citizen Kane, as Mary Kane, Charles’s mother. (Remember her sitting there at the table, stone-faced, as she gives her son away to Mr. Thatcher?)

The Magnificent Ambersons, as Aunt Fanny.

Dragon Seed, as Third Cousin’s Wife. (Convincingly playing Asian. Better than Katharine Hepburn did, anyway.)

The Seventh Cross, as Madame Marelli. (Italian owner of a dress shop. The same year as Dragon Seed.)

Mrs. Parkington, as Baroness Aspasia Conti. (French baroness. Same year as those other two. Awesome, right?)

Dark Passage, as Madge. (This is the film that’s shot almost entirely from Bogart’s POV. Also, spoiler alert, she plays the woman who did it.)

Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte, as Velma. (She’s Bette Davis’s caretaker.)

Also look for her in: Johnny Belinda, as Aunt Aggie. All That Heaven Allows and Magnificent Obsession, as one of the society friends of Jane Wyman. Jane Eyre (1943, the Orson Welles version), as Mrs. Reed, Jane’s caretaker.

Just watching her in these performances, you see just how versatile an actress she was, and how (rightfully so) she didn’t like being marginalized by Bewitched. She also, and this is some nice trivia, was one of the few actresses who had it in her contract that she had total rights to do whatever form of radio play that she wished (she was so good at them and respected for doing them, studios allowed her to do whatever she wanted), which was practically unheard of at the time.

Frank Morgan

Where you know him from:

The Wizard of Oz, as The Wizard of Oz/Professor Marvel/The Gatekeeper/The Carriage Driver/The Guard

You don’t know him from anywhere else. You know him from there and then saw him in all these other things:

Also look for him in: The Affairs of Cellini, as Alessandro, Duke of Florence (he’s awesome in this), Naughty Marietta, as Gov. Gaspar d’Annard, The Great Ziegfeld, as Billings, The Shop Around the Corner, as Hugo Matuschek, Broadway Melody of 1940, as Bob Casey, Tortilla Flat, as The Pirate, The Human Comedy, as Willy Grogan.

David Morse

Where you know him from:

The Rock, as Major John Baxter

The Green Mile, as Brutus Howell

House, M.D., as Michael Tritter

Disturbia, as Mr. Turner

John Adams, as George Washington

Also look for him in: Inside Moves, as Jerry Maxwell, The Indian Runner, as Joe Roberts, The Crossing Guard, as John Booth, Twelve Monkeys, as Dr. Peters, The Long Kiss Goodnight, as Luke/Daedalus, Contact, as Ted Arroway, The Negotiator, as Adam Beck, Dancer in the Dark, as Bill Houston, Bait, as Edgar Clenteen, Proof of Life, as Peter Bowman, Hearts in Atlantis, as Adult Bobby Garfield, Hack, as Mike Olshansky, 16 Blocks, as Det. Frank Nugent, The Hurt Locker, as Colonel Reed, Passengers, as Arkin, Drive Angry, as Webster.

Emily Mortimer

Where you know her from:

Match Point, as Chloe Hewitt Wilson

Shutter Island, as Rachel 1

Formula 51, as Dakota Parker

Also look for her in: Elizabeth, as Kat Ashley, Scream 3, as Angelina Tyler, Bright Young Things, as Nina Blount, Dear Frankie, as Lizzy, The Pink Panther (2006), as Nicole Durant, Lars and the Real Girl, as Karin, Chaos Theory, as Susan, Transsiberian, as Jessie, Harry Brown, as D.I. Alice Frampton, Our Idiot Brother, as Liz, Cars 2, as Holly Shiftwell, Hugo, as Lisette.

Samantha Morton

Where you know her from:

In America, as Sarah

Minority Report, as Agatha

Sweet and Lowdown, as Hattie

Also look for her in: The Libertine, as Elizabeth Barry, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, as Mary Stuart, Synecdoche, New York, as Hazel, The Messenger, as Olivia Pitterson, Cosmopolis, as Vija Kinsky, John Carter (formerly of Mars), as Sola.

Alan Mowbray

Where you know him from:

My Darling Clementine, as Granville Thorndyke

My Man Godfrey, as Tommy Gray (Godfrey’s old friend)

Also look for him in: The House of Rothschild, as Prince Metternich, Becky Sharp, as Rawdon Crawley, Merrily We Live, as Grosvenor, the butler, That Hamilton Woman, as Sir William Hamilton, The Man Who Knew Too Much, as Val Parnell, The King and I, as Sir John Hay, Around the World in 80 Days, as Consul.

Armin Mueller-Stahl

Where you know him from:

Eastern Promises, as Semyon

Shine, as Peter

Angels & Demons, as Cardinal Strauss

Also look for him in: Music Box, as Mike Laszlo, Avalon, as Sam Krichinsky, Kafka, as Grubach, The Game, as Anson Baer, The X Files, as Conrad Strughold, The Thirteenth Floor, as Hannon Fuller/Grierson, Mission to Mars, as Ramier Beck, The International, as Wilhelm Wexler.

Charles Napier

Where you know him from:

The Silence of the Lambs, as Lt. Bill Boyle

The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, as Dick Lewiston

Philadelphia, as Judge Garnett

Also look for him in: Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, as Baxter Wolfe, The Blues Brothers, as Tucker McElroy, Melvin and Howard, as Ventura, Swing Shift, as Moon Willis, Rambo: First Blood Part II, as Murdock, Married to the Mob, as Angela’s Hairdresser, Ernest Goes to Jail, as Warden, The Grifters, as Gloucester Hebbing, National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1, as Interrogator, The Cable Guy, as Aresting Officer, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, as Commander Gilmour, The Manhurian Candidate (2004) , as General Sloan, and Archer, as Dr. Spelts.

Taylor Negron

Where you know him from:

Easy Money, as Julio

Angels in the Outfield, as David Montagne

Bio-Dome, as Russell

Also look for him in: Fast Times at Ridgemont High, as Pizza Guy, Better of Dead.., as Mailman, River’s Edge, as Checker, Punchline, as Albert Emperato, The Last Boy Scout, as Milo, Spy Hard, as Painter, Stuart Little, as Salesman in Mall, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, as Gazaam & Gazing, Three Days to Vegas, as Antoine, Curb Your Enthusiasm, “The Lefty Call,” as Daviday Waiter.

Sam Neill

Where you know him from:

Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park & Jurassic Park III, as Dr. Alan Grant

The Hunt for Red October, as Captain Vasili Borodin (He’d have liked to have seen Montana.)

