The 300 Most Underrated Actors (Great Character Actors)

by aladdinsane85 | created - 24 Jan 2011 | updated - 10 months ago | Public

This is a list of actors who may or may not be household names, and most (if not all) of the people listed could be considered "character" actors. Some of these gentlemen may be familiar to you and some may not, but all have given great performances during their respective careers. This list originally ended at 250 people, but seeing that I can now add as many of these deserving actors as I want, this list will continue to grow exponentially.===April 2011

===Updated August 30, 2013=== The list will be increased to 350 starting today. Many thanks to any and all who've commented and left their thoughts on who should be here and who may have been left out. With over 400,000 views and a whole bunch of likes on Facebook I'm continually impressed by the feedback I've received. Much thanks and stay tuned for more! Also keep in mind that this list is three pages long, so if you think I've missed someone, they may be on another page---Andy

== Updated August 7, 2017==

And we're back! It took the better part of four years hemming and hawing and trying to remember my password here, but here I am. The list is still mighty popular here it looks like and will be expanded to the big 4-0-0. Stay tuned for additions in the coming months and keep commenting!

1. 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 ...

In a film career that has extended for over four decades, Ed Lauter has starred in a plethora of film and television productions since making his big screen debut in the 1971 western "Dirty Little Billy". Lauter has portrayed an eclectic array of characters over the years, including (but not limited to), authority/military figures, edgy villains, and good-hearted heavies. Many will remember him for his appearance as the stern Capt. Wilhelm Knauer in 1974's "The Longest Yard" (Lauter also made a cameo in the 2005 remake.) Lauter has also worked with some of the biggest film luminaries of the last fifty years, including Alfred Hitchcock, Lee Marvin, Burt Lancaster and Charles Bronson. With a face that seems to pop up everywhere, Lauter has remained in demand for roles on both television and film. Some of his more recent outings include the films Seraphim Falls (2006, opposite Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan) and 2003's Seabiscuit; as well as appearances on Grey's Anatomy and Psych.

==October 17, 2013==

An acting legend passes.....Ed Lauter, character actor extraordinaire and, from what I've been told, one of the nicest folks you'd ever want to meet has died of mesothelioma at age 74. I'm speechless.......I've been a fan of this man's work for as long as I can remember and this has officially ruined the night. Some time ago (early 2011) I took the time to compile a list of the 250 greatest character actors of all time for the IMDB website and deservedly placed Ed in the #1 slot. Some months afterwards I was contacted by a friend of his via the IMDB messenger/posting system and was told that Ed himself had seen my list and had even taken a copy of it with him when going up to read for film roles. Mr. Lauter's friend was even kind enough to send me Ed's cell phone number (I was told to keep it private) and was also told that Ed appreciated my kind words about him and his acting career on the above bio I wrote for him on the IMDB site. I'm sorry to report that I never did work up enough courage to call up this amazing actor and now, with his untimely death, I'll never get the chance to do so. He will certainly be remembered for his impressive body of work over the past forty years, and especially by me for his kindness in reaching out to me through his friend.....a true legend. Rest in Peace Ed!

2. Richard Lynch

Actor | Halloween

Richard Hugh Lynch was born on February 12, 1940 in Brooklyn, New York City, to Irish immigrant parents. He was one of seven children. Before starting a career as an actor, he joined the United States Marine Corps in 1958. He served for four years where he made Corporal, and did a tour of the ...

As he is remembered....one of the great character actors of our time, Richard Lynch (1936-2012). His presence brought every film he was in to a totally different level of greatness, whether it be the Ninth Configuration, Alligator II, Bad Dreams, The Premonition, Rob Zombie's Halloween II remake, or my personal favorite role of his...."Moon" in "the Seven Ups." A monumental acting talent and villain extraordinaire, the likes of which won't be seen again...RIP good sir.

3. Warren Oates

Actor | The Wild Bunch

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. ...

