A character actor is a supporting actor who plays unusual, interesting, or eccentric characters.The term, often contrasted with that of leading actor, is somewhat abstract and open to interpretation. In a literal sense, all actors can be considered character actors since they all play "characters", but in the usual sense it is an actor who plays a distinctive and important supporting role.
A supporting actor is an actor who performs a role in a play or film below that of the leading actor(s), and above that of a bit part. In recognition of important nature of this work, the theater and film industries give separate awards to the best supporting actors and actresses.
A character is a person or other being in a narrative. The character may be entirely fictional or based on a real-life person, in which case the distinction of a "fictional" versus "real" character may be made. Derived from the ancient Greek word χαρακτήρ, the English word dates from the Restoration, although it became widely used after its appearance in Tom Jones in 1749. From this, the sense of "a part played by an actor" developed. Character, particularly when enacted by an actor in the theatre or cinema, involves "the illusion of being a human person". In literature, characters guide readers through their stories, helping them to understand plots and ponder themes. Since the end of the 18th century, the phrase "in character" has been used to describe an effective impersonation by an actor. Since the 19th century, the art of creating characters, as practiced by actors or writers, has been called characterisation.
A leading actor, leading actress, star, or simply lead, plays the role of the protagonist of a film, television show or play. The word lead may also refer to the largest role in the piece and leading actor may refer to a person who typically plays such parts or an actor with a respected body of work. Some actors are typecast as leads, but most play the lead in some performances and supporting or character roles in others.
A character actor may play characters who are very different from the actor's off-screen real-life personality, while in another sense a character actor may be one who specializes in minor roles. In either case, character actor roles are more substantial than bit parts or non-speaking extras.
A bit part is a role in which there is direct interaction with the principal actors and no more than five lines of dialogue, often referred to as a five-or-less or under-five in the United States, or under sixes in British television.
A background actor or extra is a performer in a film, television show, stage, musical, opera or ballet production, who appears in a nonspeaking or nonsinging (silent) capacity, usually in the background. War films and epic films often employ background actors in large numbers: some films have featured hundreds or even thousands of paid background actors as cast members. Likewise, grand opera can involve many background actors appearing in spectacular productions.
The term is used primarily to describe television and film actors.An early use of the term was in the 1883 edition of The Stage , which defined a character actor as "one who portrays individualities and eccentricities". Actors with a long career history of playing character roles may be difficult for audiences to recognize as being the same actor.
Television (TV), sometimes shortened to tele or telly, is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images in monochrome, or in color, and in two or three dimensions and sound. The term can refer to a television set, a television program, or the medium of television transmission. Television is a mass medium for advertising, entertainment and news.
A film, also called a movie, motion picture, moving picture, or photoplay, is a series of still images that, when shown on a screen, create the illusion of moving images. This optical illusion causes the audience to perceive continuous motion between separate objects viewed in rapid succession. The process of filmmaking is both an art and an industry. A film is created by photographing actual scenes with a motion-picture camera, by photographing drawings or miniature models using traditional animation techniques, by means of CGI and computer animation, or by a combination of some or all of these techniques, and other visual effects.
The Stage is a British weekly newspaper and website covering the entertainment industry, and particularly theatre. It was founded in 1880. It contains news, reviews, opinion, features, and recruitment advertising, mainly directed at those who work in theatre and the performing arts.
Unlike leading actors, they are generally seen as less glamorous.While a leading actor often has physical beauty needed to play the love interest, a character actor may be short or tall, heavy or thin, balding, older, or simply unconventional-looking and distinctive in some physical way. For example, the face of Chicago character actor William Schutz was disfigured in a car accident when he was five years old, but his appearance despite reconstructive surgery helped him to be memorable and distinctive to theater audiences. Generally, the names of character actors are not featured prominently in movie and television advertising on the marquee, since a character actor's name is not expected to attract film audiences. The roles that character actors play in film or television are often identified by only one name, such as "Officer Fred", while roles of leading actors often have a full name, such as "Captain Jack Sparrow". Some character actors have distinctive voices or accents, or they develop memorable mannerisms. A character actor with a long career may not have a well-known name, yet may be instantly recognizable.
