53 Best Character Actors

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1.
J.K. Simmons
Actor, Whiplash
J.K. Simmons is an American actor. He was born Jonathan Kimble Simmons in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, to Patricia (Kimble), an administrator, and Donald William Simmons, a music teacher. He attended the Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; University of Montana, Missoula, MT (BA in Music). He had originally planned to be a singer and studied at the University of Montana to become a composer...
 
2.
Michael Madsen
Michael Madsen's long career spans 25 years and more than 170 films in which he has played memorable characters in myriad box office hits, including: Kill Bill: Vol. 1, Kill Bill: Vol. 2 Sin City, Hell Ride, Die Another Day, Donnie Brasco, Species, The Getaway, Thelma & Louise...
 
3.
Garret Dillahunt
Garret grew up in the state of Washington and attended the University of Washington where he studied journalism. He received his MFA from New York University's Graduate Acting Program. He has appeared on and off Broadway and in theaters around the country before he began pursuing film and television roles. He has two brothers: Brett, a teacher; and Eric, deceased.
 
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Stephen Root
One of the most prolific character actors working today, Stephen Root has worked alongside many of the biggest names in Hollywood. Born in Sarasota, Root majored in acting and broadcasting at the University of Florida and remains a die-hard Gator fan. After three years of touring the U.S. and Canada with the National Shakespeare Company...
 
6.
Raymond J. Barry
Raymond J. Barry was born in New York, and attended Brown University, where he was a star athlete in football, basketball, and track. While there, he earned his degree in Philosophy and as a senior, was cast in the stage production of "Picnic," where he played a football player. He then entered the Yale Drama School and after completing...
 
7.
Mark Margolis
He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1939 and attended Temple University briefly before moving to New York where he studied drama with Stella Adler and at Actors Studio.
 
9.
Keith David
Actor, Platoon
Keith David was born Keith David Williams in New York City's Harlem district, and was raised in East Elmhurst, in the Queens section of the city. He is the son of Dolores (Dickenson), a New York Telephone manager, and Lester Williams, a payroll operations director. As a child, he realized he wanted...
 
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Ethan Suplee
Ethan Suplee has established himself over the past decade as an actor of considerable talent and accomplishment. His diverse and eclectic resume ranges from hilarious roles in such comedies as Mallrats and Without a Paddle to hauntingly dramatic performances in intense features such as American History X...
 
12.
Daniel Roebuck
Having made his feature film debut starring in the teen comedy Cavegirl Daniel Roebuck quickly realized that there was only one direction to travel in his career. Up! Soon after Cavegirl, Roebuck established himself as one of the industry's youngest character actors with his haunting portrayal as the teenage killer, Samson in The River's Edge...
 
13.
Stephen Tobolowsky
Actor, Memento
Character actor Stephen Tobolowsky was born on May 30, 1951 in Dallas, Texas. Over the past three decades, Tobolowsky has racked up a lengthy list of roles in movies and television across many different genres. While Tobolowsky initially attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas with the intention of studying geology...
 
15.
Gregg Henry
Excellent, prolific and versatile character actor Gregg Lee Henry was born on May 6, 1952 in Lakewood, Colorado. Henry studied acting at the University of Washington in Seattle. Right after graduating from college, Gregg moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue an acting career. He played in a band...
 
16.
Clancy Brown
A tall, wavy-haired US actor with a deep, resonant voice, Clancy Brown has proved himself a versatile performer with first-class contributions to theater, feature films, television series and even animation. Clarence J. Brown III was born in 1959 in Urbana, Ohio, to Joyce Helen (Eldridge), a concert pianist...
 
17.
Patrick Warburton
Patrick Warburton is known to many for the role of "Puddy" in the hit NBC comedy "Seinfeld," the laconic, enigmatic, quirky Saab salesman and Elaine's boyfriend. Warburton starred for 7 seasons on the hit CBS comedy "Rules of Engagement" with David Spade, Oliver Hudson, and Megyn Price about two couples and their single friend...
 