Also look for him in: A Cry in the Dark, as Michael Chamberlain, The Piano, as Alisdair Stewart, Event Horizon, as Dr. William Weir, The Horse Whisperer, as Robert MacLean, Bicentennial Man, as ‘Sir’ Richard Martin, The Tudors, as Cardinal Wolsey.

Craig T. Nelson

Where you know him from:

Coach, as Coach Hayden Fox

The Incredibles, as Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible

Poltergeist, as Steve Freeling

Also look for him in: …And Justice for All, as Frank Bowers, Where the Buffalo Roam, as Cop on Stand, Private Benjamin, as Capt. William Woodbridge, All the Right Moves, as Nickerson, Silkwood, as Winston, The Killing Fields, as Major Reeves, Action Jackson, as Peter Dellaplane, Turner & Hooch, as Chief Howard Hyde, Ghosts of Mississippi, as Ed Peters, The Devil’s Advocate, as Alexander Cullen, The Skulls, as Litten Mandrake, The Family Stone, as Kelly Stone, Blades of Glory, as Coach, The Proposal, as Joe Paxton, The Company Men, as James Sallinger, Parenthood, as Zeek Braverman.

Bill Nighy

Where you know him from:

Love Actually, as Billy Mack

Pirates of the Caribbean, as Davy Jones

Shaun of the Dead, as Philip

Also look for him in: Still Crazy, as Ray Simms, Underworld (and all its sequels), as Viktor, Pokémon, as Shiftry (I shit you not. He did this), The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, as Slartibartfast, The Constant Gardner, as Sir Bernard Pellegrin, Notes on a Scandal, as Richard Hart, Hot Fuzz, as Met Chief Inspector, Valkyrie, as General Olbricht, G-Force, as Saber, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, as Rufus Scrimgeour, Rango, as Rattlesnake Jake. He’s also gonna be playing Kuato in the Total Recallremake. How awesome is that?

Alessandro Nivola

Where you know him from:

Face/Off, as Pollux Troy

Junebug, as George

Also look for him in: Inventing the Abbotts, as Peter Vanlaningham, Jurassic Park III, as Billy Brennan, Laurel Canyon, as Ian McKnight, Grace is Gone, as John Phillips, The Eye, as Dr. Paul Faulkner, $5 a Day, as Ritchie Flynn Parker, Coco Before Chanel, as Arthur “Boy” Capel, Howl, as Luther Nichols.

Tom Noonan

Where you know him from:

Manhunter, as Francis Dollarhyde (aka the role Ralph Fiennes played in Red Dragon)

Heat, as Kelso

Knockaround Guys, as Sheriff Decker (This is where I first noticed him.)

Synecdoche, New York, as Sammmy Barnathan

Also look for him in: Heaven’s Gate, as Jake, Easy Money, as Paddy, The Monster Squad, as Frankenstein, RoboCop 2, as Cain, Last Action Hero, as Ripper/Himself, The Astronaut’s Wife, as Jackson McLaren, The Pledge, as Gary Jackson, Seraphim Falls, as Minister Abraham, Damages, as Detective Victor Huntley.

Bill Nunn

Where you know him from:

Do the Right Thing, as Radio Raheem

Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3, as Joseph “Robbie” Robertson

Runaway Jury, as Lonnie Shaver

Also look for him in: School Daze, as Grady, New Jack City, as Duh Duh Duh Man, Regarding Henry, as Physical Therapist, Sister Act, as Lt. Eddie Souther, National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1, as Police Photographer, The Last Seduction, as Harlan, Canadian Bacon, as Kabral, Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, as Easy Wind, Bulletproof, as Finch, Mad City, as Cliff Williams, Idlewild, as GW.

Edmond O’Brien

This is one of my favorite character actors of all time. Oh man, he’s had some great roles.

Where you know him from:

The Girl Can’t Help It, as Fats Murdock (“One rock! Two rock!…”)

The Killers (1946), as Jim Reardon

D.O.A., as Frank Bigelow

The Wild Bunch, as Freddie Sykes

Also look for him in: A Double Life, as Bill Friend, White Heat, as Hank Fallon/Vic Pardo, The Greatest Show on Earth, as Midway Barker at End, Julius Caesar, as Casca, The Barefoot Contessa, as Oscar Muldoon, Pete Kelly’s Blues, as Fran McCarg, 1984 (1956), as Winston Smith, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, as Dutton Peabody, Birdman of Alcatraz, as Tom E. Gaddis, The Longest Yard, as Gen. Raymond D. Barton, Seven Days in May, as Sen. Raymond Clark, Fantastic Voyage, as General Carter.

Catherine O’Hara

Where you know her from:

Home Alone & Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, as Kate McCallister

Beetle Juice, as Delia Deetz

Waiting for Guffman, as Shelia Albertson

Best in Show, as Cookie Fleck

A Mighty Wind, as Mickey Crabbe

For Your Consideration, as Marilyn Hack

Also look for her in: Heartburn, as Betty, Dick Tracy, as Texie Garcia, The Nightmare Before Christmas, as Sally/Shock, The Paper, as Susan, Wyatt Earp, as Allie Earp, Orange County, as Cindy Beugler, Surviving Christmas, as Christine Valco, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, as Justice Strauss, Game 6, as Lillian Rogan, Penelope, as Jessica Wilhern, Away We Go, as Gloria Farlander, Curb Your Enthusiasm, “Funkhauser’s Crazy Sister,” as Bam Bam, Where the Wild Things Are, as Judith, Killers, as Mrs. Kornfeldt.

Kevin J. O’Connor

Where you know him from:

The Mummy, as Beni

There Will Be Blood, as Henry

Peggy Sue Got Married, as Michael Fitzsimmons

Also look for him in: Steel Magnolias, as Sammy Desoto, Hero, as Chucky, Canadian Bacon, as Roy Boy, Virtuosity, as Clyde Reilly, Chill Factor, as Telstar, Van Helsing, as Igor, Seraphim Falls, as Henry, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, as Dr. Mindbender.

Michael O’Keefe

Where you know him from:

Caddyshack, as Danny Noonan (“Nnnooonan!”)

The Great Santini, as Ben Meechum

Also look for him in: Ironweed, as Billy Phelan, Ghosts of Mississippi, as Merrida Coxwell, The Pledge, as Duane Larson, The Glass House ,as Dave Baker, The Hot Chick ,as Richie, Michael Clayron, sa Barry Grissom, Frozen River, as Trooper Finnerty.

Mike O’Malley

Where you know him from:

Nickelodeon Guts, as the house (“D-D-Do you have it?”)