4. Joe Spinell

Actor | Rocky

Joseph J. Spagnuolo was born on October 28, 1936 in Manhattan, New York City at his family's apartment on 2nd Avenue. Spinell was a tough guy on and off screen all his life. During his teen years, while still in high school, he acted in various plays on the New York stage, on and off Broadway, ...

Someone please upload a picture for the late, great and unforgettable character actor Joe Spinell. He certainly is worthy of being remembered with a photo here on Imdb.

5. Brad Dourif

Actor | One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Gaunt character actor Brad Dourif was born Bradford Claude Dourif on March 18, 1950 in Huntington, West Virginia. He is the son of Joan Mavis Felton (Bradford) and Jean Henri Dourif, a French-born art collector who owned and operated a dye factory. His father died when Dourif was three years old, ...

6. M. Emmet Walsh

Actor | Blood Simple

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.

Michael Emmet Walsh was born in Ogdensburg, to Agnes Katharine (Sullivan) and...

7. Geoffrey Lewis

Actor | The Way of the Gun

Talented and highly capable character actor Geoffrey Lewis, with rustic (sometimes sour-faced) looks, grew up in Rhode Island but was moved out to California at the age of ten. Lewis was very keen on the dramatic arts at high school, but often preferred to put on his own one-man shows rather than ...

8. 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 ...

9. Anthony Zerbe

Actor | The Omega Man

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...

10. J.T. Walsh

Actor | Sling Blade

J.T. Walsh was born on September 28, 1943 in San Francisco, California, USA as James Thomas Patrick Walsh. He was an actor, known for Sling Blade (1996), Breakdown (1997) and A Few Good Men (1992). He was married to Susan West. He died on February 27, 1998 in La Mesa, California.

11. James Rebhorn

Actor | Independence Day

James Robert Rebhorn (September 1, 1948 - March 21, 2014) was an American actor who appeared in over 100 films, television series, and plays. At the time of his death, he had recurring roles in the current series White Collar and Homeland.

An early performance was in Butterflies are Free at the ...

12. Timothy Carey

Actor | The Killing

Timothy Carey had one of the most unusual careers of all Hollywood character actors, obtaining full cult status for his portrayals of the doomed, the psychotic and the plain crazy. Carey's career was an "Only in America" type of story, and he retains his status as a Great American Original a decade...

A few months ago (late 2010) I was first told about this man's peculiar acting style and the sinister roles he portrayed in films such as "The Killing" (1956) and as Lord High n' Low in "Head" (1968.) I first remember cathcing him as the creepy mobster Flo in "The Killing of a Chinese Bookie" (1976) a few years ago and at the time never bothered to learn his name. Looking back on this now, this was a true mistake on my part, as the man had a truly unique career in film and really seemed to follow his own path when choosing roles. I greatly look forward to seeing his brainchild "The World's Greatest Sinner" (1962) in its entirety at some point (how about a DVD? Anyone?) Truly interesting actor, and its a shame he didn't have more roles come his way late in his career. A true talent if there ever was one!

13. David Warner

Actor | Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

David Hattersley Warner was born July 29, 1941 in Manchester, England, to Ada Doreen (Hattersley) and Herbert Simon Warner. He was born out of wedlock and often accepted to be raised by each of his parents, eventually settling with his father and stepmother. His father changed jobs often and moved ...

14. Bo Hopkins

Actor | Midnight Express

Sandy-haired US actor Bo Hopkins was born William Hopkins in Greenville, South Carolina, and was raised by his mother and grandmother after his father passed on when Bo was only nine years old. He joined the US Army at the age of 16. After serving his hitch he decided on acting as a career and ...

15. Anthony James

Actor | Unforgiven

Character actor Anthony James was born on July 22nd, 1942 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Tall and lanky, with a rough, pockmarked face, a lean, stringy build, greasy dark hair and an extremely edgy'n'intense screen presence, James was often cast in Westerns as really scary, sleazy and disgusting ...

16. 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, ...

17. 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, ...

