Wonderfully talented, heavyset character actor (from New York, but regularly playing Southerners) M. Emmet Walsh has made a solid career of playing corrupt cops, deadly crooks, and zany comedic roles since the early 1970s. First appeared in a few fairly forgettable roles both on TV and onscreen before cropping up in several well remembered films, including a courtroom police officer in What's Up, Doc? (1972), as the weird Dickie Dunn in Slap Shot (1977), and as a loony sniper hunting Steve Martin in The Jerk (1979). On-screen demand heated up for him in the early 1980s with attention-grabbing work in key hits, including Brubaker (1980), Reds (1981), and as Harrison Ford's police chief in the futuristic thriller Blade Runner (1982). Walsh then turned in a stellar performance as the sleazy, double-crossing private detective in the Joel Cohen and Ethan Coen film noir Blood Simple. (1984), and showed up again for the Coens as a loud-mouthed sheet-metal worker bugging Nicolas Cage in the hilarious Raising Arizona (1987). As Walsh moved into his fifties and beyond, Hollywood continued to offer him plenty of work, and he has appeared in over 50 movies since passing the half-century mark. His consistent ability to turn out highly entertaining portrayals led film critic Roger Ebert to coin the "Stanton-Walsh Rule," which states that any film starring Walsh or Harry Dean Stanton has to have some merit. And the "M" stands for Michael!IMDb Mini Biography By: firehouse44
Chunky, rotund frame
Loud, loquacious characters
Often cast as seemingly bellicose but harmless loudmouths, cast chillingly against type in Blood Simple. (1984).
Attended Tilton School in Tilton, N.H.
Was roommates with actor William Devane in college.
Graduated from the Clarkson University School of Business.
Has been deaf in his left ear since age three.
Keeps a home in rural West Swanton, Vermont.
Critic Roger Ebert so admires him that he created the "Stanton-Walsh Rule," which states that "no movie featuring either Harry Dean Stanton or M. Emmet Walsh in a supporting role can be altogether bad." Ebert later admitted this rule was broken by Wild Wild West (1999), in which Walsh appeared.
Appeared in the pilot episode of "The Bob Newhart Show" (1972).
I'm being paid for what I'd do for nothing.
I approach each job thinking I may die of a heart attack, so it had better be the best work possible.
I don't have an ego when I get the work. If I'm playing a doctor I want you to see a doctor. I don't want you to see an Emmet Walsh doctor and that's I think been the confusion with my career. People know my work, but they don't know who I am. I've always had fun hiding in the character.
(September 2004) National Theatre, London, making his UK stage debut in a major revival of "Buried Child" by Sam Shepard.
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