Underrated Character Actors

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1.
Will Patton
Will Patton was born in Charleston, South Carolina. His father, Bill Patton, is a playwright, acting/directing instructor, and Lutheran minister. Patton attended the North Carolina School of the Arts. He has won two OBIE awards for best actor for the off-Broadway plays, Sam Shepard's "Fool for Love" and the Public Theatre production of "What Did He See?".
 
2.
William Fichtner
A small-town guy with a big heart, William Fichtner has been captivating the hearts of Western New Yorkers for decades. Bill was born in 1956 on Long Island, New York, to Patricia A. (Steitz) and William E. Fichtner. He is of German, Irish, and English descent. Fichtner was raised in Cheektowaga, and graduated from Maryvale High School in 1974...
 
4.
Joe Pantoliano
Actor, Memento
With more than 100 film, television and stage credits to his name, Joseph Peter Pantoliano is a prolific American character actor who has played many diverse and memorable roles, from Guido in Risky Business to Eddie Moscone in Midnight Run, Cosmo Renfro in The Fugitive, Cypher in The Matrix and Teddy in Memento...
 
5.
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...
 
6.
Barry Pepper
Barry Robert Pepper was born on April 4, 1970, in Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada, as the youngest of three sons. He has two older brothers named Alex and Doug Pepper. The Peppers didn't stick around Campbell River for too long. They had been building a ship in their backyard for years. When Barry was five years old...
 
7.
Djimon Hounsou
Actor, Gladiator
Djimon Hounsou was born in Cotonou, Benin, West Africa, to Albertine and Pierre Hounsou, a cook. He moved to Lyon, France, when he was 13. Hounsou has graced the catwalks of Paris and London as a popular male model. He has since left his modeling career and has worked on Gladiator by Ridley Scott and Amistad by Steven Spielberg.
 
8.
Sam Rockwell
Actor, Moon
Sam Rockwell was born on November 5, 1968, in San Mateo, California, the child of two actors, Pete Rockwell and Penny Hess. The family moved to New York when he was two years old, living first in the Bronx and later in Manhattan. When Sam was five years old, his parents split up, at which point he and his father moved to San Francisco...
 
9.
Brian Cox
Actor, Troy
Brian Cox is an Emmy Award-winning Scottish actor. He was born on June 1, 1946 in Dundee, Scotland, to Mary Ann Guillerline (McCann), a spinner, and Charles McArdle Campbell Cox, a shopkeeper and butcher. His father was of Irish ancestry and his mother was of Irish and Scottish descent. Cox first came to attention in the early 1970s with performances in numerous television films...
 
10.
Brendan Gleeson
Brendan Gleeson was born in Dublin, Ireland, to Pat and Frank Gleeson. From a very young age, he loved to learn, especially reading classical text in and outside the classroom. He took great attention to Irish play writers such as Samuel Beckett, which eventually led to him performing in his high school play production of "Waiting for Godot"...
 
11.
Alan Rickman
Alan Rickman was born on a council estate in Acton, West London, to Margaret Doreen Rose (Bartlett) and Bernard Rickman, who worked at a factory. He had English, Irish, and Welsh ancestry. Alan had an older brother David, a younger brother Michael and a younger sister Sheila. When Alan was 8 years old...
 
12.
Ted Levine
Born in Bellaire, Ohio, in May, 1957, he was among the last graduating class of the Windsor Mountain School in Lennox, Massachusetts. Attended Marlboro College in Vermont. Performed in summer stock and regional theatres in Vermont, Michigan and West Virginia before settling in Chicago and joining The Remains ensemble...
 
13.
John Cazale
John Cazale was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to an Irish-American mother, Cecilia (Holland), and an Italian-American father, John Cazale. Cazale only made five feature films in his career, all which many fans and critics alike call classics. But before his film debut, the short The American Way, he won numerous Obie Awards for his stage performances in "The Indian Wants the Bronx" and "The Line"...
 
14.
Dexter Fletcher
Dexter Fletcher is an English actor who made his way in many screen and television performances, the most well-liked and well-known of the latter being in Press Gang where he played opposite real-life love (at the time) Julia Sawalha (Lynda Day on "Press Gang"). His career began at the age of 10, with a small role in Bugsy Malone.
 
15.
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.
 
16.
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...
 
17.
Beth Grant
Raised in the South, Beth Grant moved frequently as a child and enjoys claiming several towns and cities in Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina as home. She was a Page in the North Carolina Senate, attended the North Carolina Governor's School for Gifted and Talented students, and received a governor's appointment at the age of nineteen...
 
18.
John C. McGinley
Actor, Scrubs
John's path to stardom is a story that reads like a classic Hollywood script. While an understudy in New York in the Circle-In-The-Square production of John Patrick Shanley's "Danny and the Deep Blue Sea," he was spotted by director Oliver Stone and soon after was cast in Platoon, the first of a long list of collaborations between Stone and McGinley which includes Wall Street...
 
19.
Emile Hirsch
Emile Davenport Hirsch was born in Palms, California, to Margaret Esther (Davenport), a teacher and visual artist, and David M. Hirsch, an entrepreneur and producer. He grew up in Los Angeles and Santa Fe, New Mexico, and having been introduced to acting while still at school, he got his first acting job on TV at the age of 11 in an episode of Kindred: The Embraced...
 
