The death of Eileen Brennan had me thinking.....
I know it's probably the "elder" bit in me peeking out that says "oh, we don't have any unique performers now vs then."
But it really does seem like many of the younger teen and twentysomething actors and actresses are picked solely on appearance and not on any sort of quirky, notable talent.
Who are your favorite character actors/actresses? Am I missing anyone under 40 who you think fits that description?
Thelma Ritter. She wasn't unique, but she was real.
Not familiar with her work, but what about Greta Gerwig? Or Chloe Sevigny who she looks like. Parker Posey as well maybe? But then they all knowingly go for quirky offbeat roles.
I can't help but find Frank Morgan outrageously funny in everything. Wizard of Oz, Boom Town, The Great Zigfield...he just has a blustery mannerism that elevates the character.
R2 Yes to those names.
But I think that's the point of confusion - all of those people have been presented to us as "leads" vs being true character actors.
I'd say Michael Cera and Jesse Eisenberg on the guys side (two actors basically playing the same schtick) but again, we the audience are being told these two are leading men.
As a brit I have always loved Julie Walters and Timothy Spall in all their TV and movie work. Both can do comedy and drama and everything else in between. Also love Alison Janney, if she is considered character actress?
Peter Lorre, Claude Rains, Mary Wicks, Gene Hackman
Harriet Sansom Harris , who played Bebe Glazer on Frasier always makes me laugh.
Lily Rabe's 'Lily Rabe-ing' is highly indicative of a character actress more so than a leading lady and she is only about 30 years of age or so.
Alfre Woodard, Loretta Devine, and Kathy Bates are my most favorite character actresses.
Over 40 but Steve Buscemi is a great contemporary character actor. Philip Seymore Hoffman is a great one as well.
I've been watching a lot of 60s anthology stuff lately and there tons of them back then under the old studio system especially among Universal shows like Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock, Thriller etc. You might not have known their names but their faces were always memorable.
Not too many under-40's listed here, people?
How about DJ Qualls?
To some extent, fame, $$ and parts notwithstanding: Emma Stone
As above: Anna Kendrick
Most heavier black actresses??
On "heavy": Melissa McCarthy? (not JUST because she's heavy [I myself am, btw) but can do different, memorable characters
Any NUMBER of guest stars/recurring characters who have been on Mad Men: Patrick Fischel as that comedian - can't remember name, sorry - about 5 seasons ago...
(Yes, I watch WAY too much TV
Jack Weston and Charles Durning
Elias Koteas is Canada's most versatile and hardworking character actor, and he often exhibits a substantial mound in the front of his pants.
Wendie Jo Sperber (just kidding)
[quote] Elias Koteas is Canada's most versatile and hardworking character actor, and he often exhibits a substantial mound in the front of his pants.
Don't forget, R15, a MUSKY mound.
As an elder who loved Eileen Brennan, I see many great "character actors" today, OP.
Toni Collette for instance is like Brennan a gifted comedienne, singer and dramatic actress who can play just about anything in every medium. Likewise Nina Arianda.
Denis O'Hare 51, but one of the best
Joan Cusack, Marcia Gay Harden.
I can't really name anyone under 40 because all the US actors and actresses in this group all look and sound alike to me and are all named Ryan, Jennifer, Jessica and Tylor or Taylor. I get them all mixed up.
Oh wait-- the girl who played Heather in Big Love. But if she gets plastic surgery to look glam, she'll be just another face.
Egads. Every one of these could crack a mirror at 50 feet.
I miss performers like this. They were always dependable and stole the show. They also worked forever. Most starlets and hunks can't transition into mature work after their 40's, cause they never learned how to act and skated by on their looks.
Anne Ramsey. Loved her as Lisa on MAY.
Jeffrey Wright is the biggest bag of wind since the invention of the hot air balloon. Truly insufferable.
There's also Alia Shawkat.
That Donna Pescow was such a spunky little pepper-pot!