18. Bill McKinney

Actor | Deliverance

Bill McKinney, the movie and television character actor who was one of the great on-screen villains, was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on September 12, 1931. He had an unsettled life as a child, moving 12 times before joining the Navy at the age of 19 during the Korean War. Once, when his family ...

Mainly remember for his performance in Deliverance, McKinney was a presence in a host of other films (including seven Clint Eastwood movies). McKinney died at age 80 on December 1, 2011.

19. Brion James

Actor | Blade Runner

Brion James was born February 20, 1945, in Redlands, California, to Ida Mae (Buckelew) and Jimmy James. The family soon moved to Beaumont, California (between Los Angeles and Palm Springs), where his parents built and operated a movie theater, where stars such as Gene Autry would occasionally stop ...

20. 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 ...

21. Vincent Schiavelli

Actor | Tomorrow Never Dies

Vincent Schiavelli, selected in 1997 by Vanity Fair as one of the best character actors in America, had made over 120 film and television appearances. He studied acting at NYU's Theatre Program. Aside from his acting career, Vincent was the author of three cookbooks, and has written numerous ...

22. Jon Polito

Actor | Miller's Crossing

A veteran of nearly 100 films, Jon Polito is most recognized for his work with The Coen brothers, as well as his many television appearances as a series regular and guest star. Notable motion picture roles include: Millers Crossing, Barton Fink, The Man Who Wasn't There, The Crow, Blankman, and The...

23. Billy Drago

Actor | The Untouchables

Drago is well-known for his villainous parts (leading or supporting), and he is renowned for his rugged yet scary looks and evil smile. He was born William Eugene Burrows in Hugoton, Kansas. He became interested in acting and took his mother's maiden name 'Drago' as a stage name. At first he worked...

24. John Cazale

Actor | Dog Day Afternoon

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 (...

25. Pat Hingle

Actor | Batman

Pat Hingle (real name: Martin Patterson Hingle) was born in Miami, Florida, the son of a building contractor. His parents divorced when Hingle was still in his infancy (he never knew his father) and his mother supported the family by teaching school in Denver. She then began to travel (with her son...

26. Keith David

Actor | The Princess and the Frog

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...

27. Yaphet Kotto

Actor | Alien

Yaphet Kotto was born on November 15, 1939 in New York City, New York, USA as Yaphet Frederick Kotto. He is an actor and writer, known for Alien (1979), Midnight Run (1988) and Live and Let Die (1973). He has been married to Tessie Sinahon since July 12, 1998. He was previously married to ...

28. Ronny Cox

Actor | Total Recall

Ronny Cox is a superbly talented actor, singer-songwriter and musician who has been consistently active in Hollywood for over 40 years portraying a diverse range of characters. Born in Cloudcroft, New Mexico, Cox received positive reviews in his first film role for his portrayal of ill-fated ...

29. Albert Salmi

Actor | The Brothers Karamazov

Albert Salmi was born on March 11, 1927, in Brooklyn, New York, to Finnish parents. After serving in the Army during WWII, he used the GI Bill to study at the Dramatic Workshop of the American Theater Wing and the prestigious Actors Studio. He became a stage actor, very soon landing on Broadway, ...

A familiar face on television during the 1950s and 60s, especially when it comes to Westerns. Salmi also appeared as Rory Poke in "Brubaker" and as Mr. Noonan in "Caddyshack" before his tragic suicide in 1990.

30. Kevin Conway

Actor | Thirteen Days

Kevin Conway was born on May 29, 1942 in New York City, New York, USA as Kevin John Conway. He is an actor and director, known for Thirteen Days (2000), Invincible (2006) and Mercury Rising (1998). He has been married to Mila Burnette since April 15, 1966.

31. Maury Chaykin

Actor | My Cousin Vinny

The award-winning Canadian-American character actor Maury Chaykin was born on July 27, 1949 in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Professor Irving J. Chaykin and his wife Clarice. Irving Chaykin, an American citizen, taught accountancy at the City College of New York. The former Clarice Bloomfield, his...

32. 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 ...

