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Usurpers, Scene Stealers and The Like

I nominated the late Madeline Kahn as the #1 scene stealer. I was watching her in a "Family" sketch on "Carol Burnett" and she simply took over. Louise Lasser is another one that steals every scene. Even when she played the unfunny banker on "Mary Tyler Moore," she completely overwhelmed Mary Tyler Moore and stole the scene. Both just a mention of the many parts they stole.

Other actress, actors who are good at stealing scenes from those who are supposed to be supporting?

by Anonymousreply 65July 28, 2021 1:18 AM

Alice Ghostly. She stole every scene she was in on Bewitched and Designing Women, among others.

by Anonymousreply 1June 20, 2021 7:13 PM

Jo Anne Worley was unstoppable. She crushed everyone.

by Anonymousreply 2June 20, 2021 7:16 PM

James Dean. Rock Hudson and Raymond Massey loathed him for this.

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by Anonymousreply 3June 20, 2021 7:16 PM


I could see that on "Designing Women," but on "Bewitched" and "Mayberry RFD," every time she showed up, it just reminded the views how great Marion Lorne and Frances Bavier were and how much we miss them.

by Anonymousreply 4June 20, 2021 7:19 PM

R4 I liked her on Bewitched. and considered her character different enough to not be a straight replacement of Marion Lorne. I've never seen Mayberry RFD, though.

by Anonymousreply 5June 20, 2021 7:22 PM

The like and the such?

by Anonymousreply 6June 20, 2021 8:42 PM

Agnes Moorehead

by Anonymousreply 7June 20, 2021 10:18 PM

On Star Trek, you'd have DeForest Kelly badly acting on one side and Shatner overacting on the other, then Leonard Nimoy would blank them out by just raising an eyebrow.

by Anonymousreply 8June 20, 2021 10:30 PM

Bronson Pinchot obliterating Eddy Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop

by Anonymousreply 9June 20, 2021 10:35 PM

I didn’t know who she was at the time, but I felt Kristen Wiig stole her scenes in Knocked Up. They were the only times I actually laughed throughout that movie.

by Anonymousreply 10June 20, 2021 10:37 PM

There was a scene in an episode of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' where Larry has one of his usual run-ins with a receptionist, but unlike the rest of the receptionists in these scenes, this one was hysterical in a very deadpan way. I wish I could remember more but I can't. She had dark hair and glasses.

by Anonymousreply 11June 20, 2021 10:43 PM


by Anonymousreply 12June 21, 2021 12:25 PM

Michael J Fox

by Anonymousreply 13July 21, 2021 4:57 PM

Thelma Ritter

Eve Arden

Fred Willard - the male Thelma Ritter and Eve Arden

by Anonymousreply 14July 21, 2021 5:00 PM

Always Eve Arden. And she didn't even have to try. The best scene stealers don't steal scenes simply by being louder or doing more than their co-stars. They're just more interesting for one reason or another.

by Anonymousreply 15July 21, 2021 5:04 PM

[quote]They're just more interesting for one reason or another.

For me, it's Eve Arden's voice and inflection.

by Anonymousreply 16July 21, 2021 6:36 PM

Nobody was ever to steal a scene I was in

by Anonymousreply 17July 21, 2021 7:01 PM

Sandy Dennis. Stick her with tons of stars and she'll still walk away with the movie or play. You always left remembering her.

by Anonymousreply 18July 22, 2021 5:28 PM

A really terrific movie-steal from Sandy Dennis is in the very funny film "Nasty Habits" which is basically a takeoff on the Watergate scandal among nuns. Great cast with Glenda Jackson, Melina Mercouri, Anne Jackson, Geraldine Page and others, but Sandy Dennis is really particularly hilarious in it.

by Anonymousreply 19July 22, 2021 5:59 PM

Dody Goodman was a funny scene-stealer, especially on "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman". Wonderfully funny voice.

by Anonymousreply 20July 22, 2021 6:01 PM

In Rosemary's Baby, Ruth Gordon was the one to watch. You almost forgot that Mia Farrow was in the movie.