Glee, as Burt Hummel

Yes, Dear, as Jimmy Hughes

Also look for him in: Deep Impact, as Mike Perry, Pushing Tin, as Pete, 28 Days, as Oliver, Leatherheads, as Mickey, My Name is Earl, as Stuart, Eat Pray Love, as Andy Shiraz, Cedar Rapids, as Mike Pyle.

Ed O’Neill

Where you know him from:

Married with Children, as Al Bundy

Modern Family, as Jay Pritchett

Little Giants, as Kevin O’Shea (I love this movie so much)

Also look for him in: K-9, as Brannigan, The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, as Lt. Amos, Dutch, as Dutch Dooley, Wayne’s World & Wayne’s World 2, as Glen, Mikita’s Manager, Blue Chips, as Ed, Prefontaine, as Bill Dellinger, The Bone Collector, as Detective Paulie Sellitto,Lucky Numbers, as Dick Simmons, Spartan, as Burch.

Gary Oldman

I feel like by now, especially with the first two films I’m about to put on this list, most people know Gary Oldman. But, maybe the people who mostly know him from the first two things don’t know all the amazing stuff he did in the twenty years prior to those appearances, and, if you do, you probably understand why he needs to go on this list. This man is character acting.

Where you know him from:

Harry Potter, as Sirius Black

Batman Begins, The Dark Knight & The Dark Knight Rises, as Jim Gordon

The Fifth Element, as Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg

Leon: The Professional, as Stansfield

JFK, as Lee Harvey Oswald

Also look for him in: Sid and Nancy, as Sid Vicious, Chattahoochee, as Emmett Foley, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, as Rosencrantz, State of Grace, as Jackie Flannery, Henry & June, as Pop, Dracula, as Dracula, True Romance, as Drexl Spivey, Immortal Beloved, as Ludwig van Beethoven, Murder in the First, as Milton Glenn, The Scarlet Letter, as Arthur Dimmesdale, Basquiat, as Albert Milo, Air Force One, as Ivan Korshunov, Lost in Space, as Dr. Zachary Smith/Spider Smith, The Contender, as Shelly Runyon, Hannibal, as Mason Verger, Interstate 60, as O.W. Grant, A Christmas Carol, as Bob Cratchit, Marley & Tiny Tim, The Book of Eli, as Carnegie, Red Riding Hood, as Solomon, Kung Fu Panda 2, as Shen, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, as George Smiley.

Jerry Orbach

Where you know him from:

Dirty Dancing, as Dr. Jake Houseman

Beauty and the Beast, as Lumiere

Law and Order, as Detective Lennie Briscoe

Also look for him in: Brewster’s Millions, as Charley Pegler, Crimes and Misdemeanors, as Jack Rosenthal, Universal Soldier, as Dr. Christopher Gregor, Mr. Saturday Night, as Phil Gussman,

Leland Orser

I feel like he’s a guy that most people wouldn’t really know, but you’ve probably seen his name in credits a bunch of times. That’s how I first noticed him. He has such a unique name, and then you see it pop up a bunch, and are like, “Oh, I know that guy!” Which, after all, is the point of the list, right?

Where you know him from:

Confidence, as Lionel Dolby

Very Bad Things, as Charles Moore

The Bone Collector, as Richard Thompson

Also look for him in: Se7en, as Crazed MAn in Massage Parlor, Independence Day, as Tech/Medical Assistant #1, Escape from L.A., as Test Tube, Alien: Resurrection, as Larry Purvis, Saving Private Ryan, as Lt. DeWindt, Pearl Harbor, as Major Jackson, Daredevil, as Wesley Owen Welch, Runaway Jury, as Lamb, Twisted, as Edmund Cutler, The Good German, as Bernie, Taken, as Sam, ER, as Dr. Lucien Dubenko.

Eugene Pallette

Where you know him from:

The Adventures of Robin Hood, as Friar Tuck. (That sword fight on the bridge — yeah, that’s him.)

My Man Godfrey, as Alexander Bullock. (The put-upon patriarch of the family.)

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, as Chick McGann. (Aide to Senator Paine.)

The Lady Eve, as Charles Pike. (Henry Fonda’s father.)

Heaven Can Wait (1943) as Mr. Strabel (Gene Tierney’s father, who has that great conversation with his wife through their butler in one scene.)

The Gang’s All Here, as Mr. Mason. (Him showing up in the “floating heads” sequence of “A Journey to a Star” is the highlight of an otherwise batshit insane Busby Berkeley number.)

Also look for him in: Shanghai Express, as Sam Salt, Topper, as Casey.

You know this man’s voice. Trust me. (That’s from Heaven Can Wait, by the way.)

Joe Pantoliano

Where you know him from:

The Matrix, as Cypher

Memento, as Teddy Gammell

Bad Boys & Bad Boys II, as Captain Howard

Midnight Run, as Eddie Moscone

The Sopranos, as Ralph Cifaretto

Also look for him in: The Idolmaker, as Dino Pilato, Risky Business, as Guido, Eddie and the Cruisers, as Doc Robbins, The Goonies, as Francis, La Bamba, as Bob Keane, Empire of the Sun, as Frank Demarest, Used People, as Frank, The Fugitive & U.S. Marshals, as Cosmo Renfro, Baby’s Day Out, as Norby, Congo, as Eddie Ventro, Bound, as Caesar, Ready to Rumble, as Titus Sinclair, Grand Theft Auto 3, as Luigi Goterelli, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, as Mogan, Daredevil, as Ben Urich, The Amateurs, as Some Idiot, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, as Gabe Ugliano.

Michael Parks

Where you know him from:

From Dusk Till Dawn, as Sheriff Earl McGraw (and also in Kill Bill and Grindhouse, both Planet Terror and Death Proof)

Kill Bill, Vol. 2, as Esteben Vihaio (He plays both Earl McGraw and Esteben Vihaio in the film. That’s doubly awesome.)

Twin Peaks, as Jean Renault

Red State, as Abin Cooper

I assume 90% of the world doesn’t know who this man is outside of Earl McGraw. Which is a shame. He’s pretty awesome.

Also look for him in: The Bible: In the Beginning…, as Adam, Then Came Bronson, as Bronson, The Return of Josey Wales, as Josey Wales, Death Wish V: The Face of Death, as Tommy O’Shea, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, as Henry Craig.

Will Patton

Where you know him from:

Remember the Titans, as Coach Bill Yoast

Gone in 60 Seconds (2000), as Atlee Jackson

Armageddon, as Chick

Also look for him in: Silkwood, as Joe, Desperately Seeking Susan, as Wayne Nolan, After Hours, as Horst, No Way Out, as Scott Pritchard, The Client, as Sergeant Hardy, Inventing the Abbotts, as Lloyd Abbott, The Postman, as General Bethlehem, Entrapment, as Hector Cruz, The Mothman Prophecies, as Gordon Smallwood, The Punisher, as Quentin Glass, A Mighty Heart, as Randall Bennett, Wendy and Lucy, as Mechanic, Brooklyn’s Finest, as Lt. Bill Hobarts, Meek’s Cutoff ,as Soloman Tetherow.

