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Character Actors

Let’s have some fun here. On a recent open thread, the subject of character actors came up. It ignited such a flurry of responses that I knew the topic deserved a post of its own. So here we go.

Character actors. You see them everywhere. You may not always know their names, but you’d know their faces anywhere. They seldom, if ever, get a leading role, but they can always find work. They often display a great deal of talent in the variety of roles they play. I have my favorites among them, and I’m sure many of you do too. So let’s cut loose and give them the appreciation they so richly deserve.

I’m going to start with the man I think is the ultimate character actor, William Schallert. This guy has appeared in just about everything, and always played his parts well.

Clyde Kusatsu

If you needed an Asian, Clyde Kusatsu was there. Any kind of Asian. He played a Japanese naval commander in Midway, a Korean bartender in M*A*S*H, and even took on the role of a Chinese ninja to go hand to hand with Kwai Chang Caine in the Kung Fu TV series. He has appeared in over 200 films and God only knows how many TV appearances he’s had.

Robert Webber

I can’t think of character actors without this guy coming to mind. When I was watching TV back in the 70s, he showed up in so many places that I had to learn his name. I think he may have been the one who started me on the road to learning so many actors’ names.

Here are a few more of my favorites:

Harry Townes

R. G. Armstrong

Warren Stevens

Whit Bissell

And last but not least, Michael Ansara.

These are just a few of the character actors whose work I’ve admired over the years. I may add a few more in the comments section. Let’s hear yours. And if you can do a quick internet search to come up with a photo so we’ll know who you’re talking about, even better.


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