My favourite character actors of all time

by Mitchell Jewell | created - 03 Feb 2014 | updated - 6 months ago | Public

1. Edward Andrews

Actor | Sixteen Candles

The son of a Georgia minister, Edward Andrews debuted on stage in 1926 at age 12 and by 1935 had landed on Broadway. A solid character actor, his large physique and amiable demeanor made him a natural for the jovial, grandfatherly type or genial, small-town businessman which he often played, but ...

2. John McGiver

Actor | The Manchurian Candidate

John Irwin McGiver came to acting relatively late in life. He held a B.A. and Masters degrees in English from Fordham, Columbia and Catholic Universities and spent his early years teaching drama and speech at Christopher Columbus High School in the Bronx. He had an early flirt with the acting ...

3. Jack Elam

Actor | C'era una volta il West

Colorful American character actor equally adept at vicious killers or grizzled sidekicks. As a child he worked in the cotton fields. He attended Santa Monica Junior College in California and subsequently became an accountant and, at one time, manager of the Bel Air Hotel. Elam got his first movie ...

4. Strother Martin

Actor | Cool Hand Luke

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, ...

5. George Kennedy

Actor | Cool Hand Luke

George Harris Kennedy, Jr. was born on February 18, 1925 in New York City, to Helen A. (Kieselbach), a ballet dancer, and George Harris Kennedy, an orchestra leader and musician. Following high school graduation, Kennedy enlisted in the United States Army in 1943 with the hope to become a fighter ...

6. Arthur Hunnicutt

Actor | El Dorado

Lean, tall American character actor Arthur Hunnicutt was known for playing humorously wise rural roles. He attended Arkansas State Teachers College in his native state, but was forced to drop out in his third year due to lack of funds. He joined a theatre company in Massachusetts, then migrated to ...

7. Mary Wickes

Actress | Sister Act

From the grand old school of wisecracking, loud and lanky Mary Wickes had few peers while forging a career as a salty scene-stealer. Her abrupt, tell-it-like-it-is demeanor made her a consistent audience favorite on every medium for over six decades. She was particularly adroit in film parts that ...

8. Sterling Holloway

Actor | The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

Popular American character actor of amusing appearance and voice whose long career led from dozens of highly enjoyable onscreen performances to world-wide familiarity as the voice of numerous Walt Disney animated films. Born in the American Deep South to grocer Sterling P. Holloway Sr. and Rebecca ...

9. Ellen Corby

Actress | The Waltons

Ellen Corby was born Ellen Hansen on June 3, 1911, in Racine, Wisconsin. She began her career as a bit player in the film Speed Limited (1935) in 1940. Ellen would not be seen on the big screen again until 1945 in Cornered (1945). In 1946, she appeared in 14 films, although mostly in small, minor ...

10. Fred Clark

Actor | Sunset Blvd.

This popular, baggy-eyed, bald-domed, big lug of a character actor had few peers when called upon to display that special "slow burn" style of comedy few others perfected. But perfect he did -- on stage, film and TV. In fact, he pretty much cornered the market during the 50s and 60s as the dour, ...

11. Raymond Bailey

Actor | Vertigo

Raymond Bailey was a great example of "If at first you don't succeed..." After high school, Bailey headed for Hollywood with the intent on becoming a movie star, but soon found it tougher than he thought. Instead Bailey went into a high finance career working as stockbroker and banker. He made a ...

12. Paul Fix

Actor | To Kill a Mockingbird

Paul Fix, the well-known movie and TV character actor who played "Marshal Micah Torrance" on the TV series The Rifleman (1958), was born Peter Paul Fix on March 13, 1901 in Dobbs Ferry, New York to brew-master Wilhelm Fix and his wife, the former Louise C. Walz. His mother and father were German ...

13. Gene Evans

Actor | The Steel Helmet

Gene Evans was born in Holbrook, Arizona, on July 11, 1922, and was raised in Colton, California. He served in the Army during World War II as a combat engineer, and was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for bravery in action. He began his acting career there, performing in a theatrical ...