18.
Danny Trejo
Actor, Machete
Danny Trejo was born Dan Trejo in Echo Park, Los Angeles, to Alice (Rivera) and Dan Trejo, a construction worker. A child drug addict and criminal, Trejo was in and out of jail for 11 years. While serving time in San Quentin, he won the lightweight and welterweight boxing titles. Imprisoned for armed robbery and drug offenses...
 
19.
Philip Baker Hall
Philip Baker Hall was born in Toledo, Ohio, to Berdene (McDonald) and William Alexander Hall, a factory worker who was originally from Montgomery, Alabama. He did not start acting until he was 30 years old, and shot to cult fame when he turned in an electrifying performance as Sydney, the veteran gambler...
 
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21.
Ron Perlman
Actor, Hellboy
Ron Perlman is a classically-trained actor who has appeared in countless stage plays, feature films and television productions. Ronald N. Perlman was born April 13, 1950 in Washington Heights, Manhattan, New York. His mother, Dorothy (Rosen), is retired from the City Clerk's Office. His father, Bertram "Bert" Perlman...
 
22.
David Paymer
One of modern TV and moviedom's most sturdy and reliable character actors, David Paymer dreamed of being an actor from early childhood. Although he came from a traditional middle-class Jewish family that urged him to become a doctor or lawyer, Paymer felt more at home in the world of the thespian. At 14...
 
23.
Alfred Molina
Alfred Molina was born in 1953 in London, England. His mother, Giovanna (Bonelli), was an Italian-born cook and cleaner, and his father, Esteban Molina, was a Spanish-born waiter and chauffeur. He studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. His stage work includes two major Royal National Theatre productions...
 
24.
Ving Rhames
Strikingly featured and muscular American actor Ving Rames was born Irving Rameses Rhames in Harlem, New York, to Reather, a homemaker, and Ernest Rhames, an auto mechanic. A good student, Ving entered the New York High School of Performing Arts, where he discovered his love of acting. He studied at the Juilliard School of Drama...
 
26.
Jonathan Banks
Actor, Wiseguy
Versatile veteran character actor Jonathan Banks was born in Washington D.C in 1947. While growing up he always had an interest in acting and stage work, so decided to pursue a career in entertainment. To this day he is a very accomplished stage actor. While acting in film, he usually plays sinister types or villains. He can be seen in Better Call Saul as Mike Ehrmantraut.
 
27.
Richard Riehle
Richard Riehle was born in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, to Mary Margaret (Walsh), a nurse, and Herbert John Riehle, an assistant postmaster. He is of German and Irish descent. Richard attended the University of Notre Dame, where he became heavily involved with the University Theatre. Appearing in such productions as "Luther"...
 
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Giancarlo Esposito
Music Department, The Electric Company
Giancarlo Giuseppe Alessandro Esposito was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, to an Italian carpenter/stagehand father from Naples and an opera-singing African-American mother from Alabama. His parents, working in Europe at the time of his birth, settled in Manhattan by the time he was six, and that's where he grew up...
 
30.
Victor Garber
Actor, Titanic
Victor Garber has been in some of the most memorable projects of the past four decades. Victor is currently appearing in The Slap, The Flash, Motive and Web Therapy. He will soon star in Greg Berlanti's new Untitled DC Comics Superhero series for Warner Bros/CW. He has shared in two Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award® nominations for Outstanding Motion Picture Cast...
 
31.
Bobby Cannavale
Actor, Ant-Man
In both career and in real life, Bobby Cannavale tends to choose the unconventional way of doing things. In the beginning, his decisions may have cost the dark, swarthily good-looking actor some acting roles and/or good-paying money but, in the end, his strong work ethic and sense of self, despite a lack of formal training...
 
32.
Kevin Corrigan
A native of the Bronx, New York, Kevin Corrigan has been acting and writing since the age of 15. He made his film debut in Lost Angels and around that time, when he was just 17, his original play "The Boiler Room" was produced by the Young Playwrights Festival of New York. He has gone on to star in countless independent films and has made quite an impression...
 
33.
Peter Dinklage
Peter Hayden Dinklage was born in Morristown, New Jersey, to Diane (Hayden), an elementary school teacher, and John Carl Dinklage, an insurance salesman. He is of German, Irish, and English descent. In 1991, he received a degree in drama from Bennington College and began his career. He continues to work in the theatre with roles in "The Killing Act", "Imperfect Love", and "Richard III"...
 