by Anonymousreply 21July 22, 2021 6:28 PM

Glenda Farrell and Joan Blondell

by Anonymousreply 22July 22, 2021 9:28 PM

Marjorie Manes

by Anonymousreply 23July 22, 2021 10:24 PM

Yes r19! Sandy Dennis eating pizza on the bus in her nun's habit (and high top sneakers I think was great.)

by Anonymousreply 24July 23, 2021 6:21 AM

Elaine Stritch (obviously) Barbara Harris Yes, Thelma Ritter, Eve Arden and Fred Willard (an odd trio!) Edgar Kennedy as directed by Preston Sturges (twice) Rudy Vallee and Mary Astor in The Palm Beach Story For us old folks.

by Anonymousreply 25July 23, 2021 6:32 AM

Georgia Engel on MTM.

You can see why they kept bringing her back.

Her first two appearances are just small bits as a guest at Mary's party but she gets huge laughs.

by Anonymousreply 26July 23, 2021 6:38 AM

Marjorie Mains in everything

by Anonymousreply 27July 23, 2021 10:09 PM

William Demarest - especially in those great Preston Sturges comedies

by Anonymousreply 28July 23, 2021 10:12 PM

Mary Boland

by Anonymousreply 29July 23, 2021 10:15 PM

Helen Reddy in Airport’75

by Anonymousreply 30July 23, 2021 10:17 PM

Maria Ouspenskaya in "Dodsworth". Fabulous movie -- she appears in one scene and got an Oscar nomination. (OK, Beatrice Straight got her beat by actually winning one). But still -- Maria's character is fierce!

by Anonymousreply 31July 23, 2021 10:45 PM

"I AM attractive. I suppose I do fit that part of the description."

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by Anonymousreply 32July 26, 2021 10:24 AM

Fred Willard enters "Best in Show" about halfway through and just takes over. Plenty of wonderful other performances -- hell, Catherine O'Hara is another great scene stealer.

by Anonymousreply 33July 26, 2021 7:12 PM

I don’t know what you mean.

by Anonymousreply 34July 26, 2021 7:25 PM

Laura Dern in Big Little Lies.

by Anonymousreply 35July 26, 2021 7:52 PM

Critters in Critters 2

by Anonymousreply 36July 26, 2021 7:54 PM

You’ve got to hand it to stars like MTM, though.

Secure in her abilities, and shrewd enough to know that stepping back and letting the others shine was not only for the good of the show, but made her more relatable to the audience.

by Anonymousreply 37July 26, 2021 8:01 PM

Madeline Kahn was a genius. The scene in Young Frankenstein when the monster is going to rape her and she screams "no! no! no!" and then segues into signing "ah! Sweet mystery of life at last I've found you!"

Couldn't get away with that today though.

by Anonymousreply 38July 26, 2021 8:04 PM

Patrick McGoohan.

by Anonymousreply 39July 26, 2021 8:04 PM

Nicholas Colasanto on Cheers.

Like a tractor beam.

by Anonymousreply 40July 26, 2021 8:07 PM

McConaughey in Wolf of Wall Street- best bit in that interminable movie.

by Anonymousreply 41July 26, 2021 8:08 PM

Viv Vance

It's her birthday, I hear.

by Anonymousreply 42July 26, 2021 8:09 PM

[Quote] Madeline Kahn was a genius. The scene in Young Frankenstein when the monster is going to rape her and she screams "no! no! no!" and then segues into signing "ah! Sweet mystery of life at last I've found you!"

Madeline picked the song as she wanted to begin with a vowel sound. Brooks had suggested she sing "Heaven, I'm in Heaven."

by Anonymousreply 43July 26, 2021 8:25 PM

[Quote] Secure in her abilities, and shrewd enough to know that stepping back and letting the others shine was not only for the good of the show, but made her more relatable to the audience.

