Lesser Known Great Actresses And Actors

In no particular order, some great lesser known actresses and actors who have delivered some marvellous performances (often in brief supporting roles), with a few recommendations of examples of their work.

Obviously, 'lesser known' is a relative term depending to a large extent on how much of a movie aficionado someone might be; you might know all of the following, or you might discover someone new. Either way, here's acknowledging their great work.

The list will be a work in progress, and I'll continue adding names occassionally.
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1.
Richard Jordan
Harvard-educated stage and screen actor Richard Jordan was born into a socially prominent family on July 19, 1937 in New York City, the grandson of Learned Hand, the greatest American jurist never to have served on the U.S. Supreme Court. Newbold Morris, his stepfather, was a member of the New York City Council during Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia's administration...
“ The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973); The Yakuza (1974); Logan's Run (1976); Interiors (1978); The Hunt for Red October (1990). ” - Chaarles
 
2.
Cara Williams
This perky, talented, blue-eyed redhead had acting aspirations from the get-go. She was born in Brooklyn on June 29, 1925, as Bernice Kamiat, to an Austrian Jewish father and a Russian Jewish mother. Cara began performing as a child and continued into her teens. After her parents' divorce, she relocated...
“ The Defiant Ones (1958). ” - Chaarles
 
3.
Warren Oates
Warren Oates was an American character actor of the 1960s and 1970s and early 1980s whose distinctive style and intensity brought him to offbeat leading roles. Oates was born in Depoy, a very small Kentucky town. He was the son of Sarah Alice (Mercer) and Bayless Earle Oates, a general store owner...
“ Ride The High Country / Guns In The Afternoon (1962); In the Heat of the Night (1967); The Wild Bunch (1969); Two-Lane Blacktop (1971); Badlands (1973). ” - Chaarles
 
4.
Jean Hagen
Jean Shirley Verhagen (later shortened to Hagen) was born in Chicago, Illinois on August 3, 1923. Her father was a Dutch immigrant. Hagen and her family moved to Elkhart, Indiana when she was twelve; she subsequently graduated from Elkhart High School. Afterwards, she graduated from Northwestern University, where she studied drama and was a roommate of fellow actress Patricia Neal...
“ Singin' in the Rain (1952); The Big Knife (1955). ” - Chaarles
 
5.
William Smithers
Although character actor William (or Bill) Smithers is not recognizable perhaps by name, the face is definitely familiar especially to baby boomer TV fans. A smart, articulate, well-groomed actor with noticeably premature gray hair, Smithers is probably best remembered for his on-again, off-again role as arch-villain Jeremy Wendell who frequently crossed paths with J.R...
“ Attack (1956); The Brotherhood of the Bell (1970); Papillon (1973) ” - Chaarles
 
6.
Karl Malden
Born to a Czech mother and a Serbian father in Chicago as Mladen Sekulovich, on March 22, 1912, Karl Malden did not speak English until he was in kindergarten. After graduating from high school in the nearby steel town of Gary, Indiana, Malden worked in the industry for three years until 1934, when he was frustrated with the drudgery of manual labor...
“ On the Waterfront (1954); One-Eyed Jacks (1961); The Birdman of Alcatraz (1962). ” - Chaarles
 
7.
Viola Davis
Actress, The Help
Actress Viola Davis was born on her grandmother's farm, at the then-Singleton Plantation in St. Matthews, South Carolina. When she was two months old her family moved to Central Falls, Rhode Island, where her father, Dan Davis, worked as a horse groomer and trainer. Her mother, Mary Alice (Logan), a maid and factory worker...
“ Solaris (2002); Syriana (2005); Law Abiding Citizen (2009); The Help (2011).

[Obviously, more recently Viola Davis has become better known and recieved more of the attention she is due, and long may it continue; but for many years she has worked away delivering other powerful performances in supporting roles which should also be checked out] ” - Chaarles
 
8.
“ Shaft (1971); Rollerball (1975). ” - Chaarles
 
9.
Geneviève Bujold
Actress, Dead Ringers
Genevieve Bujold spent her first twelve school years in Montreal's oppressive Hochelaga Convent, where opportunities for self-expression were limited to making welcoming speeches for visiting clerics. As a child she felt 'as if I were in a long dark tunnel trying to convince myself that if I could ever get out there was light ahead'...
“ Anne of the Thousand Days (1969); Obsession (1976); Coma (1978); Tightrope (1984); Dead Ringers (1988). ” - Chaarles
 
10.
Anthony Zerbe
Hailing from Long Beach, California, talented character actor Anthony Zerbe has kept busy in Hollywood and on stage since the late 1960s, often playing villainous or untrustworthy characters, with his narrow gaze and unsettling smirk. Zerbe was born May 20, 1936 in Long Beach, and served a stint in...
“ The Omega Man (1971); Papillon (1973); Licence to Kill (1989). ” - Chaarles
 
11.
Strother Martin
American character actor who achieved considerable fame in the last decade of his life. A native of Kokomo, Indiana, Strother Martin Jr. was the youngest of three children of Strother Douglas Martin, a machinist, and Ethel Dunlap Martin. His family moved soon after his birth to San Antonio, Texas, but quickly returned to Indiana...
“ Cool Hand Luke (1967); True Grit (1969); The Wild Bunch (1969); Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969); Slap Shot (1977); The Streetfighter (1975). ” - Chaarles
 
12.
Alexander Godunov
Actor, Die Hard
He was born on Sakhalin Island at the far eastern end of the former Soviet Union and began studying dance at age 9 in the Riga State Ballet School. He later said his mother put him there to prevent his becoming "a hooligan". One of his classmates and friends at the school was Mikhail Baryshnikov. After graduating he toured with the Moscow Classical Ballet...
“ Witness (1985); The Money Pit (1986); Die Hard (1988). ” - Chaarles
 
13.
Robert J. Wilke
Prolific American character actor of primarily villainous roles. The son of German parents, Cincinnati feed-store manager August Wilke and his wife Rose, Robert Joseph Wilke grew up in Cincinnati. He worked as a lifeguard at a Miami, Florida, hotel, where he made contacts in the film business. He was able to obtain work as a stuntman and continued as such until the mid-'40s...
“ Fargo (1952); High Noon (1952); The Far Country (1954); 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954); Backlash (1956); Hot Summer Night (1957); Night Passage (1957); Return to Warbow (1958); Spartacus (1960); The Magnificent Seven (1960); Blueprint for Robbery (1961); A Gunfight (1971); Days of Heaven (1978). ” - Chaarles
 
14.
“ A Few Good Men (1992); Outbreak (1995); Breakdown (1997). ” - Chaarles
 
15.
Paul Koslo
Lean-faced, intense-looking, German-born, Canada-raised Paul Koslo was at his busiest during the 1970s, usually playing shifty, untrustworthy and often downright nasty characters. He first broke into films at age 22 in the low-budget Little White Crimes, and then appeared in a rush of movies taking advantage of his youthful looks...
“ The Omega Man (1971); The Stone Killer (1973); Mr. Majestyk (1974) ” - Chaarles
 
16.
Timothy Spall
Timothy Leonard Spall was born in Battersea, London, to Sylvia R. (Leonard), a hairdresser, and Joseph L. Spall, a postal worker. He was raised in London. Spall auditioned and earned a spot with the National Youth Theatre and later showed great promise at RADA where he portrayed the title roles in "Macbeth"...
“ The Sheltering Sky (1990); The Last Samurai (2003); Mr. Turner (2014) ” - Chaarles