36.
Kurt Fuller
Kurt Fuller is best known for his work in the films Wayne's World with Mike Myers, Anger Management, with Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler, and most recently as part of the all star cast of Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris. Kurt was born in San Francisco and raised in the agricultural heartland of California's San Joaquin Valley...
 
38.
Ray Wise
Actor, RoboCop
Raymond Herbert "Ray" Wise (born August 20, 1947) is an American actor. Some of his best-known roles include Leland Palmer in Twin Peaks, henchman Leon C. Nash in RoboCop, Jack Taggart Sr. in Jeepers Creepers II, the Devil in the CW television series Reaper, Donald Wadsworth in Suburban Gothic...
 
39.
Peter Stormare
Actor, Fargo
Peter Stormare was born in Arbrå, Gävleborgs län, Sweden, to Gunhild (Holm) and Karl Ingvar Storm. He began his acting career at the Royal National Theatre of Sweden, performing for eleven years. In 1990 he became the Associate Artistic Director at the Tokyo Globe Theatre and directed productions of many Shakespeare plays...
 
40.
Stellan Skarsgård
Stellan Skarsgård was born in Gothenburg, Västra Götalands län, Sweden, to Gudrun (Larsson) and Jan Skarsgård. He became a star in his teens through the title role in the TV-series Bombi Bitt och jag. Between the years 1972-88 he was employed at The Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, where he participated in "Vita rum" (1988)...
 
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Blake Robbins
Actor, Wind River
Blake Robbins was born in Karamousel, Turkey (his father was stationed there with the US Navy). After getting his college degree in business marketing, he attended The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC. Best known for playing Tom Halpert on the hit NBC show The Office, and for his role as C.O...
 
46.
Muse Watson
Rugged character actor Muse Watson is an established stage actor and veteran screen performer with a host of widely varying characters to his name, ranging from the hook-wielding killer in "I Know What You Did Last Summer" (1997), to the gentle, cat-loving con in the Fox television suspense drama "Prison Break" (2005)...
 
47.
Donal Logue
Donal Logue's versatility and talent makes him one of the most well respected and beloved actors today. Born in Ottawa, Canada, Logue moved all over the United States, from the Boston area as an infant to various towns on the Mexican border. He returned to Boston to attend Harvard University, where he majored in Intellectual History and discovered his love for the performing arts...
 
48.
Norman Reedus
Norman Reedus was born in Hollywood, Florida, to Marianne (Yarber), a teacher, and Norman Reedus. He is of Italian (from his paternal grandmother), English, Scottish, and Irish descent. Norman's first film was in 1997 the Guillermo del Toro horror thriller film Mimic, where he played the character Jeremy...
 
49.
W. Earl Brown
Actor, Deadwood
As a rule, W. Earl Brown does not usually speak of himself in the third-person. However, the Internet Movie Database will not accept biographical information written in the first person, therefore: W Earl Brown was born and raised in western Kentucky. Realizing early in life that he had aversion to manual labor...
 
50.
Sean Patrick Flanery
Sean Patrick Flanery was born in Lake Charles, La. and raised in a small town outside of Houston, Texas. While attending the University of St. Thomas in Houston, he saw a beautiful girl leaving a building on campus every Monday and decided to drop an English class and sign up for "whatever the hell they were teaching in that building"...
 
52.
James Cromwell
Born in Los Angeles but raised in Manhattan and educated at Middlebury College and Carnegie-Mellon University, James Cromwell, the son of famous film director John Cromwell, studied acting at Carnegie-Mellon. He went into the theater (like both his parents) doing everything from Shakespeare to experimental plays...
 
53.
Clifton Collins Jr.
Actor, Star Trek
An acting chameleon who can easily lose himself in the life of his film and television characters, Clifton Collins Jr. is a native Angeleno who grew up destined to become a part of the Latino entertainment industry. His great-grandparents on his mother's side were a Mexican trumpet player and Spanish dancer who formed a traveling family act...