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 the term more commonly refers to an actor who frequently plays a distinctive and important supporting role. Character actors are generally well-known and recognizable by the audience (by appearance if not by name), even if they play different types of roles in different movies.
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.
The term is used primarily to describe television and film actors, as opposed to those in the theater.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.
In contrast to leading actors, they are generally seen as less glamorous.While a leading actor often has the physical attractiveness considered necessary to play the love interest, a character actor typically does not. In fact, some character actors are known for their unusual looks. For example, Chicago character actor William Schutz's face was disfigured in a car accident when he was five years old, but his appearance after reconstructive surgery helped him to be 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. Some character actors have been described as instantly recognizable despite their names being little known.
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 age. 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 and theatrical agents steer the actor to similar roles. Some character actors are known as "chameleons", able to play roles that vary wildly, such as Gary Oldman. Some character actors develop a cult following.
Character actors tend to play the same type of role throughout their careers,such as Harvey Keitel as tough and determined; Christopher Lloyd as an eccentric; Claude Rains as sophisticated, sometimes morally ambiguous men; Abe Vigoda as an aging criminal; Fairuza Balk as moody goth girls; Doug Jones playing non-human creatures; and Forest Whitaker as composed characters with underlying volatility. 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, hooker with a heart of gold, and many others. A character actor's roles are often substantially different from their real-life persona. Good character actors, such as Margo Martindale, are rarely out of work, and they often have long careers that span decades. They are often highly esteemed by fellow actors.
A clown is a person who performs comedy and arts in a state of open-mindedness using physical comedy, typically while wearing distinct makeup or costuming and reversing folkway-norms.
Paul Muni was an American stage and film actor who grew up in Chicago. Muni was a five-time Academy Award nominee, with one win. He started his acting career in the Yiddish theater. During the 1930s, he was considered one of the most prestigious actors at the Warner Bros. studio and was given the rare privilege of choosing which parts he wanted.
Bishōnen is a Japanese term literally meaning "beautiful youth (boy)" and describes an aesthetic that can be found in disparate areas in East Asia: a young man of androgynous beauty. This word originated from the Tang dynasty poem Eight Immortals of the Wine Cup by Du Fu. It has always shown the strongest manifestation in Japanese pop culture, gaining in popularity due to the androgynous glam rock bands of the 1970s, but it has roots in ancient Japanese literature, the androsocial and androerotic ideals of the medieval Chinese imperial court and intellectuals, and Indian aesthetic concepts carried over from Hinduism, imported with Buddhism to China. Today, bishōnen are very popular among girls and women in Japan. Reasons for this social phenomenon may include the unique male and female social relationships found within the genre. Some have theorized that bishōnen provide a non-traditional outlet for gender relations. Moreover, it breaks down stereotypes surrounding feminine male characters. These are often depicted with very strong martial arts abilities, sports talent, high intelligence, dandy fashion, or comedic flair, traits that are usually assigned to the hero/protagonist.
Gary Leonard Oldman is an English actor and filmmaker. Known for his versatility and intense acting style, he has received various accolades, including an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and three British Academy Film Awards. His films have grossed over $11 billion worldwide, making him one of the highest-grossing actors of all time.
Sid and Nancy is a 1986 British biographical film directed by Alex Cox, co-written with Abbe Wool, and starring Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb. The film portrays the life of Sid Vicious, bassist of the punk rock band the Sex Pistols, and his destructive relationship with girlfriend Nancy Spungen. The film also features supporting performances from David Hayman, Xander Berkeley, and Courtney Love.
Keir Atwood Dullea is an American actor. He played astronaut David Bowman in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey and its 1984 sequel, 2010: The Year We Make Contact. His other film roles include David and Lisa (1962), Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965) and Black Christmas (1974). Dullea studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City. He has also performed on stage in New York City and in regional theaters; he has said that, despite being more recognized for his film work, he prefers the stage.
In theater, an understudy, referred to in opera as cover or covering, is a performer who learns the lines and blocking or choreography of a regular actor, actress, or other performer in a play. Should the regular actor or actress be unable to appear on stage because of illness, injury, emergencies or death, the understudy takes over the part. Usually when the understudy takes over, the theater manager announces the cast change prior to the start of the performance. Coined in 1874, the term understudy has more recently generally been applied only to performers who can back up a role, but still regularly perform in another role.
Peter Hayden Dinklage is an American film, television and stage actor. He received international recognition for portraying Tyrion Lannister on the HBO television series Game of Thrones (2011–2019), for which he won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series a record of four times. He also received a Golden Globe Award in 2011 and a Screen Actors Guild Award in 2020 for the role.