33. Murray Hamilton

Actor | Jaws

Murray Hamilton was one of those character actors whose face would be familiar to most movie buffs at an instant, yet his name may not. That's a shame, because Hamilton was one of the most versatile and prolific of performers who was never anything less than completely convincing in any role he ...

34. Joe Morton

Actor | Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Joe Morton was born on October 18, 1947 in New York, New York, USA. He is a television, film, and theater actor, best known for The Brother from Another Planet (1984), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Eureka (2006), and Scandal (2012). He also writes and directs, and is a singer/songwriter.

35. Tracey Walter

Actor | Repo Man

Tracey Walter was born on November 25, 1947 in Jersey City, New Jersey, USA. He is an actor, known for Repo Man (1984), Batman (1989) and Conan the Destroyer (1984).

36. Claude Akins

Actor | Rio Bravo

Broad-shouldered and beefy Claude Akins had wavy black hair, a deep booming voice and was equally adept at playing sneering cowardly villains as he was at portraying hard-nosed cops. The son of a police officer, Akins never seemed short of work and appeared in nearly 100 films and 180+ TV episodes ...

37. Bob Gunton

Actor | The Shawshank Redemption

Bob Gunton was born on November 15, 1945 in Santa Monica, California, USA as Robert Patrick Gunton Jr. He is an actor, known for The Shawshank Redemption (1994), Daredevil (2015) and Mountain Top (2017). He has been married to Carey Pitts since August 26, 2006. He was previously married to Annie ...

Gotta give some love for ol' Warden Norton.....sadly that's the role he's most known for. Check him out as another unseemly character (C.E. Lively) in the underrated 1987 film "Matawan", opposite Chris Cooper and James Earl Jones.

38. Frank Whaley

Actor | Pulp Fiction

Frank Whaley is a critically acclaimed actor/writer/director. He is best known for the films Pulp Fiction (1994) and Swimming with Sharks (1994), and has worked with Oliver Stone multiple times. His feature directorial debut, Joe the King (1999), earned him the Waldo Salt Screenwriting prize at the...

This man has seemingly been in everything....while that may seem a strange remark, take a look at his filmography. "Hoffa", "Pulp Fiction", "Field of Dreams", "Red Dragon", "Swimming With Sharks" and a plethora of television guest spots over the past twenty years or so!

39. Paul Koslo

Actor | The Omega Man

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 (1966), and then appeared in a rush of movies ...

40. Jason Miller

Actor | The Exorcist

Character actor and playwright Jason Miller had a variety of jobs before he started a writing career and wrote his own play, "That Championship Season", for which he received the Pulitzer Prize Award. Miller gave up his professional writing career in the early seventies to start acting. In 1973, he...

41. William Sanderson

Actor | Blade Runner

Prolific and versatile character actor William Sanderson was born on January 10, 1944, in Memphis, Tennessee. His mother was an elementary school teacher and his father was a landscape designer. William served two years in the US Army. Following his military service he attended Southern Methodist ...

42. John Quade

Actor | Every Which Way But Loose

Character actor John Quade was born John William Saunders on April 1, 1938 in Kansas City, Kansas. Quade transferred from Perry Rural High School in Perry, Kansas to Highland Park High School in Topeka, Kansas in 1954. John was a football tackle and participated in both track and basketball at ...

43. Harris Yulin

Actor | Ghostbusters II

Another one of those frustratingly nameless but omnipresent and talented faces of stage, film and TV, chameleon-like player Harris Yulin has avoided the severe stereotyping lost to many a prolific actor. Benign, balding and often bearded, Yulin off camera was a stark contrast to the tough, ...

44. Al Lettieri

Actor | The Godfather

Menacing looking Italian American actor who developed into the quintessential on-screen hoodlum via several strong roles in key crime films of the early 1970s. Lettieri played the villain against some of Hollywood's biggest screen names including chasing Steve McQueen in The Getaway (1972), ...