14. James McEachin

Actor | 2010

James McEachin was born on May 20, 1930 in Rennert, North Carolina. At the age of 18 he joined the US Armed Forces and served in the Korean War earning many medals of valor to include the Purple Heart and Silver Star. After leaving the military he spent time as a policeman and then fireman before ...

15. Fritz Feld

Actor | Bringing Up Baby

Fritz Feld was born on October 15, 1900 in Berlin, Germany as Fritz Feilchenfeld. He is known for his work on Bringing Up Baby (1938), Barefoot in the Park (1967) and Idiot's Delight (1939). He was married to Virginia Christine. He died on November 18, 1993 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

16. Kathleen Freeman

Actress | The Blues Brothers

Kathleen Freeman's introduction to show business came very early in life. Her parents were vaudevillians, and she made her debut at age 2 in their act. Later she attended UCLA with intentions of becoming a pianist, but was bitten by the acting bug and never looked back. She gained experience on ...

17. William Windom

Actor | Escape from the Planet of the Apes

A man of all mediums, this veteran, Manhattan-born character actor was named after his great-grandfather, Lincolnesque Congressman William Windom. Born in 1923, the son of Paul Windom, an architect, and the former Isobel Wells Peckham, Bill attended Williams College and the University of Kentucky, ...

18. Nehemiah Persoff

Actor | An American Tail

Born in 1919 (some sources say 1920) in Jerusalem, Nehemiah Persoff immigrated with his family to America in 1929.

Following schooling at the Hebrew Technical Institute of New York, he found a job as a subway electrician doing signal maintenance until an interest in the theater altered the direction...

19. John Fiedler

Actor | 12 Angry Men

Typical of busy character actors, Fiedler made his face (and voice) recognizable to millions. Many know the bald-pated Fiedler as therapy patient "Mr. Peterson" on The Bob Newhart Show (1972); others might first recognize him for the 1968 movie, The Odd Couple (1968), and spin-off TV show, The Odd ...

20. Vito Scotti

Actor | The Godfather

With his dark features and having spent much of his early years in Naples, Italy, Vito Scotti was understandably typecast as Italian waiters, government functionaries, policemen, maitre d's and barbers. When Vito was seven, the Scottis moved back to the U.S. where his mother became a diva in the ...

21. Sean McClory

Actor | The Quiet Man

Sean McClory was born in Dublin, Ireland, but spent his early life in Galway. He was the son of Hugh Patrick, an architect and civil engineer, and Mary Margaret Ball, who had been a model. Sean decided to become an actor and joined Dublin's renowned Abbey Theater (also known as the National Theater...

22. John Qualen

Actor | Casablanca

One of the best and most familiar character actors of the first four decades of sound films, although few who knew his face also knew his name, John Qualen was born in Canada to Norwegian parents. His father was a minister. The family moved to the United States and Qualen (whose real name was ...

23. Eddie Quillan

Actor | Mutiny on the Bounty

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 31, 1907, Eddie Quillan was seven years old and already performing in vaudeville with his sister and three brothers in an act called "The Rising Generation." His parents, Joseph Quillan and Sarah Quillan, were well-known performers with Joseph himself ...

24. Gregg Palmer

Actor | Magnificent Obsession

Norwegian by heritage and a San Franciscan by birth, brown-haired, brown-eyed Gregg Palmer (born Palmer Lee) broke into show biz as a radio announcer. After an early '50s stint as a contract player at Universal, he turned to freelancing, closing out the decade by starring and co-starring in a ...

25. William Schallert

Actor | Innerspace

The son of Edwin Schallert, drama editor of the "Los Angeles Times" and the dean of West Coast critics, William Schallert became interested in an acting career while at UCLA in 1942. After graduation, he became involved with the Circle Theater (eventually becoming one of its owners) and made his ...