David Paymer

Where you know him from:

Payback, as Arthur Stegman

Get Shorty, as Leo Devoe

Quiz Show, as Dan Enright

Also look for him in: The In-Laws, as Cab Driver, Airplane II: The Sequel, as Court Photographer, Howard the Duck, as Larry, Scientist, No Holds Barred, as Unger, City Slickers & City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold, as Ira Shalowitz, Mr. Saturday Night, as Stan, Searching for Bobby Fischer, as Kalev, The American President, as Leon Kodak, Nixon, as Ron Zeigler, City Hall, as Abe Goodman, Carpool, as Daniel Miller, Amistad, as Secretary John Forsyth, Mighty Joe Young, as Harry Ruben, Chill Factor, as Dr. Richard Long, The Hurricane, as Myron Bedlock, State and Main, as Marty Rossen, Bait, as Agent Wolly, In Good Company, as Morty, Ocean’s Thirteen, as The V.U.P., Drag Me to Hell, as Mr. Jacks, Bad Teacher, as Dr. Vogel.

Guy Pearce

Where you know him from: 

L.A. Confidential, as Edmund J. Exley

Memento, as Leonard Shelby

Also look for him in: The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, as Adam/Felicia, Rules of Engagement, as Maj. Mark Biggs, The Count of Monte Cristo, as Fernand Mondego, The Time Machine, as Alexander Hartdegen, The Proposition, as Charlie Burns, Factory Girl, as Andy Warhol, Death Defying Acts, as Harry Houdini, Traitor, as Roy Clayton, The Hurt Locker, as Staff Sergeant Matt Thompson, Bedtime Stories, as Kendall, The Road, as Veteran, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, as Alex, Animal Kingdom, as Sgt. Nathan Leckie, The King’s Speech, as King Edward VIII, mildred Pierce, as Monty Beragon.

Austin Pendleton

Where you know him from: 

My Cousin Vinny, as John Gibbons (the stuttering court-appointed lawyer)

Short Circuit, as Howard Marner

A Beautiful Mind, as Thomas King

Also look for him in: Catch-22, as Lt. Col. Moodus, What’s Up, Doc?, as Frederick Larrabee, The Front Page (1974), as Earl Williams, The Muppet Movie, as Max, Starting Over, as Paul, Mr. Nanny, as Alex Mason Sr., Searching for Bobby Fischer, as Asa Hoffman, Guarding Tess, as Earl Fowler, Home for the Holidays, as Peter Arnold, Sgt. Bilko, as Maj. Ebersole, The Mirror Has Two Faces, as Barry, Amistad, as Professor Gibbs, Finding Nemo, as Gurgle, Uptown Girls, as Mr. McConkey, Christmas with the Cranks (because haven’t we seen all this masterpiece?), as Umbrella Santa/Marty, The Notorious Betty Page, as Teacher, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, as Dr. Masters.

Nat Pendleton

Where you know him from:

The Thin Man & Another Thin Man as Inpsector Guild

The Great Ziegfeld, as Sandow the Strong Man

Buck Privates, as Sgt. Collins

Also look for him in: The Big Pond, as Pat O’Day, Lady for a Day, as Shakespeare, Manhattan Melodrama, as Spud.

Barry Pepper

Where you know him from:

Saving Private Ryan, as Pvt. Daniel Jackson (the sniper)

25th Hour, as Frank Slaughtery

True Grit (2010), as Lucky Ned Pepper

The Green Mile, as Dean Stanton

Also look for him in: Enemy of the State, as David Pratt, Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000, as Jonnie Goodboy Tyler, Knockaround Guys, as Matty Demaret, We Were Soldiers, as Joe Galloway, The Snow Walker, as Charlie Halliday, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, as Mike Norton, Ripley Under Ground, as Tom Ripley, Flags of Our Fathers, as Mike Strank, Seven Pounds, as Dan, Casino Jack, as Michael Scanlon

Ron Perlman

Where you know him from:

Hellboy & Hellboy II: The Golden Army, as Hellboy

Sons of Anarchy, as Clay Morrow

I’d have to say that’s where about 90% of everyone who knows him knows him from.

Also look for him in: Quest for Fire, as Amoukar, The Name of the Rose, as Salvatore, Cronos, as Angel de la Guardia, Police Academy: Mission to Moscow, as Konstantine Konali, The Island of Dr. Moreau, as Sayer of the Law, Alien: Resurrection, as Johner, Hey Arnold!, as Mickey Kaline (I must be one of like three people who will ever remember that specific character), Titan A.E., as Professor Sam Tucker, Enemy at the Gates, as Koulikov, Blade II, as Reinhardt, Star Trek: Nemesis, as Reman Viceroy Vkruk, Season of the Witch, as Felson, Drive, as Nino, Archer, as Ramon Limon.

Brock Peters

Where You Know Him From:

To Kill a Mockingbird, as Tom Robinson,

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, as Admiral Cartwright

Also look for him in: Porgy and Bess, as Crown, The L-Shaped Room, as Johnny, The Pawnbroker, as Rodriguez, Soylent Green, as Chief Hatcher

Slim Pickens

Where you know him from:

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, as Major T.J. “King” Kong

Blazing Saddles, as Tagart

Also look for him in: One-Eyed Jacks, as Deputy Lon Dedrick Major Dundee, as Wiley, Im Harm’s Way, as C.P.O. Culpepper, The Ballad of Cable Hogue, as Ben Fairchild, The Getaway, as Cowboy, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, as Sheriff Baker, Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, as Dewey “Tex” Hopkins, 1941, as Hollis P. Wood.

This dude has the honor of playing characters named after him more so than just about anyone I’ve ever seen. I counted 16 separate instances where he plays a character named “Slim” or “Slim Pickens.”

Mary Kay Place

Where you know her from:

The Big Chill, as Meg Jones

Being John Malkovich, as Floris

Big Love, as Adaleen Grant

Also look for her in: Bound for Glory, as Sue Ann, Girl in Bar, New York, New York, as Bernice Bennett, Starting Over, as Marie, Private Benjamin, as Pvt. Mary Lou Glass, Terms of Endearment, as Doris (voice), Captain Ron, as Katherine Harvey, Citizen Ruth, as Gail Stoney, The Rainmaker, as Dot Black, Girl, Interrupted, as Barbara Gilcrest, Sweet Home Alabama, as Pearl Smooter, City of Ember, as Mrs. Murdo, Julie & Julia, as Julie’s Mom (voice), Youth in Revolt, as Mrs. Saunders, It’s Complicated, as Joanne.