A marquee is most commonly a structure placed over the entrance to a hotel or theatre. It has signage stating either the name of the establishment or, in the case of theatres, the play or movie and the artist(s) appearing at that venue. The marquee is often identifiable by a surrounding cache of light bulbs, usually yellow or white, that flash intermittently or as chasing lights.
During the course of an acting career, an actor can sometimes shift between leading roles and secondary roles.Some leading actors, as they get older, find that access to leading roles is limited by their increasing age. In the past, actors of color, who were often barred from roles for which they were otherwise suited, found work performing ethnic stereotypes. Sometimes character actors have developed careers based on specific talents needed in genre films, such as dancing, horsemanship, acrobatics, swimming ability, or boxing. Many up-and-coming actors find themselves typecast in character roles due to an early success with a particular part or in a certain genre, such that the actor becomes so strongly identified with a particular type of role that casting directors steer the actor to similar roles. Some character actors play essentially the same character over and over, as with Andy Devine's humorous but resourceful sidekick, while other actors, such as Sir Laurence Olivier, have the capacity of submerging themselves in any role they play. That being said, some character actors can be known as "chameleons", actors who can play roles that vary wildly. One such example of this is Gary Oldman. Some character actors develop a cult following with a particular audience, such as with the fans of Star Trek or The Rocky Horror Picture Show .
Ageism is stereotyping and discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of their age. This may be casual or systematic. The term was coined in 1969 by Robert Neil Butler to describe discrimination against seniors, and patterned on sexism and racism. Butler defined "ageism" as a combination of three connected elements. Among them were prejudicial attitudes towards older people, old age, and the aging process; discriminatory practices against older people; and institutional practices and policies that perpetuate stereotypes about elderly people.
In television, film, and theatre, typecasting is the process by which a particular actor becomes strongly identified with a specific character; one or more particular roles; or, characters having the same traits or coming from the same social or ethnic groups. There have been instances in which an actor has been so strongly identified with a role as to make it difficult for them to find work playing other characters.
Andrew Vabre Devine was an American character actor known for his distinctive raspy, crackly voice and roles in Western films. He is probably best remembered for his role as Cookie, the sidekick of Roy Rogers in 10 feature films. He also appeared alongside John Wayne in films like Stagecoach (1939), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and How the West Was Won. He is also remembered as Jingles on the TV series The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok from 1951 to 1958, as Danny McGuire in A Star Is Born (1937) and as the voice of Friar Tuck in the Disney Animation film Robin Hood (1973).
Character actors tend to play the same type of role throughout their careers,including Harvey Keitel as a "tough and determined guy", Dame Maggie Smith as an "upstanding lady matriarch", Christopher Lloyd as an eccentric, Claude Rains as a "sophisticated, sometimes ambiguously moral man", Abe Vigoda as a "leathery, sunken-eyed" and tired hoodlum on the verge of retirement, Christopher Walken as a "speech maker", Vincent Schiavelli as "the confused guy", Fairuza Balk as a "moody goth girl", Steve Buscemi as "a quirky, smart guy with a mind just outside of reality" and Forest Whitaker as a "calm, composed character with an edge and potential to explode". Ed Lauter usually portrayed a menacing figure because of his "long, angular face" which was easily recognized in public, although audiences rarely knew his name. Character actors can play a variety of types, such as the femme fatale, gunslinger, sidekick, town drunk, villain, whore with a heart of gold, and many others. A character actor's roles are often perceived as being substantially different from their perceived real-life persona, meaning that they do not portray an extension of themselves, but rather a character substantially different from their off-screen persona. Character actors subsume themselves into the characters they portray, such that their off-screen acting persona is practically unrecognizable. According to one view, great character actors are rarely out of work, and often have long careers that span decades. They are also often highly regarded by fellow actors.
Harvey Keitel is an American actor and producer. He has starred in films such as Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), The Duellists (1977), Bugsy (1991), Thelma & Louise (1991), Reservoir Dogs (1992), The Piano (1993), Pulp Fiction (1994), From Dusk till Dawn (1996), Cop Land (1997), Red Dragon (2002), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), and Isle of Dogs (2018).