26. Edna May Oliver

Actress | The Personal History, Adventures, Experience, & Observation of David Copperfield the Younger

She was born Edna May Nutter, a child of solid New England stock, on 9th November 1883 in Malden, Massachusetts. The daughter of Ida May and Charles Edward Nutter, Edna was a descendant of the 6th American president John Quincy Adams. Miss Oliver took an early interest in the stage, and she would ...

27. Jane Darwell

Actress | The Grapes of Wrath

Missouri-born Jane Darwell was the daughter of a railroad president and grew up on a ranch in Missouri. She nursed ambitions to be an opera singer, but put it off because of her father's disapproval (she eventually changed her name to Darwell from the family name of Woodward so as not to "sully" ...

28. Franklin Pangborn

Actor | Hail the Conquering Hero

Franklin Pangborn - a name more befitting a fictionalized bank president rather than a great comedic actor - was a singular character actor but little is known of his early years. He spent some time in developing acting talent prior to appearing on Broadway by March of 1911, and would do six plays ...

29. S.Z. Sakall

Actor | Casablanca

Hungarian-born S.Z. Sakall was a veteran of German, Hungarian and British films when he left Europe because of the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi movement. In Hollywood from shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Sakall began appearing in comedies and musicals, often playing a lovable if ...

30. Barry Fitzgerald

Actor | The Quiet Man

One of Hollywood's finest character actors and most accomplished scene stealers, Barry Fitzgerald was born William Joseph Shields in 1888 in Dublin, Ireland. Educated to enter the banking business, the diminutive Irishman with the irresistible brogue was bitten by the acting bug in the 1920s and ...

31. Gale Sondergaard

Actress | The Mark of Zorro

Sly, manipulative, dangerously cunning and sinister were the key words that best described the roles that Gale Sondergaard played in motion pictures, making her one of the most talented character actresses ever seen on the screen. She was educated at the University of Minnesota and later married ...

32. Will Geer

Actor | The Waltons

Will Geer was born William Aughe Ghere in Frankfort, Indiana, to Katherine (Aughe), a teacher, and Roy Aaron Ghere, a postal worker. Will admired his grandfather, a man who said hello to trees by their Latin names and who had used what he brought back to Indiana from the California gold rush to ...

33. E.E. Clive

Actor | Bride of Frankenstein

Edward E. Clive was a Welsh-born actor/manager, initially, it seemed, slated for a medical career. After four years, he suddenly elected to abandon his studies at the University of Wales. For the next ten years, he trod the boards in diverse theatrical productions across Britain, becoming adept at ...

34. Butterfly McQueen

Actress | Gone with the Wind

Thelma McQueen attended public school in Augusta, Georgia and graduated from high school in Long Island, New York. She studied dance with Katherine Dunham, Geoffrey Holder, and Janet Collins. She danced with the Venezuela Jones Negro Youth Group. The "Butterfly" stage name, which does describe her ...

35. Edward Arnold

Actor | Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Edward Arnold was born as Gunther Edward Arnold Schneider in 1890, on the Lower East Side of New York City, the son of German immigrants, Elizabeth (Ohse) and Carl Schneider. Arnold began his acting career on the New York stage and became a film actor in 1916. A burly man with a commanding style ...

36. Lionel Atwill

Actor | Mystery of the Wax Museum

Lionel Atwill was born into a wealthy family and was educated at London's prestigious Mercer School to become an architect, but his interest turned to the stage. He worked his way progressively into the craft and debuted at age 20 at the Garrick Theatre in London. He acted and improved regularly ...

37. Agnes Moorehead

Actress | Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte

Of Irish/English ancestry, Agnes was born near Boston, the daughter of a Presbyterian minister (her mother was a mezzo-soprano) who encouraged her to perform in church pageants. Aged three, she sang 'The Lord is my Shepherd' on a public stage and seven years later joined the St. Louis Municipal ...