Must be nice.

by Anonymousreply 44July 26, 2021 8:26 PM

Vivian Vance this and that. God who TF is that anyway? Ethel? Long cold and dead.

by Anonymousreply 45July 26, 2021 8:45 PM

Meredith Baxter Birney never stole anything. This is an endless list… I just saw Jennifer Coolidge on a show last night and you don’t look at anyone but her. She’s genius. All the old gays hate her hot young body but Jennifer Lawrence burglarized American Hustle. An old one is Cara Seymour in American Psycho. Wow she did a lot with that part.

by Anonymousreply 46July 26, 2021 8:51 PM

I do have to give Jennifer Lawrence American Hustle. She was far too young for that role, but goddamnit if you couldn't look away from her every time she was on screen. She was captivating.

by Anonymousreply 47July 26, 2021 8:56 PM

Alice Ghostly

by Anonymousreply 48July 26, 2021 9:19 PM

Agnes Moorehead and Paul Lynde -- every appearance was a mood-lifter (except for Darrin/Durwood)

by Anonymousreply 49July 26, 2021 10:29 PM

Julie Walters in everything! She is so underrated!

by Anonymousreply 50July 26, 2021 10:50 PM

It's Marjorie Main

Alice Ghostley

by Anonymousreply 51July 26, 2021 11:09 PM

Fred Willard was horrible in anything he did--obvious, cliched humor. Thelma Ritter stealing a scene was a work of art by comparison.

by Anonymousreply 52July 26, 2021 11:14 PM

Thelma Ritter’s work really WAS always a work of art. One of the greatest actresses in movies, despite the subordinate roles to which she was, fortunately for us, ideally suited. Her male counterpart: the ever reliable and interesting Charles Coburn. But I like Fred Willard too.

by Anonymousreply 53July 27, 2021 1:39 PM

Don't leave out the fact that Thelma was gifted with good writing.

by Anonymousreply 54July 27, 2021 2:14 PM


by Anonymousreply 55July 27, 2021 2:23 PM

Not always, R54. Try sitting through Pillow Talk. Talk about wasting talent. A bit like Ruth Gordon in the unwatchable Inside Daisy Clover.

by Anonymousreply 56July 27, 2021 2:30 PM

Thelma getting good material doesn't mean the whole movie was great. She had good writing.

by Anonymousreply 57July 27, 2021 2:47 PM

Pillow Talk is a great classic movie. Thelma is great in it, even though her role is way too small.

by Anonymousreply 58July 27, 2021 3:20 PM

She was great in Rear Window too.

by Anonymousreply 59July 27, 2021 3:23 PM

"Pillow Talk" is dated and is basically a padded out sitcom. Day & Hudson had chemistry, but the story and dialogue are really stupid. It's the kind of film where Ritter provides a running narration and wisecracks, which isn't great writing. She did a lot of television. Again, not the best writing but she made the best of it. Watch her in "All About Eve", she could be wry, wistful, or sarcastic without seeming to change persona, she knew how to get the most out of a line with little apparent effort. She could do it with Mankiewicz's writing and with hackwork.

by Anonymousreply 60July 27, 2021 4:45 PM

Thelma is billed 4th, but really a co-lead in "The Mating Season", after Gene Tierney, John Lund and Miriam Hopkins. She's superb and had a big role in it. She's likewise fabulous in a very different role in "Pickup on South Street" as a pickpocket/stool pigeon. Some wry humor, but also a very moving performance. She's fun in "Pillow Talk", though her role is gimmicky. I just love the scene where she meets Rock Hudson at the bus stop and when she realizes who he is finally, she just tells the bus drive to move on, in a rather classic Brooklynese manner.

Tony Randall is another guy who could steal scenes and is usually a pleasure to see, especially in a comedy.

by Anonymousreply 61July 27, 2021 5:24 PM

[quote] All the old gays hate her hot young body but Jennifer Lawrence burglarized American Hustle.dies.

I'm sorry, I think you must have wandered in here from fifty years ago. Here in 2021 we know longer believe gay men are jealous of women's bodies.

Also, once you get to be 18, you'll realize 'they're just jealous" doesn't work so well for explanations of why celebrities are disliked by other adults.

by Anonymousreply 62July 27, 2021 5:32 PM

62 posts and no mention of Sean Penn.

I don't think Thelma Ritter tried to steal scenes. IMO, she's so authentic and likeable, you just feel comfortable with her.

by Anonymousreply 63July 27, 2021 5:38 PM

If she didn't steal scenes, she would have been in the wrong business.

by Anonymousreply 64July 28, 2021 1:08 AM

Christina Applegate. Stole movies from under Cameron Diaz and DL pariah Gwyneth Paltrow.

by Anonymousreply 65July 28, 2021 1:18 AM
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