Character Actors

by Arnold Nelson

     When you watch a movie , you know, the stars and the costars in the movies they are the ones that make the big money. There are also character actors in the movies, these character actors are the ones that actually make the movie or break the movie, depending on how good they are. I started out with a list of about 50 character actors and I got it down to 12 actors. These. I think are some of the best character actors . I have seen. I am not going to try to rank these actors because I don't think I could, with the exception of Royal Dano , who I happen to think is probably the best character actor that ever was. If you made a list. It would probably be different. This is my list of who I think are the best character actors. I am presenting my list in alphabetical order with ladies first.

     First on my list is Jodie Foster. She is the youngest one of my list, born November 19, 1962. She was born. Alisha Christian Foster. Her first job was the Coppertone girl when she was three years old. It is a well-known picture of a young girl with the dog pulling down her panties to show her white rear end. I know you are saying Jodie Foster is a star, not a character actor. You are right. She is a star. She has appeared in many different movies and TV shows doing many different roles and to me that qualifies her to be called a character actor. Some of the movie. She has been in, are: Tom Sawyer (that was the first movie I ever saw her in and I fell in love with her). Taxi driver, The Accused, Silence of the lamb, Nell, Little Man Tate and Paper Moon. There were many other movies, but these I think are some of her best. She also appeared in many TV series like Gunsmoke, Daniel Boone, Adam 12 and Courtship of Eddie's Father, along with many others.

     Ruth Gordon. She was born Ruth Gordon Jones on October 30, 1896. She died August 28, 1985. In my opinion. She was one of the sweethearts of Hollywood. She started her career in 1915, as an extra in silent movies. That same year, she was in her first play on Broadway. She played Nib in Peter Pan, (one of the boys that would never grow up). The last play she did was 61 years later, she starred in Mrs. Warren's profession, she played Mrs. Warren. There were many, many plays in between those two. Also, many movies and a lot of TV shows. Some of the movies she was in were Rosemary's Baby, Harold and Maude, Every Which Way but Loose, and my Bodyguard. Some of the TV shows, she guest starred in Kojak, Rhoda, Columbus, Love Boat and Taxi. Along with all that acting. She found time to write scripts along with her second husband, Garson Kanin. Some of the scripts were Adam's Rib, Pat and Mike and the Marrying Kind. Most of her fame came in the last three decades of her life.

    Angela Brigit Landsbury was born on a October 16, 1925 in East London, England. She moved to New York City with her family in 1940. Then on to Hollywood in 1942. In her lifetime she has received five Tony awards and six Golden globes. She is another one that is also star. But because of all the different work she's done. I consider her a character actor too. She was in a lot of movies. Some of them were Gaslight, National Velvet, Harvey Girls, Blue Hawaii, Bednobs and broomsticks, Samson and Delilah, Mutiny, Greatest Story Ever Told, and Pirates of Penzance. She also had a lot of roles on TV, the one that made her a household name was Murder She Wrote, where she played Jessica Fletcher, (a writer who was also a crime solver). There is also Little Gloria... Happy at Last, Sweeny Todd, A Gift of Love a Christmas Story, Magnum PI and Touched by an Angel. She was also in many plays some of them were Hotel Paradise, Mame, Gypsy, The King and I, and Sweeny Todd. She was also a very accomplished singer, one of her most famous singing roles was in Beauty and the Beast. She also did a lot of voice overs.

      Susan Abigail Tomlin, better known as Susan Seradon was born on October 4, 1946. She started her career at soap operas, A World Apart and Search For Tomorrow. She has appeared in many movies. Some of them are: The Front Page, The Great Waldo Pepper , The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Other Side of the Mountain, Pretty Baby, King of the Gypsies, Thelma and Louise, Lorenzo's Oil, Little Women, and Client to name a few. She h had as also done some TV mini series two of them are A.D. and Children of Dune. She's has been on many TV shows: Owen Marshall Attorney and at Law, Fairytale Theater, Oxford blues, and Earthy Possessions to name a few. In

     Barbara Stanwyck was born, Ruby Catherine Stevens on July 16, 1907, and died on January 20, 1990. She got her start in 1922, 23 as a Ziegfeld girl. After that, she started making movies. She made many many movies. Some of them are: Double Indemnity, Sorry Wrong Number. So Big, The Miracle Worker, Annie Oakley, Interns Can't Take Money, Breakfast For Two, and Titanic. When her movie career started winding down . She turned to television. She became a household name. After she starred as the matriarch of The Big Valley. She also had roles in Colby, Dynasty, Thorn Birds and Wagon Train. She was always known for playing the tough woman. If you want to see how tough she was look at some of the old Big Valley episodes. I sure would not want to go against her.