38. Hattie McDaniel

Actress | Gone with the Wind

After working as early as the 1910s as a band vocalist, Hattie McDaniel debuted as a maid in The Golden West (1932). Her maid-mammy characters became steadily more assertive, showing up first in Judge Priest (1934) and becoming pronounced in Alice Adams (1935). In this one, directed by George ...

39. J. Pat O'Malley

Actor | The Jungle Book

J. Pat had a warm smile, twinkling eyes, and an Irish name. He was born in Burnley, England, and began his acting career in British musical halls. J. Pat came to the USA at the outbreak of World War II, and his film debut was Lassie Come Home (1943). He also worked on the Broadway stage during the ...

40. Jesse White

Actor | Harvey

Lovable, laid-back Jesse White made acting seem fun and easy. He was born Jesse Marc Weidenfeld in Buffalo, New York, and was raised in Akron, Ohio. He made his first amateur appearance on the local stage at age 15. Before breaking into professional theater in the 1940s, he held many different jobs...

41. Louise Beavers

Actress | Imitation of Life

1930s and 1940s film actress Louise Beavers was merely one of a dominant gallery of plus-sized and plus-talented African-American character actresses forced to endure blatant, discouraging and demeaning stereotypes during Depression-era and WWII Hollywood. It wasn't until Louise's triumphant role in...

42. Roland Young

Actor | Topper

Best remembered for the many meek characters he played -- think Cosmo Topper, of the screwball classic ­­Topper (1937) -- this balding, short, yet distinguished actor was born in London, England, to an architect and his wife. Young was educated at Sherborne College and London University and trained...

43. C. Aubrey Smith

Actor | Rebecca

Movie roles are sometimes based upon what the audience expects to see. If the role called for the tall stereotypical Englishmen with the stiff upper lip and stern determination, that man would be C. Aubrey Smith, graduate of Cambridge University, a leading Freemason and a test cricketer for England...

44. Mischa Auer

Actor | My Man Godfrey

Mischa Auer, the American screen's supreme exponent of the "Mad Russian" stereotype so dear to Yankee hearts before and after World War II, was born Mischa Ounskowsky on November 17, 1905, in St. Petersburg, Russia, the grandson of violinist Leopold Auer, whose surname he took when he became a ...

45. Wilford Brimley

Actor | The Thing

He was a farmer and rodeo rider who, after gaining weight, became a blacksmith and then a film actor.

46. Harry Dean Stanton

Actor | Alien

Prolific character actor Harry Dean Stanton's drooping, weather-beaten appearance and superb acting talent have been his ticket to appearing in over 100 films, and 50 TV episodes.

Stanton was born in West Irvine, Kentucky, to Ersel (Moberly), a cook, and Sheridan Harry Stanton, a barber and tobacco ...

47. Robert Prosky

Actor | Dead Man Walking

Member of Washington D.C.'s Arena Stage repertory company in 60's and 70s, where he worked with Jane Alexander James Earl Jones Robert Foxworth and others.

48. Charles Durning

Actor | Dog Day Afternoon

WWII veteran, dance instructor and diversely talented stage & screen actor were all inclusions on the resume of this perpetually busy US actor who didn't get in front of the cameras until around the time of his fortieth birthday. The stockily built Charles Durning was one of Hollywood's most ...

49. William Demarest

Actor | It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, William Demarest was a prolific actor in movies and TV, making more than 140 films. Demarest started his acting career in vaudeville and made his way to Broadway. His most famous role was in My Three Sons (1960), replacing a very sick William Frawley. Demarest was ...

50. Harry Morgan

Actor | M*A*S*H

Harry Morgan was a prolific character actor who starred in over 100 films and was a stage performer. Known to a younger generation of fans as "Col. Sherman T. Potter" on M*A*S*H (1972). Also known for his commanding personality throughout his career, he tackled movies and television in a way no ...

51. Edward Everett Horton

Actor | Arsenic and Old Lace

It seemed like Edward Everett Horton appeared in just about every Hollywood comedy made in the 1930s. He was always the perfect counterpart to the great gentlemen and protagonists of the films. Horton was born in Brooklyn, New York City, to Isabella S. (Diack) and Edward Everett Horton, a ...