45. Luke Askew

Actor | Easy Rider

Tall and rangy, usually sporting long mangy hair, and frequently projecting a strong and intense on-screen presence, character actor Luke Askew made a potent and lasting impression playing a substantial volume of mean and fearsome villains in both motion pictures and television shows alike in a ...

46. Peter Lorre

Actor | Casablanca

Peter Lorre was born Laszlo Lowenstein on Roszahegy, Hungary. He was educated in elementary and secondary schools in Vienna, Austria. As a youth, he 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 ...

47. R.G. Armstrong

Actor | Predator

A golden career was reflected in his name. Robert Golden Armstrong ("Bob" to his friends) was born in Birmingham, Alabama on April 7, 1917. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While there, he was frequently performing on stage with the Carolina Playmakers. After graduating,...

48. 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 ...

49. William Smith

Actor | Any Which Way You Can

Biker, bare-knuckle brawler, cowboy, Bee-Girl fighter, vampire hunter . . . William Smith has done it all. He was born on March 24, 1933, in Columbia, Missouri, on Rolling Acres, a Hereford cattle ranch. After losing everything to the dust bowl, the family moved to California. From 1942, when he ...

Big Bill...A legend. Falconetti, a villain for the ages! And Col. Strelnikov in Red Dawn!

50. Woody Strode

Actor | Spartacus

An athlete turned actor, Strode was a top-notch decathlete and a football star at UCLA. He became part of Hollywood lore after meeting director John Ford and becoming a part of the Ford "family," appearing in four Ford motion pictures. Strode also played the powerful gladiator who does battle with ...

51. Jack Warden

Actor | 12 Angry Men

Jack Warden was born John Warden Lebzelter, Jr. on September 18, 1920 in Newark, New Jersey, to Laura M. (Costello) and John Warden Lebzelter. His father was of German and Irish descent, and his mother was of Irish ancestry. Raised in Louisville, Kentucky, at the age of seventeen, young Jack ...

52. Scott Wilson

Actor | The Ninth Configuration

One chillingly infamous screen role for Scott Wilson in 1967 set the tone for an actor who went on to prove himself an invaluable character player for five decades. The Georgia-born native (Atlanta born and raised) was awarded a basketball scholarship following high school at Georgia's Southern ...

53. 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 ...

54. Fred Ward

Actor | Short Cuts

A marvelous character actor with intense eyes, a sly grin and somewhat grizzled appearance, Golden Globe-winner Fred Ward has nearly 90 appearances under his belt in many tremendous films. He first became interested in acting after serving three years in the US Air Force and studied at New York's ...

55. Scatman Crothers

Actor | The Shining

Scatman Crothers was born Benjamin Sherman Crothers on May 23, 1910 in Terre Haute, Indiana. Songwriter ("Dearest One"), actor, composer, singer, comedian and guitarist who, after high school, appeared in nightclubs, hotels, films and on television. He made many records, including his own ...

56. John Savage

Actor | Hair

John Savage is an American actor best known for his roles in The Deer Hunter (1978), The Onion Field (1979), Hair (1979), Salvador (1986), The Last Full Measure (2019), In Dubious Battle (2016), and the television shows Goliath (2016), Twin Peaks (2017), and Dark Angel (2000). He was born in Old ...

57. David Morse

Actor | The Green Mile

David Morse, a 6' 4" tall blue-eyed blond who performed on stage for 10 years before breaking into film, became established as a respected supporting, character actor and second lead.

He was born the first of four children of Charles, a sales manager, and Jacquelyn Morse, a schoolteacher, on October...

58. David Keith

Actor | An Officer and a Gentleman

David Lemuel Keith was born on May 8, 1954 in Knoxville, Tennessee, the son of Lemuel Grady Keith Jr. and Hilda Earle. He graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Theater. Keith had a supporting role in The Rose (1979) starring Bette Midler, had a supporting ...

59. Edward Herrmann

Actor | Annie

Edward Herrmann was born on July 21, 1943 in Washington, District of Columbia, USA as Edward Kirk Herrmann. He was an actor, known for Annie (1982), Overboard (1987) and The Lost Boys (1987). He was married to Star Herrmann and Leigh Curran. He died on December 31, 2014 in New York City, New York, ...