Christopher Allen Lloyd is an American actor, voice actor, and comedian. Lloyd came to public attention in Northeastern theater productions during the 1960s and early 1970s, earning Drama Desk and Obie awards for his work. He made his screen debut in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), and gained widespread recognition as Jim Ignatowski in the comedy series Taxi (1978–1983), for which he won two Emmy Awards. Lloyd also starred as Emmett "Doc" Brown in the Back to the Future trilogy, Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), and Uncle Fester in The Addams Family (1991) and its sequel Addams Family Values (1993).
William Claude Rains was an English–American film and stage actor whose career spanned several decades. After his American film debut as Dr. Jack Griffin in The Invisible Man (1933) he appeared in classic films such as The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), The Wolf Man (1941), Casablanca and Kings Row, Notorious (1946), The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1957), and Lawrence of Arabia (1962).
Billy Bob Thornton is an American actor, filmmaker, singer, songwriter, and musician.
Alfredo James Pacino is an American actor and filmmaker who has had a career spanning more than five decades. He has received numerous accolades and honors both competitive and honorary, among them an Academy Award, two Tony Awards, two Primetime Emmy Awards, a British Academy Film Award, four Golden Globe Awards, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute, the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award and the National Medal of Arts. He is one of few performers to have won a competitive Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony Award for acting, dubbed the "Triple Crown of Acting".
Voice acting is the art of performing voice-overs or providing voices to represent a character or to provide information to an audience or user. Examples include animated, off-stage, off-screen or non-visible characters in various works, including feature films, dubbed foreign language films, animated short films, television programs, commercials, radio or audio dramas, comedy, video games, puppet shows, amusement rides, audiobooks and documentaries. Voice acting is also done for small handheld audio games.
Robert William Hoskins was an English actor. His work included lead roles in Pennies from Heaven (1978), The Long Good Friday (1980), Mona Lisa (1986), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Mermaids (1990), and Super Mario Bros. (1993), and supporting performances in Brazil (1985), Hook (1991), Nixon (1995), Enemy at the Gates (2001), Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005), A Christmas Carol (2009), Made in Dagenham (2010), and Snow White and the Huntsman (2012). He also directed two feature films.
A persona, in the word's everyday usage, is a social role or a character played by an actor. The word is derived from Latin, where it originally referred to a theatrical mask. The Latin word probably derived from the Etruscan word "phersu", with the same meaning, and that from the Greek πρόσωπον (prosōpon). Its meaning in the latter Roman period changed to indicate a "character" of a theatrical performance or court of law, when it became apparent that different individuals could assume the same role, and legal attributes such as rights, powers, and duties followed the role. The same individuals as actors could play different roles, each with its own legal attributes, sometimes even in the same court appearance. According to other sources, which also admit that the origin of the term is not completely clear, persona could possibly be related to the Latin verb per-sonare, literally: sounding through, with an obvious link to the above-mentioned theatrical mask, which often incorporated a small megaphone.
Michael Jeter was an American actor of film, stage, and television. His television roles included Herman Stiles on the sitcom Evening Shade from 1990 until 1994 and Mr. Noodle's brother, Mister Noodle on the Elmo's World segments of Sesame Street from 1999 until 2004. Jeter's film roles include Zelig, Tango & Cash, The Fisher King, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, Waterworld, Air Bud, Patch Adams, The Green Mile, Jurassic Park III, Welcome to Collinwood, Open Range, and The Polar Express.
Abraham Charles Vigoda was an American actor best known for his portrayals of Salvatore Tessio in The Godfather (1972) and Phil Fish in Barney Miller and Fish (1977–1978).
In professional wrestling, a heel is a wrestler who portrays a villain or a "bad guy" and acts as an antagonist to the faces, who are the heroic protagonist or "good guy" characters.
Robert Kelker-Kelly is an American soap opera actor and pilot, best known for playing Bo Brady on the NBC soap opera Days of Our Lives from 1992 to 1995. He is also known for his portrayals of Sam Fowler on Another World from 1987 to 1990, and for the role of Stavros Cassadine on General Hospital from 2001 to 2003, and again in 2013 and 2014.