Oliver Platt

Where you know him from:

2012, as Carl Anheuser

X-Men: First Class, as The Man in Black

Ready to Rumble, as Jimmy King (had to put this on here)

The Ice Harvest, as Pete Van Heuten

Also look for him in: Married to the Mob, as Ed Benitez, Working Girl, as Lutz, Flatliners, as Randy Steckle, Postcards from the Edge, as Neil Bleene, Beethoven, as Harvey, Diggstown, as Fitz, Indecent Proposal, as Jeremy, Benny & Joon, as Eric, A Time to Kill, as Harry Rex Vonner, Bulworth, as Dennis Murphy, Doctor Dolittle, as Dr. Mark Weller, Simon Birch, as Ben Goodrich, Three to Tango, as Peter Steinberg, Pieces of April, as Jim Burns, Kinsey, as Herman Wells, Frost/Nixon, as Bob Zelnick, Year One, as High Priest, Please Give, as Alex, Love and Other Drugs, as Bruce Winston.

Donald Pleasance

Now, this, this is a fucking actor.

Where you know him from:

Halloween, Halloween II, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Halloween 5 & Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, as Dr. Sam Loomis

You Only Live Twice, as Ernst Stavro Blofeld

The Great Escape, as Flight Lt. Colin Blythe, “The Forger” (Poor son of a bitch went blind…)

Also look for him in: 1984 (1956), as R. Parsons, Sons and Lovers, as Pappleworth, The Greatest Story Ever Told, as The Dark Hermit – Satan, The Hallelujah Trail, as “Oracle” Jones, Fantastic Voyage, as Dr. Michaels, THX 1138, as SEN, Escape to Witch Mountain, as Lucas Deranian, The Last Tycoon, as Boxley, Oh, God!, as Doctor Harmon, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, as B.D. Hoffler, Escape from New York, as President, Shadows and Fog, as Doctor.

Jon Polito

Where you know him from:

Barton Fink, as Lou Breeze

Miller’s Crossing, as Johnny Caspar

The Big Lebowski, as Da Fino

Seinfeld, “The Reverse Peephole,” as Silvio (the dude who is suspicious of his wife having an affair because of Kramer’s mink coat)

Also look for him in: Highlander, as Det. Walter Bedsoe, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, as Zack, The Rocketeer, as Bigelow, The Hudsucker Proxy, as Mr. Bumstead, The Crow, as Gideon, Blankman, as Michael “The Suit” Minnelli, Bushwhacked, as Agent Palmer, Stuart Little, as Detective Sherman, The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, as Schoentell, The Man Who Wasn’t There, as Creighton Tolliver, The Box, as Michael Dickerson, Flags of Our Fathers, as Borough President, American Gangster, as Rossi.

Kevin Pollak

Oh man, Kevin Pollak. This dude can do it all. Any time he’s in a movie, the movie is better. Always.

Where you know him from:

The Usual Suspects, as Todd Hockney

A Few Good Men, as Lt. Sam Weinberg

Casino, as Phillip Green

The Whole Nine Yards, as Janni Gogolak

Also from his stand up. Dude does great Christopher Walken and Peter Falk impressions, among many others. (Seriously though, check out those two, especially the Falk. It’s insane how good it is.)

Also look for him in: Willow, as Rool, Avalon, as Izzy Kirk, L.A. Story, as Frank, Wayne’s World II, as Jerry Segel, Grumpy Old Men & Grumpier Old Men, as Jacob Goldman, Miami Rhapsody, as Jordan Marcus, Canadian Bacon, as Stu Smiley, That Thing You Do!, as Boss Vic Koss, She’s All That, as Wayne Boggs, The Wedding Planner, as Dr. John Dojny, 3000 Miles to Graceland, as Damitry, Juwanna Mann, as Lorne Daniels, The Whole Ten Yards, as Lazlo, Hostage, as Walter Smith, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, as Cupid, Middle Men, as Curt Allmans, Cop Out, as Hunsaker, Red State, as ASAC Brooks (the epitome of the character actor role. He shows up, we all cheer, and he gets some of the biggest laughs in the film).

Parker Posey

Where you know her from:

Josey and the Pussycats, as Fiona (or is that just me?)

Best in Show, as Meg Swan

Blade: Trinity, as Danica Talos

Superman Returns, as Kitty Kowalski

Also look for her in: Coneheads, as Stephanie, Dazed and Confused, as Darla Marks, Party Girl, as Mary, Kicking and Screaming (Noah Baumbach, not the shitty Will Ferrell movie), Basquiat, as Mary Boone, Waiting for Guffman, as Libby Mae Brown, You’ve Got Mail, as Patricia Eden, Scream 3, as Jennifer Jolie, The Anniversary Party, as Judy Adams, The Sweetest Thing, as Judy Webb, A Mighty Wind, as Sissy Knox, Laws of Attraction, as Serena, The Oh in Ohio, as Priscilla Chase, For Your Consideration, as Callie Webb, Fay Grim, as Fay Grim, Broken English, as Nora Wilder.

Pete Postlethwaite

Where you know him from:

Where don’t you know him from?

The Usual Suspects, as Kobayashi

In the Name of the Father, as Giuseppe Conlon

The Town, as Fergie Colm

Inception, as Maurice Fisher

Also look for him in: Distant Voices, Still Lives, as Father, Hamlet (Zeffirelli), as Player King, Alien³, as David, The Last of the Mohicans, as Capt. Beams, James and the Giant Peach, as Old Man, DragonHeart, as Gilbert of Glockenspur, Romeo + Juliet, as Father Laurence, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, as Roland Tembo, Amistad, as Holabird, The Shipping News, as Tert Card, Dark Water, as Veeck Æon Flux, as Keeper, The Omen (2006), as Father Brennan, Closing the Ring, as Quinlan, Clash of the Titans, as Spyros.

Clifton Powell

Where you know him from:

Next Friday & Friday After Next, as Pinky

Ray, as Jeff Brown

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, as Big Smoke

Also look for him in: 3 Ninjas, as FBI Agent Kurl, Menace II Society, as Chancy, Dead Presidents, as Cutty, Phantoms, as Gen. Leland Copperfield, Deep Rising, as Mason, Rush Hour, as Luke, Bones, as Jeremiah Peet, Never Die Alone, as Moon, Norbit, as Earl Latimore, Street Kings, as Sergeant Green, Black Dynamite: The Animated Series, as Crenshaw the Slime/Black Dynamite’s Daddy.