52. Isabel Jewell

Actress | Gone with the Wind

Isabel Jewell, like other actresses in Hollywood in the 1930s, suffered from chronic typecasting. The diminutive, platinum-haired daughter of a doctor and medical researcher seemed to be forever playing hard-boiled, tough-talking broads: gangster's molls, dumb blondes, prostitutes and, of course, ...

53. John Alexander

Actor | The Petrified Forest

John Alexander was born on September 13, 1864. He was an actor, known for The Petrified Forest (1936) and Men in Exile (1937). He died on April 5, 1951 in Ontario, Canada.

54. Alan Hale

Actor | The Adventures of Robin Hood

Alan Hale decided on a film career after his attempt at becoming an opera singer didn't pan out. He quickly became much in demand as a supporting actor, starred in several films for Cecil B. DeMille and directed others for him. With the advent of sound Hale played leads in a few films, but soon ...

55. Alan Hale Jr.

Actor | Gilligan's Island

The son of the great character actor (and Errol Flynn sidekick) Alan Hale, Alan Hale Jr. (he dropped the Jr. after his father passed away) was literally born into the movies. Hale did his first movie as a baby and continued to act until his death. Unlike other child actors, Hale made a smooth ...

56. Henry Jones

Actor | Vertigo

Henry Burk Jones was born in New Jersey and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Helen (Burk) and John Francis Xavier Jones, and the grandson of Pennsylvania Representative Henry Burk, a Prussian immigrant. He graduated from St. Joseph's College. His Broadway debut was in 1938 in ...

57. John Anderson

Actor | Psycho

A tall, sinewy, austere-looking character actor with silver hair, rugged features and a distinctive voice, John Robert Anderson left an impressive legacy of literally hundreds of film and TV credits. Immensely versatile, he was at his best submerging himself in the role of historical figures (he ...

58. Royal Dano

Actor | Killer Klowns from Outer Space

Royal Dano was undoubtedly one of the best, most quirky and striking character actors to ever grace the big and small screen alike in a lengthy and impressive career which spanned 42 years.

Royal Edward Dano was born on November 16, 1922 in New York City, to Mary Josephine (O'Connor) and Caleb ...

59. Rhys Williams

Actor | How Green Was My Valley

Moviegoers can be forgiven if they thought that stocky, jaunty Rhys Williams was a jovial Irishman, as he often played that type of character, but his role as a Welsh miner in John Ford's classic How Green Was My Valley (1941) (his film debut) was much closer to home for him, as he was born and ...

60. Jack Albertson

Actor | Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

A former song-and-dance man and veteran of vaudeville, burlesque and Broadway, Jack Albertson is best known to audiences as "The Man" in the TV series Chico and the Man (1974), for which he won an Emmy. In 1968 Albertson, the brother of actress Mabel Albertson, won the Oscar for Best Supporting ...

61. Mabel Albertson

Actress | What's Up, Doc?

When, at 50, Mabel Albertson was given the supporting role of Mrs. Carter, young actress Aileen Stanley Jr.'s mother in a Warner Bros. Technicolor musical romance, little did she know that she was starting out a movie and TV career in which she would shine as "the ultimate haughty judgmental (often...

62. Arthur O'Connell

Actor | Anatomy of a Murder

Though veteran character actor Arthur O'Connell was born in New York City in 1908, he looked as countrified as apple pie, looking ever more comfy in overalls than he ever did in a suit. He made his stage debut in the mid 1930s and came into contact with Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre. As a result, ...

63. Ned Beatty

Actor | Network

Stocky, genial-looking supporting actor Ned Beatty was once hailed by Daily Variety as the "busiest actor in Hollywood".

Ned Thomas Beatty was born in Louisville, Kentucky, to Margaret (Fortney) and Charles William Beatty. He grew up fishing and working on farms. His hometown of St. Matthews, ...