Noh is a major form of classical Japanese dance-drama that has been performed since the 14th century. Developed by Kan'ami and his son Zeami, it is the oldest major theatre art that is still regularly performed today. Although the terms Noh and nōgaku are sometimes used interchangeably, nōgaku encompasses both Noh and kyōgen. Traditionally, a full nōgaku program included several Noh plays with comedic kyōgen plays in between; an abbreviated program of two Noh plays with one kyōgen piece has become common today. Optionally, the ritual performance Okina may be presented in the very beginning of nōgaku presentation.
Abraham Charles Vigoda was an American actor known for his portrayals of Salvatore Tessio in The Godfather (1972) and Phil Fish in both Barney Miller and Fish (1977–1978).
Barney Miller is an American sitcom television series set in a New York City Police Department police station on East 6th St in Greenwich Village. The series was broadcast on ABC Network from January 23, 1975, to May 20, 1982. It was created by Danny Arnold and Theodore J. Flicker. Noam Pitlik directed the majority of the episodes. It spawned a spin-off series, Fish, that ran from February 5, 1977, to May 18, 1978, focusing on the character Philip K. Fish.
Philip Seymour Hoffman was an American actor. Known for his distinctive supporting and character roles—lowlifes, eccentrics, underdogs, and misfits—he acted in many films and theatrical productions, including leading roles, from the early 1990s until his death in 2014.
Jon Raymond Polito was an American character actor. 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 and Christoph Waltz.
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle is a 2000 American live-action/animated adventure slapstick comedy film directed by Des McAnuff and produced by Universal Pictures, based on the television cartoon of the same name by Jay Ward. Animated characters Rocky and Bullwinkle share the screen with live actors portraying Fearless Leader, Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale along with Randy Quaid, Piper Perabo, Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell. June Foray reprised her role as Rocky, while Keith Scott voiced Bullwinkle and the film's narrator. It also features cameo appearances by performers including James Rebhorn, Paget Brewster, Janeane Garofalo, John Goodman, David Alan Grier, Don Novello, Jon Polito, Carl Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, Max Grodenchik, Norman Lloyd, Jonathan Winters and Billy Crystal. The film follows a young rookie FBI agent named Karen Sympathy enlisting the help of Rocky and Bullwinkle to stop Boris, Natasha, and Fearless Leader from taking over the United States.
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, The Game, Carlito's Way, Independence Day, My Cousin Vinny, and Meet the Parents.
Edward Matthew Lauter Jr. was an American actor and stand-up comedian. He appeared in more than 200 films and TV series episodes in a career that spanned over 40 years.
Det. Steven "Steve" Crosetti is a fictional character on the television drama series Homicide: Life on the Street portrayed by actor Jon Polito for the show's first two seasons. He is believed to be based on Baltimore Police Department Det. Terry McLarney, who was in the BPD homicide unit in David Simon's book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets; the character's ancestry was changed from Irish to Italian because Polito got the role.
An actor or actress 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 a role—the art of acting—pertains to the role played, whether based on a real person or fictional character. This can also be considered an "actor's role," which was called this due to scrolls being used in the theaters. Interpretation occurs even when the actor is "playing themselves", as in some forms of experimental performance art.
The Hamnet Players, founded in 1993, perform virtual theatre (cyberformance) using IRC chat.
Bill Doherty Jr. is an American actor.
...often in supporting roles - rarely are they leading men or leading ladies, and often times they're put into a certain type of role over and over again...
... much less glamorous effect on their audiences ... chameleon-like ability to play a great variety of roles ... subsuming themselves into the part until they are almost unrecognisable... good character actors are rarely out of work.
... definitions for acting are always very tricky. What is a 'character actor'? What is a 'lead'? What is 'supporting'? ... It drives me nuts...
... co-leads and cameos ... character actors. But every part plays a character...
...Jon Polito: I think a character actor ... is someone off to the side ... the baddie ... the best friend. A mother role ... stuff that fills in the plot from the center of the movie...
...became one of Hollywood’s most dependable supporting actresses playing, as she once described, "women with a heart of gold and a corset of steel.
...one of Hollywood's most prominent rising stars ... the emergence of a great character actor ... beautiful men and women can have the public get past their looks ...
...When he was 5, a horrific car crash ... reconstructive surgeries followed, yet could not entirely match the right side of his face with the left...
Rebhorn worked constantly, but seldom above the marquee.
...oversized personalities and penchant for playing villainous goons made them unforgettable (even if you couldn't quite place their names)
...long, angular face and stern bearing made him an instantly recognizable figure..
...consummate professional who evokes admiration and awe in his colleagues...