20.
Ezra Miller
Ezra Matthew Miller was born in Wyckoff, New Jersey, to Marta (Koch), a modern dancer, and Robert S. Miller, who has worked at Workman Publishing and as former senior VP for Hyperion Books. He has two older sisters. Ezra is of Ashkenazi Jewish (father) and German-Dutch (mother) ancestry; he has described himself as Jewish and "spiritual"...
 
22.
Scott Glenn
Scott Glenn was born January 26, 1941, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Elizabeth and Theodore Glenn, a salesman. As he grew up in Appalachia, his health was poor; he was bedridden for a year and doctors predicted he would limp for the rest of his life. During long periods of illness, Glenn was reading a lot and "dreaming of becoming Lord Byron"...
 
23.
Paddy Considine
Paddy (Patrick) Considine was born on September 5, 1974 in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire in the U.K. As a teenager, Considine studied a drama course at Burton College where he met with now friend and director Shane Meadows, who cast Considine in his first role in a feature film as the disturbed character Morell in A Room for Romeo Brass...
 
24.
Cary Elwes
Cary Elwes was born in Westminster, London, England, the third son of interior designer/shipping heiress Tessa Georgina Kennedy and the late portrait painter Bede Evelyn Dominick Elwes. He is the brother of producer/agent Cassian Elwes and artist Damian Elwes. He was raised in London and attended Harrow...
 
25.
Ed Harris
By transforming into his characters and pulling the audience in, Ed Harris has earned the reputation as one of the most talented actors of our time. Ed Harris was born in Tenafly, New Jersey, to Margaret (Sholl), a travel agent, and Robert Lee Harris, a bookstore worker who also sang professionally...
 
26.
Josh Lucas
Josh Lucas was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, to Michele (LeFevre), a nurse midwife, and Don Maurer, an ER doctor. Lucas' film career began by accident in 1979 when a small Canadian film production shot on the tiny coastal South Carolina Island, Sullivan's Island, where Lucas and his family lived. Unbeknownst to the filmmakers...
 
27.
Michael Biehn
Michael Connell Biehn was born on July 31, 1956 in Anniston, Alabama, to Marcia (Connell) and Don Biehn, a lawyer. He grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, and at age 14 moved with his family to Lake Havasu, Arizona, where he won a drama scholarship to the University of Arizona. He left prematurely two years later to pursue an acting career in Hollywood...
 
28.
Sam Neill
Sam Neill was born in Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, to army parents, an English-born mother, Priscilla Beatrice (Ingham), and a New Zealand-born father, Dermot Neill. His family moved to the South Island of New Zealand in 1954. He went to boarding schools and then attended the universities at Canterbury and Victoria...
 
29.
Alison Lohman
Alison Lohman was born in Palm Springs, California, to Diane (Dunham), a patisserie owner, and Gary Lohman, an architect. Her ancestry includes English, German, and Scottish. She grew up in a family with no showbiz connections but she always wanted to perform. By age 9, she had landed her first professional...
 
31.
Terrence Howard
Actor, Iron Man
Terrence Howard was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Anita Jeanine Williams (née Hawkins) and Tyrone Howard. He was raised in Cleveland, Ohio. His love for acting came naturally, through summers spent with his great-grandmother, New York stage actress Minnie Gentry. He later began his acting career after being discovered on a New York City street by a casting director...
 
32.
Peter Sarsgaard
Actor, Jarhead
Peter Sarsgaard was born at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, to Judy Lea (Reinhardt) and John Dale Sarsgaard, an engineer who worked for the Air Force and later Monsanto and IBM. He is a graduate of St. Louis' Washington University, where he majored in history and literature. He was a co-founder of the...
 
33.
Michael Imperioli
Imperioli was born James Michael Imperioli in Mt. Vernon, New York on March 26, 1966. His film work began in the late 1980s. An early part that brought him recognition was in Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas, as Spider, a local kid who works for the gangsters and has a run-in with a psychopathic mob soldier played by Joe Pesci...
 
34.
Casey Affleck
American actor Casey Affleck has an onscreen career dating back to 1988, but his Academy Award nominated work in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford gained him wider acclaim in recent years. Affleck, the younger brother of Ben Affleck, was born Caleb Casey McGuire Affleck-Boldt on 12 August 1975 in Falmouth, Massachusetts to middle-class parents; his mother...
 
35.
Ben Foster
Ben Foster was born October 29, 1980 in Boston, Massachusetts, to Gillian Kirwan and Steven Foster, restaurant owners. His younger brother is actor Jon Foster. His paternal grandparents were from Russian Jewish families that immigrated to Massachusetts (his grandfather became a prominent judge in Boston), while his mother's family is from Maryland...
 
36.
Gary Oldman
Gary Oldman is a talented British born movie actor who played Sid Vicious in Sid & Nancy, Drexl in True Romance, and George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. He starred in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and the remake of RoboCop. He is also an English filmmaker, musician and author. Renowned for his "big" acting style...
 
37.
Giovanni Ribisi
Actor, Avatar
Antonino Giovanni Ribisi is an American actor who was born in Los Angeles, California. His parents both have careers in the entertainment industry. His mother, Gay Ribisi (née Landrum), is a talent manager for actors and writers, and his father, Albert Anthony Ribisi, is a musician. He has a twin sister...
 
38.
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...
 
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40.
Adrien Brody
Adrien Nicholas Brody was born in Woodhaven, Queens, New York, the only child of retired history professor Elliot Brody and Hungarian-born photographer Sylvia Plachy. He accompanied his mother on assignments for the Village Voice, and credits her with making him feel comfortable in front of the camera...