Josh James Brolin is an American actor. Brolin is known for his wide range of films such as The Goonies (1985), Flirting with Disaster (1996), Mimic (1997), Grindhouse (2007), No Country for Old Men (2007), American Gangster (2007), W. (2008), Milk (2008), True Grit (2010), Men in Black 3 (2012), Inherent Vice (2014), Sicario (2015), Hail, Caesar! (2016), and Deadpool 2 (2018).
Shelley Alexis Duvall is an American former actress, producer, writer and singer. Over the duration of her career, Duvall garnered critical acclaim for her portrayals of various eccentric characters.
Jon Raymond Polito was an American character actor and voice artist. In a film and television career spanning 35 years, he amassed over 220 credits. Notable television roles included Detective Steve Crosetti in the first two seasons of Homicide: Life on the Street and as Phil Bartoli on the first season of Crime Story. He also appeared in several films including The Rocketeer, The Crow and Gangster Squad, as well as his work with the Coen brothers. He appeared in five of their films, including Miller's Crossing, Barton Fink and The Big Lebowski. Polito also portrayed legendary "hungry i" nightclub impresario Enrico Banducci in a large supporting role in Tim Burton's 2014 film Big Eyes starring Amy Adams.
Joshua Lucas Easy Dent Maurer is an American actor. He has appeared in various films, including You Can Count on Me, A Beautiful Mind, Sweet Home Alabama, Hulk, Secondhand Lions, Stealth, An Unfinished Life, Glory Road, Poseidon, Management, Life as We Know It, The Lincoln Lawyer, J. Edgar, Red Dog, and Breakthrough. His television roles include The Firm, The Mysteries of Laura, and Yellowstone, Snowy River The McGregor Saga.
Prabhu is an Indian film actor, businessman and film producer who has predominantly appeared in Tamil language films and also in a few Malayalam and Telugu films. He is the son of veteran actor Sivaji Ganesan, while his son Vikram Prabhu is also a Tamil actor. After making his debut in Sangili (1982), the actor has played a series of leading and supporting roles, earning the Best Actor award recognition by the Tamil Nadu state for his portrayal in Chinna Thambi (1992).
James Robert Rebhorn was an American character actor who appeared in over 100 films, television series, and plays. At the time of his death, he had recurring roles in the series White Collar and Homeland. He also appeared in films such as Scent of a Woman, Carlito's Way, Independence Day, My Cousin Vinny, and Meet the Parents.
Erin Fitzgerald is a Canadian-American voice actress who provides voice-overs for a number of cartoons, video games and English language dubs of Japanese anime. In animation, she voices May Kanker and Nazz in Ed, Edd n Eddy, and voices major characters in The Jungle Bunch, Batman: Year One, Monster High and Ever After High. In video games, she voices female leads Yrel in World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, Chie Satonaka in the Persona 4 series of games starting with Persona 4 Golden and Noire in the Hyperdimension Neptunia series. In anime shows, she has voiced in Sailor Moon, Bleach, Naruto Shippuden, Knights of Sidonia and Glitter Force.
Denis Lavant is a French actor known for his distinctive face and the physically demanding aspects of the roles he plays, which often involve slapstick, acrobatics or dance, as well as for his long-standing association with director Leos Carax. Lavant has played the lead role in all but one of Carax's films. Lavant is also known for his roles in Claire Denis' Beau Travail, and Harmony Korine's Mister Lonely.
A wide variety of characters have appeared on the American children's television series Sesame Street. A large number of the characters are Muppets, which are puppets made in Jim Henson's distinctive puppet-creation style. Most of the non-Muppet characters are human characters, but there are many characters that are animated.
An actor is a person who portrays a character in a performance. The actor performs "in the flesh" in the traditional medium of the theatre or in modern media such as film, radio, and television. The analogous Greek term is ὑποκριτής (hupokritḗs), literally "one who answers". The actor's interpretation of their role—the art of acting—pertains to the role played, whether based on a real person or fictional character. Interpretation occurs even when the actor is "playing themselves", as in some forms of experimental performance art.