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 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 character actor can also be the leading actor in their films, such as Wallace Beery, whose major silent film career exploded during the sound era.
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.
In contrast to 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 typically does not. Some character actors are known for their unusual looks. 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 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. [ citation needed ] 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, or David Warner's sci-fi villains. Others, like Sir Laurence Olivier, submerge themselves in any role they play. 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, like the fans of Star Trek or The Rocky Horror Picture Show .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.
Character actors tend to play the same type of role throughout their careers,like 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, 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 are rarely out of work, and they often have long careers that span decades. They are often highly regarded by fellow actors.
Eli Herschel Wallach was an American film, television and stage actor whose career spanned more than seven decades, beginning in the late 1940s. Trained in stage acting, which he enjoyed doing most, he became "one of the greatest 'character actors' ever to appear on stage and screen", with over 90 film credits. He and his wife Anne Jackson often appeared together on stage, and were one of the best-known acting couples in American theater. As a stage and screen character actor, Wallach had one of the longest-ever careers in show business, spanning 62 years from his Broadway debut to his last two major Hollywood studio movies.
Paul Muni was an Austro-Hungarian-born 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.
Paul Edward Winfield was an American television, film and stage actor. He was known for his portrayal of a Louisiana sharecropper who struggles to support his family during the Great Depression in the landmark film Sounder (1972), which earned him an Academy Award nomination. He portrayed Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1978 television miniseries King, for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award. Winfield was also known for his roles in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, The Terminator, L.A. Law, and 24 episodes of the sitcom 227. He received four Emmy nominations overall, winning in 1995 for his 1994 guest role in Picket Fences.
Christopher Walken is an American actor and comedian who has appeared in more than 100 films and television programs, including Annie Hall (1977), The Deer Hunter (1978), The Dogs of War (1980), The Dead Zone (1983), A View to a Kill (1985), King of New York (1990), Batman Returns (1992), True Romance (1993), Pulp Fiction (1994), Antz (1998), Vendetta (1999), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Joe Dirt (2001), Catch Me If You Can (2002), Click (2006), Hairspray (2007), Seven Psychopaths (2012), the first three Prophecy films, The Jungle Book (2016), and Irreplaceable You (2018). He has received a number of awards and nominations, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for The Deer Hunter. He was nominated for the same award and won BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild Awards for Catch Me If You Can. His films have grossed more than $1 billion in the United States alone.
Gary Leonard Oldman is an English actor and filmmaker. Regarded as one of the best actors of his generation, he is known for his versatility and intense acting style. Oldman is the recipient of numerous accolades, including an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and three British Academy Film Awards. His films have grossed over $11 billion worldwide, making him one of the highest-grossing actors to date.
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 or actress 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.
Charles Nelson Reilly was an American actor, comedian, director, and drama teacher known for his comedic roles on stage, film, and television. Reilly performed in the original Broadway casts of Bye Bye Birdie, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and Hello, Dolly!, while his television credits include The Ghost & Mrs. Muir and Match Game. A recording of his autobiographical one-man play Save It for the Stage: The Life of Reilly was adapted into a 2006 independent film.
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, director, and producer. Best known for his distinctive supporting and character roles—typically lowlifes, eccentrics, bullies and misfits—he acted in many films, including leading roles, from the early 1990s until his death in 2014.
In film, television, 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.
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.
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.
Henry Gibson was an American actor, singer, and songwriter.
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle is a 2000 American live-action/animated adventure 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.
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.
Rangaraj Subbiah, professionally known as Sathyaraj, is an Indian actor, producer, director, media personality and a former politician who has predominantly appeared in Tamil cinema. His 200 films also include works in Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi.
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.
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 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.
Bill Doherty Jr. is an American actor.
... definitions for acting are always very tricky. What is a 'character actor'? What is a 'lead'? What is 'supporting'? ... It drives me nuts...
...consummate professional who evokes admiration and awe in his colleagues...