Harve Presnell

Where you know him from:

Fargo, as Wade Gustafson

The Unsinkable Molly Brown, as “Leadville” Johnny J. Brown

Also look for him in: Paint Your Wagon, as Rotton Luck Willie, Face/Off, as Victor Lazarro, Saving Private Ryan, as Gen. George C. Marshall, Patch Adams, as Dean Anderson, The Legend of Bagger Vance, as John Invergordon, The Family Man, as Big Ed, Mr. Deeds, as Preston Blake, Old School, as Mr. Springbrook, Flags of Our Fathers, as Dave Severance, Evan Almighty, as Congressman Burows.

Robert Prosky

Where you know him from:

Mrs. Doubtfire, as Jonathan Lundy

The Natural, as The Judge

Dead Man Walking, as Hilton Barber

Also look for him in: Thief, as Leo, Christine, as Will Darnell, Broadcast News, as Ernie Merriman, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, as Grandpa Fred, Far and Away, as Daniel Christie, Hoffa, as Billy Flynn, Last Action Hero, as Nick, Rudy, as Father Cavanaugh, Miracle on 34th Street, as Judge Henry Harper, The Scarlet Letter, as Horace Stonehall, The Chamber, as E. Garner Goodman, Mad City, as Lou Potts, Dudley Do-Right, as Inspector Fenwick, Death to Smoochy, as Network Chairman.

Jonathan Pryce

Where you know him from:

Brazil, as Sam Lowry

Pirates of the Caribbean (Curse of the Black Pearl, Dead Man’s Chest & At World’s End), as Governor Weatherby Swann

Tomorrow Never Dies, as Elliott Carver

Also look for him in: Voyage of the Damned, as Joseph Manasse, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, as The Right Ordinary Horatio Jackson, Glengarry Glen Ross, as James Lingk, The Age of Innocence, as Rivière, Evita, as Juan Perón, Ronin, as Seamus O’Rourke, What A Girl Wants, as Alistair Payne, De-Lovely, as Gabe, The Brothers Grimm, as Delatombe, The New World, as King James, Leatherheads, as CC Frazier, Bedtime Stories, as Marty Bronson, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, as U.S. President.

Bill Pullman

Where you know him from:

Independence Day, as President Thomas J. Whitmore (“Good evening…”)

Spaceballs, as Lone Starr

Casper, as Dr. James Harvey (Oh yeah, I went there)

Also look for him in: Ruthless People, as Ear Mott, The Accidental Tourist, as Julian, Newsies, as Bryan Denton, A League of Their Own, as Bob Hinson, Singles, as Dr. Jeffrey Jamison, Sleepless in Seattle, as Walter, Wyatt Earp, as Ed Masterson, While You Were Sleeping, as Jack Callaghan, Lost Highway, as Fred Madison, Lake Placid, as Daryl Zero, Brokedown Palace, as Hank Greene, Lucky Numbers, as Det. Pat Lakewood, Igby Goes Down, as Jason, The Grudge, as Peter, Scary Movie 4, as Henry Hale (which is funny, because it directly spoofs his scene from The Grudge), You Kill Me, as Dave, Surveillance, as Sam Hallaway, The Killer Inside Me, as Billy Boy Walter.

Randy Quaid

Where you know him from:

Independence Day, as Russell Casse

Kingpin, as Ishmael

Christmas Vacation & Vegas Vacation, as Cousin Eddie

The Last Detail, as Meadows

Also look for him in: The Last Picture Show, as Lester Marlow, Paper Moon, as Leroy, The Missouri Breaks, as Little Tod, Bound for Glory, as Luther Johnson, Migrant Worker, Midnight Express, as Jimmy Booth, Days of Thunder, as Tim Daland, Quick Change, as Loomis, The Paper, as Michael McDougal, Major League II, as Johnny (the dude who heckles them from the bleachers), Hard Rain, as Sheriff Mike Collins, The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, as Cappy von Trapment, Not Another Teen Movie, as Mr. Briggs, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, as Bruno, Brokeback Mountain, as Joe Aguirre, The Ice Harvest, as Bill Guerrard, Goya’s Ghosts, as King Carlos IV.

John Qualen

Where you know him from:

His Girl Friday, as Earl Williams. (Convicted murderer in the rolltop desk. Yup. That’s him.)

The Grapes of Wrath, as Muley.

Casablanca, as Berger. (Laszlo’s contact.)

The Searchers, as Lars Jorgenson. (Vera Miles’s father.)

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, as Peter Ericson. (Dude who owns the restaurant.)

Anatomy of a Murder, as Deputy Sheriff Sulo.

A Patch of Blue, as Mr. Faber. (The man for whom Elizabeth Hartman sells the beads.)

Arrowsmith, as Henry Novak — This is the cameo that made me want to write this article. He pops up once, for one short scene, and I was like, “Where do I know that guy’s voice from?” And then I realized, “Oh shit, Earl Williams!”

Also look for him in: Black Fury, as Mike Shemanskit, Wife vs. Secretary, as Mr. Jenkins. Knute Rockne All American, as Rockne’s father, The Devil and Daniel Webster, as Miser Stevens, Tortilla Flat, as Jose Maria Corcoran, The High and the Mighty, as Jose Locota, Elmer Gantry, as the shop owner.

Claude Rains

The father of all character actors. Walter Brennan is like the cooky grandfather, and Claude Rains is the father. This dude could do it all. I’m pretty sure there’s nobody who’s seen him in at least three of these roles that doesn’t love this man. He’s so awesome.

Where you know him from:

Casablanca, as Captain Louis Renault (who is shocked (shocked!) to find that gambling is going on here)

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, as Senator Paine

The Adventures of Robin Hood, as Prince John

Here Comes Mr. Jordan, as Mr. Jordan

Also look for him in: The Invisible Man, as The Invisible Man, Anthony Adverse, as Marquis Don Luis, White Banners, as Paul Ward, Four Daughters, as Adam Lemp, Juarez, as Emperor Louis Napoleon III, The Wolf Man, as Sir John Talbot, Kings Row, as Dr. Alexander Tower, Now, Voyager, as Dr. Jaquith, Phantom of the Opera (1943), as the Phantom, Mr. Skeffington, as Mr. Skeffington, Caesar ad Cleopatra, as Caesar, Notorious, as Alexander Sebastian, The Lost World, as Prof. George Edward Challenger, Lawrence of Arabia, as Mr. Dryden, Twilight of Honor, as Art Harper, The Greatest Show on Earth, as King Herod.