64. Lon Chaney Jr.

Actor | High Noon

American character actor whose career was influenced (and often overshadowed) by that of his father, silent film star Lon Chaney. The younger Chaney was born while his parents were on a theatrical tour, and he joined them onstage for the first time at the age of six months. However, as a young man,...

65. John Carradine

Actor | The Grapes of Wrath

John Carradine, the son of a reporter/artist and a surgeon, grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York. He attended Christ Church School and Graphic Art School, studying sculpture, and afterward roamed the South selling sketches. He made his acting debut in "Camille" in a New Orleans theatre in 1925. ...

66. Akim Tamiroff

Actor | For Whom the Bell Tolls

Though born in Russia and having a Russian-sounding name, Akim Tamiroff is actually of Armenian descent. At 19 he decided to pursue acting as a career and was chosen from among 500 applicants to the Moscow Art Theater School. There he studied under the great Konstantin Stanislavski, and launched a ...

67. J. Carrol Naish

Actor | Sahara

J. Carroll was born in New York City to Catherine Moran and Patrick Sarsfield Naish (not in the business). He was educated at St. Cecilia's Academy, New York City. He had seven years stage experience in Paris and New York. Later in stock company. First screen appearance in 1930. Fox brought him to ...

68. Leo Carrillo

Actor | 20 Mule Team

Leo Carrillo was born on August 6, 1881 in Los Angeles, California, USA. He was an actor, known for 20 Mule Team (1940), The Guilty Generation (1931) and Lasca of the Rio Grande (1931). He was married to Edith Shakespear Haeselbarth. He died on September 10, 1961 in Santa Monica, California.

69. George Macready

Actor | Paths of Glory

George Macready--the name probably doesn't ring any bells for most but the voice would be unmistakable. He attended and graduated from Brown University and had a short stint as a New York newspaperman, but became interested in acting on the advice of colorful Polish émigré classical stage director ...

70. George Dzundza

Actor | Basic Instinct

George Dzundza was born on July 19, 1945 in Rosenheim, Bavaria, Germany as George F. Dzundza. He is an actor and assistant director, known for Basic Instinct (1992), Crimson Tide (1995) and The Deer Hunter (1978). He has been married to Mary Jo Vermeulen since 1982. They have three children.

71. Andy Devine

Actor | Robin Hood

Rotund comic character actor of American films. Born Andrew Vabre Devine in Flagstaff, Arizona, the later-to-be Rotund comic character actor was raised in nearby Kingman, Arizona, the son of Irish-American hotel operator Thomas Devine and his wife Amy. Devine was an able athlete as a student and ...

72. Chill Wills

Actor | Giant

Colorful character actor of American Westerns. Named "Chill" as an ironic comment on his birth date being the hottest day of 1903. A musician from his youth, he performed from the age of 12 with tent shows, in vaudeville, and with stock companies. While performing in vaudeville in Kansas City, he ...

73. Slim Pickens

Actor | Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Slim Pickens spent the early part of his career as a real cowboy and the latter part playing cowboys, and he is best remembered for a single "cowboy" image: that of bomber pilot Maj. "King" Kong waving his cowboy hat rodeo-style as he rides a nuclear bomb onto its target in the great black comedy ...

74. Denver Pyle

Actor | The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

A rather wanderlust fellow before he latched onto acting, Denver Pyle--who made a career of playing drawling, somewhat slow Southern types--was actually born in Colorado in 1920, to a farming family. He attended a university for a time but dropped out to become a drummer. When that didn't pan out ...

75. Billy De Wolfe

Actor | Tea for Two

Most certainly egged on by the dandified antics of an Edward Everett Horton, Eric Blore and/or Franklin Pangborn, burlesque clown Billy DeWolfe in turn gave obvious inspiration to such effete cutups as Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Reilly. Billy's life was one hundred percent show business from ...