60. Bob Balaban

Actor | Gosford Park

Bob Balaban was born on August 16, 1945 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Robert Elmer Balaban. He is an actor and director, known for Gosford Park (2001), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and 2010: The Year We Made Contact (1984). He has been married to Lynn Grossman since April 1, 1977. They ...

61. Tom Atkins

Actor | Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Handsome, rugged, versatile and charismatic character actor Tom Atkins was born on November 13, 1935 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Atkins initially became an avid horror film fan in his childhood days; Howard Hawks' immortal classic The Thing from Another World (1951) made an especially strong ...

62. Charles Napier

Actor | The Silence of the Lambs

Lively character actor who usually plays edgy military types and menacing bad guys, Charles Napier's roles have changed little since his debut in Russ Meyer's Cherry, Harry & Raquel! (1970). Napier went on appearing in other Meyer movies, including the homicidal Harry Sledge in Supervixens (...

RIP Chuck Napier!

63. L.Q. Jones

Actor | The Edge

Tall, sandy haired, mustachioed actor from Texas born Justus McQueen, who adopted the name of the character he portrayed in his first film, Battle Cry (1955). Jones, with his craggy, gaunt looks, first appeared in minor character roles in plenty of WWII films including The Young Lions (1958), The ...

64. Frederic Forrest

Actor | Apocalypse Now

Frederic Forrest, the Oscar-nominated character actor, was born two days before Christmas Day 1936 in Waxahachie, Texas, the same home town as director Robert Benton. Forrest had long wanted to be an actor, but he was so nervous that he ran out of auditions for school plays. Later, at Texas ...

65. Elya Baskin

Actor | Spider-Man 2

Elya Baskin is a Russian-American Latvian actor known for his work on Spider-Man 2 (2004), The Name of the Rose (1986) and Spider-Man 3 (2007). He has been married to Marina since 1995. They have one child. He has ultimately become one of the most popular choices whenever a Russian is needed in a ...

Russian actor who has popped up on screen in countless great movies over the past thirty or so years, including "2010", "The Name of the Rose" and "October Sky."

66. Robert Prosky

Actor | Mrs. Doubtfire

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.

67. Burt Young

Actor | Rocky

Burly, talented character actor who has remained consistently busy playing "rough at the edge" type characters, often on the wrong side of the law. Young was born on April 30 1940 in New York City, the son of a high school shop teacher. He is of Italian descent. Young received his dramatic arts ...

68. Richard Jordan

Actor | The Hunt for Red October

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...

69. James Whitmore

Actor | The Shawshank Redemption

Born on October 1, 1921, in White Plains, New York, gruff veteran character actor James Whitmore earned early and widespread respect with his award-winning dramatic capabilities on Broadway and in films. He would later conquer TV with the same trophy-winning results.

The son of James Allen Whitmore ...

70. John Vernon

Actor | Dirty Harry

John Vernon was a prolific stage-trained Canadian character player who made a career out of convincingly playing crafty villains, morally-bankrupt officials and heartless authority figures in American films and television since the 1960s. Vernon has been directed by some stellar filmmakers including...

71. Henry Silva

Actor | The Manchurian Candidate

Henry Silva was born on September 15, 1928 in Brooklyn, New York City. He quit public school to attend drama classes at age 13, supporting himself as a dishwasher in a Manhattan hotel. By 1955, Silva had moved up from dishwasher to waiter, and felt ready to audition for the Actors Studio. He was ...

One of the great screen villains. from "TheManchurian Candidate" to his numerous appearances in violent Italian films of the seventies to one of his last screen roles in Jarmusch's "Samurai: The Way of the Ghost Dog". Also check him out as the drugged out shotgun toting hitman in "Sharky's Machine" alongside Burt Reynolds.