Anne Ramsey

Where you know her from:

Throw Momma from the Train, as Momma (“Owen!!”)

The Goonies, as Mama Fratelli

I think those two is all you need.

Also look for her in: Any Which Way You Can, as Loretta Quince, Scrooged, as Woman in Shelter.

Michael Rappaport

Where you know him from:

True Romance, as Dick Ritchie

Planet of the Apes, as Cornelius

Deep Blue Sea, as Tom Scoggins

Also look for him in: The Basketball Diaries, as Skinhead, Kiss of Death, as Ronnie Gannon, Mighty Aphrodite, as Kevin, Cop Land, as Murray Babitch, Next Friday, as Mailman with Tax Notice, Small Time Crooks, as Denny, Men of Honor, as GM1 Snowhill, Bamboozled, as Thomas Dunwitty, Lucky Numbers, as Dale, Grand Theft Auto 3, as Joey Leone, Chappelle’s Show, as Popcopy Employee (from Episode 1, too), Hitch, as Ben, Big Fan, as Philadelphia Phil.

Basil Rathbone

Where you know him from:

The Adventures of Robin Hood, as Sir Guy

If I Were King, as King Louis XI

The Hound of the Baskervilles (and a bunch of other Holmes films), as Sherlock Holmes

Romeo and Juliet (1936), as Tybalt

Also look for him in: David Copperfield, as Mr. Murdstone, Anna Karenina, as Karenin, The Last Days of Pompeii, as Pontius Pilate, A Tale of Two Cities, as Marquis St. Eremonde, Captain Blood, as Levasseur, The Garden of Allah, as Count Ferdinand Anteon, Son of Frankenstein, as Baron Wolf von Frankenstein, The Black Cat, as Montague Hartley.

This dude is the epitome of “scheming.” He’s awesome.

James Rebhorn

Where you know him from:

Scent of a Woman, as Mr. Trask

Independence Day, as Albert Nimzicki

The Game, as Jim Feingold

My Cousin Vinny, as George Wilbur

Seinfeld, “The Finale,” as D.A. Hoyt

Also look for him in: Silkwood, as Los Alamos Doctor, Basic Instinct, as Dr. McElwaine, White Sands, as FBI Agent Flynn, Lorenzo’s Oil, as Ellard Muscatine, Carlito’s Way, as Dist. Atty. Norwalk, Blank Check, as Fred Waters, The Talented Mr. Ripley, as Herbert Greenleaf, Meet the Parents, as Dr. Larry Banks, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, as Belcher, Far from Heaven, as Dr. Bowman, Head of State, as Sen. Bill Arnot, Cold Mountain, as Doctor, The Box, as Norm Cahill.

Peter Reigert

Where you know him from:

Animal House, as Donald Schoenstein

The Mask, as Lt. Mitch Kellaway

Bleacher Bums, as Decker (I fucking love this movie)

The Sopranos, as Ronald Zellman

Also look for him in: Local Hero, as MacIntyre, Oscar, as Aldo, Seinfeld, “The Finale” as James Kimbrough, Family Guy, “When You Wish Upon a Weinstein,” as Max Weinstein (this is the episode that got them cancelled the first time).

James Remar

Where you know him from:

48 Hrs., as Albert Ganz

Dexter, as Harry Morgan

The Girl Next Door, as Hugo Posh

Also look for him in: The Warriors, as Ajax, Cruising, as Gregory, The Cotton Club, as Dutch Schultz, The Dream Team, as Gianelli, Drugstore Cowboy, as Gentry, Renaissance Man, as Captain Tom Murdoch, Miracle on 34th Street, as Jack Duff, Psycho (Gus Van Sant remake), as Patrolman, What Lies Beneath, as Warren Feur, 2 Fast 2 Furious, as Agent Markham, Duplex, as Chick, Blade: Trinity, as Ray Cumberland, Pineapple Express, as General Bratt, Red, as Gabriel Singer, X-Men: First Class, as US General, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, as Sideswipe.

Ving Rhames

Where you know him from:

You better know who Ving Rhames is. Or else, what are you? A Canadian?

Pulp Fiction, as Marcellus Wallace

Mission: Impossible, Mission: Impossible IIMission: Impossible III & Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, as Luther Stickell

Bringing Out the Dead, as Marcus

Also look for him in: Casualties of War, as Lt. Reilly, Jacob’s Ladder, as George, The People Under the Stairs, as Leroy, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, as Mr. Stereo, Dave, as Duane Stevenson, Kiss of Death, as Omar, Striptease, as Shad, Con Air ,as Diamond Dog, Don King: Only in America, as Don King, Out of Sight ,as Budy Bragg, Entrapment, as Aaron Thibadeaux, Undisputed, as George “Iceman” Chambers, Dawn of the Dead, as Kenneth, Idlewild, as Spats, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, as Fred G. Duncan, The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, as Jibby Newsome, Surrogates, as The Prophet (have you seen him in this? He looks like Whoopi Goldberg. I call his character Vhoopi.), Piranha 3D & Piranha 3DD, as Deputy Fallon.

John Rhys-Davies

Where you know him from:

The Lord of the Rings, as Gimli/Treebeard

Raiders of the Lost Ark & Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, as Sallah

Also look for him in: Victor Victoria, as Andre Cassell, The Living Daylights, as General Leonid Pushin, The Great White Hype, as Johnny Windsor, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, as Viscount Mabrey, One Night with the King, as Mordechai.

Giovanni Ribisi

Where you know him from:

Saving Private Ryan, as Wade, Medic

G0ne in 60 Seconds, as Kip Raines

Boiler Room, as Seth Davis

Lost in Translation, as John

Also look for him in: That Thing You Do!, as Chad, The Other Sister, as Daniel McMann, The Gift, as Buddy Cole, Basic, as Kendall, Cold Mountain, as Junior, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, as Dex, The Flight of the Phoenix, as Elliott, The Big White, as Ted Waters, Middle Men ,as Wayne Beering, Public Enemies, as Alvin Karpis, Avatar, as Parker Selfridge, The Rum Diary, as Moberg.

Don Rickles

Where you know him from:

His amazing stand-up act that he’s been doing for over 50 years. You can check it out in the fantastic documentary Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project. You can Watch it Instantly on Netflix. Seriously. Take 90 Minutes. You won’t be disappointed. This dude is one of my top five favorite comedians (Carlin is #1. Obviously).