76. Canada Lee

Actor | Lifeboat

Lee played Danny (opposite of Hilda Simms, who played Anna) in Anna Lucasta on Broadway in 1944. Anna Lucasta was the first non-black written play performed by an all black cast on Broadway. He became an actor after careers as a jockey, boxer and musician. Lee was a civil rights activist, following...

77. Rex Ingram

Actor | The Thief of Bagdad

A Corsicana native, Rex (Clifford) Ingram was the son of Mack and Mamie Ingram. He graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in medicine before launching a brilliant acting career which spanned 50 years. Ingram made his screen debut during the silent era in Tarzan of the Apes (1918) . He ...

78. Mills Watson

Actor | Cujo

Mills Watson was born on July 10, 1940 in Oakland, California, USA as William Oscar Watson. He is an actor, known for Cujo (1983), The Six Million Dollar Man (1974) and Papillon (1973). He was previously married to Caroline Mary Mason.

79. Ed Lauter

Actor | Not Another Teen Movie

Edward Matthew Lauter II was born on October 30, 1938 in Long Beach, New York. In a film career that extended for over four decades, Lauter starred in a plethora of film and television productions since making his big screen debut in the western Dirty Little Billy (1972). He portrayed an eclectic ...

80. Bruce Dern

Actor | Nebraska

Two-time Oscar nominee Bruce Dern's tremendous career is made up of playing both modern day heroes and legendary villains. Through decades of lauded performances, Dern has acquired the reputation of being one of the most talented and prolific actors of his generation. Dern has several high profile ...

81. Charles Dierkop

Actor | The Sting

Charles Dierkop was born on September 11, 1936 in La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA as Charles Richard Dierkop. He is an actor, known for The Sting (1973), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984). He was previously married to Joan F. Addis.

82. Jack Klugman

Actor | The Odd Couple

As a film character actor, Klugman was the epitome of the everyman. He was one of the pioneers of television acting in the 1950s, and is best remembered for his 1970s TV work as Oscar Madison on The Odd Couple (1970) and as the medical examiner on Quincy M.E. (1976).

83. Frank Morgan

Actor | The Wizard of Oz

Jovial, somewhat flamboyant Frank Morgan (born Francis Wuppermann) will forever be remembered as the title character in The Wizard of Oz (1939), but he was a veteran and respected actor long before he played that part, and turned in outstanding performances both before and after that film. One of ...

84. Henry Travers

Actor | It's a Wonderful Life

British-born Henry Travers was a veteran of the English stage before emigrating to the U.S. in 1917. He gained more stage experience there on Broadway working with the Theatre Guild, and began his long film career with Reunion in Vienna (1933). Travers' kindly, grandfatherly demeanor became ...

85. Charley Grapewin

Actor | The Wizard of Oz

This old codger film favorite, born in 1869 (some reports say 1875), got into the entertainment field at an early age, first as a circus performer (aerialist and trapeze artist). When acting sparked his interest, he worked in a series of stock companies while writing stage plays that he himself ...

86. Edward Asner

Actor | Up

Ed Asner is a television legend, the winner of seven acting Emmy Awards (which puts him tied with Mary Tyler Moore, both of whom rank second to their "Mary Tyler Moore (1970) Show" co-star, Cloris Leachman who has nine). In all, he has been nominated 20 times for an Emmy Award, with 17 nods for a ...

87. Stepin Fetchit

Actor | Judge Priest

Stepin Fetchit remains one of the most controversial movie actors in American history. While he was undoubtedly one of the most talented physical comedians ever to do his shtick on the Big Screen, achieving the rare status of being a character actor/supporting player who actually achieved superstar...

88. Dick Van Patten

Actor | Spaceballs

Dick Van Patten began acting as a child. He made his first of 27 Broadway appearances, at age seven, in "Tapestry in Grey". After, he appeared in many films, including Freaky Friday (1976), with Jodie Foster; Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) and Spaceballs (1987). His TV credits include his ...