72. Elisha Cook Jr.

Actor | Rosemary's Baby

Although this pint-sized actor started out in films often in innocuous college-student roles in mid-30s rah-rahs, playing alongside the likes of a pretty Gloria Stuart or a young, pre-"Oz" Judy Garland, casting directors would soon enough discover his flair for portraying intense neurotics or ...

Back in 2011 when this list was first being compiled I was largely ignorant of Mr. Cook, having seen him only in The Maltese Falcon as Gilmer and later alongside Vincent Price and Richard Long in The House on Haunted Hill. Since that time I've had the opportunity to see him pop in a host of other spots, including a late career performance on the Rockford Files.

73. G.D. Spradlin

Actor | Ed Wood

G.D. Spradlin started his career as a lawyer, then became an Independent Oil producer. He was active in local politics before turning to acting. He joined the Oklahoma Repertory Theatre in 1964.

Senator Geary in "The Godfather", the General in "Apocalypse Now", and R.J. Hacker in "Canadian Bacon" 1920-2011....RIP

74. David Paymer

Actor | State and Main

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. ...

75. Bruce McGill

Actor | Animal House

Bruce McGill grew up in San Antonio, Texas where he began his acting career in in the MacArthur High School department of theatre. His most popular role was in Animal House (1978).

76. Daniel von Bargen

Actor | RoboCop 3

A character actor who seems to pop up everywhere as the stereotypical cop, military officer and/or tough guy, Von Bargen can turn in performances of stunning complexity when given the chance.

Daniel von Bargen was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on June 5, 1950, to Juanita (Bustle) and Donald L. von ...

Gotta give a shout out to this wonderful actor. In light of his recent tragedy (Feb. 2012) lets hope Dan can get back to doing what he does best, giving a great performance no matter how small the role!

77. Paul Winfield

Actor | The Terminator

Signifying intelligence, eloquence, versatility and quiet intensity, one of the more important, critically acclaimed black actors to gain a Hollywood foothold in the 1970s was Paul Winfield. Born in 1939 in Los Angeles, he lived there in his early years before moving with his family to Los Angeles'...

78. James Gammon

Actor | Major League

Rugged-looking James Gammon first broke into the entertainment industry not as an actor but as a TV cameraman. From there, his weatherbeaten features, somewhat menacing attitude and a tough-as-nails voice--the kind that used to be described in detective novels as "whiskey-soaked"--reminiscent of '...

79. 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 ...

80. Fritz Weaver

Actor | The Thomas Crown Affair

Fritz Weaver, the American actor, was born on January 19, 1926, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He served in Civilian Public Service as a conscientious objector during World War II, breaking into acting in the early 1950s. He made his Broadway debut in October 1955 in "The Chalk Garden," which ...

One of the greats. Especially memorable (at least in my eyes) for his Twilight Zone roles. Also check him out in "The Crate" segment in "Creepshow" as well as his co-lead roles in the sadly neglected "Black Sunday", alongside Bruce Dern and the late great Robert Shaw.

81. Paul Gleason

Actor | The Breakfast Club

Character actor Paul Gleason was adept at playing tough guys and white collar sleazebags, making his film debut in Winter A-Go-Go (1965). He made a name for himself portraying these unlikeable characters. A native of Jersey City, New Jersey, Gleason studied extensively at the Actor's Studio in New ...

82. Josef Sommer

Actor | Strange Days

Josef Sommer is a classically trained stage actor who has also been a prolific performer in films. He made his debut at the age of nine in a production of "Watch on the Rhine" with the Carolina Playmakers in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He trained as an actor at the American Shakespeare Festival in...

83. Edward Fox

Actor | The Day of the Jackal

Edward Fox was born on April 13, 1937 in Chelsea, London, England as Edward Charles Morrice Fox. He is an actor and producer, known for The Day of the Jackal (1973), A Bridge Too Far (1977) and Gandhi (1982). He has been married to Joanna David since 2004. They have two children. He was previously ...