     Royal Edward Dano was born on November 16, 1922, and died June 15, 1994. He played Abe Lincoln in a couple of movies, a TV miniseries, and he also did the voice of Abe Lincoln in great moment of Abe Lincoln at Disneyland. He was personally chosen by Walt Disney to do the voice. On one Rifleman episode. He played a deranged man who thought he was Abe Lincoln. He has been in many movies. Some of them are: The Red Badge of Courage, TheBend of The River, Seven Faces of Dr. Lao, Gunpoint, Skin Game and Gloulies II. . He also appeared on many TV shows, including Father Knows Best, Gunsmoke, Rifleman, Bonanza, Emergency and Little House on the Prairie.

     Willaim Scott Jack Elam was born on November 13, 1920, and died on October 20, 2003. He had one weird looking eye. The reason it was that way was when he was a kid he got a pencil in that eye. Ever since that time that eye looked off to the side. He started in many movies. Some of them were High Lonesome, Rawhide, A Pocketful of Miracles, Support Your Local Sheriff, Rio Lobo, The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again, The Creature From the Black Lake, and the Cattle Queen of Montana. He also guest starred in several TV programs, including The Rifleman, Tombstone Territory, Have Gun Will and Travel, Gunsmoke, The Twilight Zone" and F Troop.

    Marty Allen Marty Feldman was born on July 8, 1934, and died in December 2, 1982. He was known for his misaligned eyes. They were misaligned because of a bout with Graves disease when he was young. He was a well-known British comedian before he came to the states. After he came to the states he was in many movies. Some of them are: Young Frankenstein, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother, The last remake of Beau Geste, In God We Tru$t, and Yellow beard. He was also in The Muppet show, and he had several shows on TV bearing his name.

     Harry Bratsberg sometime spelled Bratsburg , was known as Harry Morgan, also billed as Henry Morgan. He was born on April 10, 1915, and died December 7, 2011. He was best known for two roles. First, he played Bill Gannon on Dragnet opposite Jack Webb's, Joe Friday. Years later he joined the M*A*S*H ensemble. First, he had a guest appearance as an eccentric Maj. Gen., then the next year they made him colonel in charge of the 4077. He was a father figure to the whole M*A*S*H unit. After M*A*S*H was over, he was in a press conference. Someone asked him, do you think being on M*A*S*H made you a better actor. He answered I don't know about that, but it made me a better human being. That line right there tells you what kind of a person Henry Morgan was. He has been tons of movies. I could fill this page if I listed all his movies. So I am only going to list just a few of them. His first movie was to the Shores of Tripoli, he also play in The Oxbow Incident, Gentle Annie, The Glen Miller Story, Strategic Air Command, Pete Kelly's Blues, Support Your local Sheriff, Barefoot Executive, Charlie and the Angel, The Apple Dumpling Gang, and The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again.

    Nehemiah Pursoff with born August 2, 1919 in Jerusalem. He is known for playing Eastern Europeans, also Spanish and Mexican roles. Some of the movies he has been in are` Naked City, Some Like it Hot, Tenderfoot, Red Sky at Morning, The Greatest Story Ever Told, Yentl, and twins. He is also been in many TV shows: Gilligan's Island, Hawaii Five 0, Little House on the Prairie, Battlestar Galactica, Quincy ME, MacGyver, Murder She Wrote and Route 66 to name a few. As he got older he took up painting and is and accomplished painter.

    Walter Clearance Taylor Jr. was born on February 26, 1973, died October 3, 1994. His name was later shortened to W Taylor and later shortened to Dub Taylor. He was also referred to as Cannonball Taylor in some movies. He was well-known for his bowler hat his unshaven face and his unique way of laughing. He is a father of Walter Clayton Taylor III also known as, Buck Taylor. Buck Taylor became well-known as Newly on the Gunsmoke series. Dub Taylor appeared with Buck on several Gunsmoke episodes. Buck was born on May 13, 1938. Buck is now an accomplished painter, he likes watercolors. Some of Dubs movies are, No Time for Sergeants, Major Dundee, Hallelujah Trail, Cincinnati Kid, Bonnie and Clyde, Johnny Bronco, and Bandolero, Shakiest Gun in the West, Support your local Sheriff, and Evel Knievel. He also appeared in many TV series. Among them are The Roy Rogers Show, I Love Lucy, Casey Jones, Perry Mason, Surfside 6, Twilight Zone, Hazel, The Little House on the Prairie, and Gunsmoke, which I talked about earlier.

     Anthony Zerby was born on May 20, 1936 , he played in many movies, including Will Penny, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, Kung Fu, Rooster Cogburn. How the West was Won, Soggy Bottom USA, Steel Dawn, To Save a Child, and Star Trek The Insurrection. He was also in a lot of TV shows, Naked City, The Virginian. Bonanza, It Takes a Thief, Ironsides, Colombo, The Little House on the Prairie, and Highway to Heaven, to name a few. There was also a short-lived series called Young Riders, where he had a starring role, he played a man called Aloyusius 'teaspoon Hunter. He was in charge of the Young Pony Express Riders. I thought it was a good series, but I think it's timing was off. Western shows were already on their way out. So it only lasted three years.

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