89. Fred Gwynne

Actor | My Cousin Vinny

Fred Gwynne was an enormously talented character actor most famous for starring in the television situation comedies Car 54, Where Are You? (1961) (as Officer Francis Muldoon) and The Munsters (1964) (as the Frankenstein clone Herman Munster). He was very tall and had a resonant, baritone voice ...

90. Billy Barty

Actor | Masters of the Universe

Billy Barty was born William John Bertanzetti on October 25, 1924 in Millsboro, Pennsylvania. He began performing at age three and began making pictures in 1927. He played Mickey Rooney's little brother in the "Mickey McGuire" comedy shorts series. He was equally adept in both comedy and drama, and...

91. Lee Van Cleef

Actor | Escape from New York

One of the great movie villains, Clarence Leroy Van Cleef, Jr. was born in Somerville, New Jersey, to Marion Lavinia (Van Fleet) and Clarence LeRoy Van Cleef, Sr. His parents were both of Dutch ancestry. Van Cleef started out as an accountant. He served in the U.S. Navy aboard minesweepers and sub ...

92. Spring Byington

Actress | You Can't Take It with You

The possessor of one of Hollywood's gentlest faces and warmest voices, and about as sweet as Tupelo honey both on-and-off camera, character actress Spring Byington was seldom called upon to play callous or unsympathetic (she did once play a half-crazed housekeeper in Dragonwyck (1946)). Although ...

93. Jack Weston

Actor | Dirty Dancing

In a 40-year career that spanned Broadway, television and movies, the versatile actor played everyone from sleazy villains to terrifying killers to clumsy comics. His bad-guy roles included a stalker who, along with Alan Arkin terrorized a blind Audrey Hepburn in the 1967 cult classic Wait Until ...

94. Marion Lorne

Actress | Strangers on a Train

Forever embraced as the mumbling, bumbling Aunt Clara on the Bewitched (1964) television series, endearing character actress Marion Lorne had a five-decade-long career on the stage before ever becoming a familiar TV household name.

Born Marion Lorne MacDougall on August 12, 1883 (other sources list ...

95. Chief Dan George

Actor | Little Big Man

Chief Dan George was born with the names Geswanouth Slahoot (which was anglicised as 'Dan Slaholt') to a tribal chief on Burrard Indian Reserve Nº. 3 in North Vancouver. His last name was changed to 'George' when he entered a mission boarding school at the age of 5, where the use of his native ...

96. Thomas Gomez

Actor | Key Largo

After graduating from high school in 1923, Thomas Sabino Gomez answered a help wanted ad, which resulted in his joining the Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne theater group. Prior to that time he had not considered acting as a career. He continued working as an actor with the Lunts, traveling across ...

97. Peter Lorre

Actor | Casablanca

As a youth Peter Lorre ran away from home, worked as a bank clerk and, after stage training in Vienna, made his acting debut in Zurich. He remained unknown, traveling for several years and acting in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, until Fritz Lang cast him as the psychopathic child killer in M (...

98. Boris Karloff

Actor | Bride of Frankenstein

Along with fellow actors Lon Chaney, Bela Lugosi and Vincent Price, Boris Karloff is recognized as one of the true icons of horror cinema, and the actor most closely identified with the general public's perception of the "monster" from the classic Mary Shelley book, "Frankenstein". William Henry ...

99. Peter Cushing

Actor | Star Wars

Peter Wilton Cushing was born on May 26, 1913 in Kenley, Surrey, England, to Nellie Maria (King) and George Edward Cushing, a quantity surveyor. He and his older brother David were raised first in Dulwich Village, a south London suburb, and then later back in Surrey. At an early age, Cushing was ...

100. Glenn Strange

Actor | Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein

At various times in his life a rancher, deputy sheriff and rodeo performer, this huge, towering (6' 5") beast of a man was born George Glenn Strange in Weed, New Mexico, on August 16, 1899, but grew up a real-life cowboy in Cross Cut, Texas. Of Irish and Cherokee Indian descent, he taught himself (...