Toy Story, Toy Story 2 & Toy Story 3, as Mr. Potato Head

Casino, as Billy Sherbert

Also look for him in: Run Silent Run Deep, as Quartermaster 1st Class Ruby, X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes, as Crane, Muscle Beach Party, as Jack Fanny, Bikini Beach, as Big Drag, Pajama Party, as Big Bang The Martian, Beach Blanket Bingo, as Big Drop (had to include all three. The subtleties are key), Kelly’s Heroes, as SSgt. Crapgame, Dirty Work, as Mr. Hamilton.

Alan Rickman

Where you know him from:

If you don’t know who Alan Rickman is, we can’t be friends.

Die Hard, as Hans Gruber

Harry Potter, as Severus Snape

Love Actually, as Harry

Also look for him in: Quigley Down Under, as Elliott Marston, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, as Sheriff George of Nottingham, Bob Roberts, as Lukas Hart III, Sense and Sensibility, as Col. Christopher Brandon, Dogma, as Metatron, Galaxy Quest, as Alexander Dane, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, as Antoine Richis, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, as Judge Turpin, Alice in Wonderland, as Blue Caterpillar.

Ron Rifkin

Where you know him from:

L.A. Confidential, as D.A. Ellis Loew

The Negotiator, as Grant Frost

Alias, as Arvin Sloane

Also look for him in: The Sunshine Boys, as T.V. Floor Manager, JFK, as Mr. Goldberg/Spiesel, Husbands and Wives, as Richard, Rain’s Analyst, Manhattan Murder Mystery, as Sy, Boiler Room, as Judge Marty Davis, Keeping the Faith, as Larry Friedman, The Majestic, as Kevin Bannermann The Sum of All Fears, as Secretary of State Sidney Owens.

Thelma Ritter

Where you know her from:

Rear Window, as Stella

All About Eve, as Birdy

Pickup on South Street, as Moe Williams

Also look for her in: Miracle on 34th Street, as Peter’s Mother, A Letter to Three Wives,as Sadie Dugan, The Mating Season, as Ellen McNulty, With a Song in My Heart, as Clancy, Titanic (1953), as Maude Young, Daddy Long Legs, as Alicia Pritchard, Pillow Talk, as Alma, The Misfits, as Isabelle Steers, Birdman of Alcatraz, as Elizabeth Stroud, How the West Was Won, as Agatha Clegg.

Alex Rocco

Where you know him from:

The Godfather, as Moe Green (He made his bones while you were still going out with cheerleaders.)

Also look for him in: The Friends of Eddie Coyle, as Jimmy Scalise, The Stunt Man, as Police Chief Jake, Canonball Run II, as Tny, The George Carlin Show, as Harry Rossetti (actually pretty good for the relatively short run it had), Get Shorty, as Jimmy Capp, That Thing You Do!, as Sol Siler, A Bug’s Life, as Thorny, The Wedding Planner, as Salvatore, The Country Bears, as Rip Holland, Find Me Guilty, as Nick Calabrese, Smokin’ Aces, as Serna.

Cesar Romero

Where you know him from:

The Thin Man, as Chris Jorgenson

Batman (1966, and the show), as The Joker

Also look for him in: The Little Princess, as Ram Dass, Frontier Marshal, as Doc Holliday, Vera Cruz, as Marquis Henri de Labordere, Around the World in 80 Days, as Achmed Abdullah’s Henchman, Ocean’s Eleven (1960), as Duke Santos.

Michael Rooker

Where you know him from:

Mallrats, as Svenning

Cliffhanger, as Hal Tucker

Tombstone, as Sherman McMasters

Also look for her in: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, as Henry, Eight Men Out, as Chick Gandil, Mississippi Burning, as Frank Bailey, Sea of Love, as Terry, Music Box, as Karchy Laszlo, Days of Thunder, as Rowdy Burns, JFK, as Bill Broussard, The Bone Collector, as Captain Howard Cheney, The 6th Day, as Robert Marshall, Undisputed, as A.J. Mercker, Slither, as Grant Grant, Jumper, as William Rice, Super, as Abe.

Stephen Root

This man has been in almost everything.

Where you know him from:

Office Space, as Milton

O Brother, Where Art Thou?, as Radio Station Man

King of the Hill, as Bill Dauterive

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, as Gordon

Also look for him in: Crocodile Dundee II, as DEA Agent, Black Rain, as Berg, Ghost, as Police Sgt., Dave, as Don Durenberger, NewsRadio, as Jimmy James, Finding Nemo, as Bubbles, The Ladykillers, as Fernand Gudge, Jersey Girl, as Greenie, Surviving Christmas, as Dr. Freeman, Just Friends, as KC, Idiocracy, as Judge Hank “The Hangman” BMW, No Country for Old Men, as Man who hires Wells, Mad Money, as Glover, Drillbit Taylor, as Principal Doppler, Leatherheads, as Suds, The Soloist, as Curt Reynolds, Imagine That, as Fred Franklin, The Men Who Stare at Goats, as Gus Lacey, The Conspirator, as John Lloyd, Cedar Rapids, as Bill Krogstad, Red State, as Sheriff Wynan, Rango, as Doc/Merrmiack/Mr. Snuggles, J. Edgar, as Arthur Koehler.

Chelcie Ross

Where you know him from:

Major League, as Eddie Harris

Ri¢hie Ri¢h, as Ferguson

A Simple Plan, as Carl

Also look for him in: Hoosiers, as George, The Untouchables, as Reporter, The Package, as Gen. Hopkins, Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey, as Colonel Oats, Basic Instinct, as Captain Talcott, Amos & Andrew, as Earl, Rudy, as Dan Devine, My Best Friend’s Wedding, as Priest, The Majestic, as Avery Wyatt, Drag Me to Hell, as Leonard Dalton, The Dilemma, as Thomas Fern.

Saul Rubinek

Where you know him from:

True Romance, as Lee Donowitz

Unforgiven, as W.W. Beauchamp

Also look for him in: Against All Odds, as Steve Kirsch, Wall Street, as Harold Salt, The Bonfire of the Vanities, as Jed Kramer, Nixon, as Herb Klein, Dick, as Henry Kissinger, The Contender, as Jerry Tolliver, The Family Man, as Alan Mintz, Rush Hour 2, as Red Dragon Box Man, Bleacher Bums, as Reid (he also directed the film), The Singing Detective, as Skin Specialist, Curb Your Enthusiasm, as Dr. Saul Funkhauser, Santa’s Slay, as Mr. Green.

Here’s Part 1: In Appreciation of Character Actors (A-F)

Here’s Part 2: In Appreciation of Character Actors (G-L)

Here’s Part 4: In Appreciation of Character Actors (S-Z)

One response

  1. Ginger Wentworth

    But, but, C.AUBREY SMITH!!!!!!! Sorry to be aggressive

    August 12, 2014 at 12:00 am

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