One of the greats. The personification of the dapper English gent, adept at being both a heroic figure (Force Ten From Navarone) and a real bastard (Gandhi and Day of the Jackal)

84. Richard Dysart

Actor | The Thing

Richard Dysart served for four years in the Air Force during the Korean War. He was a founding member of the American Conservatory Theatre, San Francisco. He received the Drama Desk Award in 1972 and a Emmy Award in 1992. He was good friends with Diana Muldaur, who played Rosalind Shays on L.A. Law.

85. Matt Clark

Actor | Back to the Future Part III

Born In Washington, D.C., Matt grew up in Arlington, VA, the son of Frederick W. Clark, a boat builder and cabinet maker, and Theresa (Costello) Clark, owner and director of a private school in Arlington. Following a two-year stint in the army, Matt attended George Washington University, but ...

86. William Atherton

Actor | Die Hard

William Atherton's career has spanned motion pictures, Broadway and television. He first achieved international recognition as the leading man in Steven Spielberg's debut feature The Sugarland Express (1974), and next starred in John Schlesinger's The Day of the Locust (1975), Robert Wise's The ...

Always the jerk...

87. Michael V. Gazzo

Actor | The Godfather: Part II

Michael Vincente Gazzo was born in Hillside, New Jersey, on April 5, 1923. He attended Erwin Piscator's Dramatic Workshop at the New School on the GI Bill after being demobilized from the US Army Air Force after World War II.

Gazzo's first major success was as a playwright. His play about drug ...

88. R. Lee Ermey

Actor | Full Metal Jacket

A talented character actor known for his military roles, Ronald Lee Ermey was in the United States Marine Corps for 11 years. He rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant, and later was bestowed the honorary rank of Gunnery Sergeant by the Marine Corps, after he served 14 months in Vietnam and later did ...

89. Richard Jaeckel

Actor | The Dirty Dozen

Stocky tough-guy character actor Richard Jaeckel was one of Hollywood's most prolific supporting stars. Born in Long Island, New York, on October 10, 1926, Jaeckel's family moved to Los Angeles when he was still in his teens. After graduation from Hollywood High School, Jaeckel was discovered by a ...

90. Stuart Margolin

Actor | Death Wish

Stuart Margolin, the Emmy Award-winning actor and director, was born in Davenport, Iowa. He won two Best Supporting Actor Emmies playing James Garner's former cell-mate "Angel" Martin in The Rockford Files (1974).

Margolin made his debut in The Gertrude Berg Show (1961) before becoming a series ...

91. Richard Riehle

Actor | The Man from Earth

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 ...

92. Zach Grenier

Actor | Fight Club

Zach Grenier was born on February 12, 1954 in Englewood, New Jersey, USA as James Hampton Grenier. He is an actor, known for Fight Club (1999), The Good Wife (2009) and Deadwood (2004). He is married to Lynn Bailey.

Another face who seems to pop up everywhere.....usually playing a corporate type yes man.

93. Stephen Tobolowsky

Actor | Spaceballs

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 ...

94. William Hickey

Actor | National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Son of Edward & Nora Hickey. Best known as the ancient Mafia don in Prizzi's Honor (1985), Hickey had a long, distinguished career in film, television, and the stage. Began career as a child actor on the variety stage. Made Broadway debut as walk-on in George Bernard Shaw's "Saint Joan" (1951 ...

95. Richard Bright

Actor | The Godfather: Part III

Fair complexioned, cold-eyed actor Richard Bright has notched up an impressive array of character performances of often shifty, or deadly characters on the wrong side of the law. First came to attention as a burglar in the engrossing The Panic in Needle Park (1971), and then followed it the ...

96. Clifton James

Actor | Live and Let Die

Blustery, stocky, loud although often genial character actor who has created a niche for himself playing often frustrated and fast talking Southern characters... most noticeably as Sheriff J.W. Pepper alongside Roger Moore in the James Bond adventures Live and Let Die (1973) and The Man with the ...

97. Victor Buono

Actor | What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Larger than life, Laughtonesque, and with an eloquent, king-sized appetite for maniacal merriment, a good portion of the work of actor Victor Buono was squandered on hokey villainy on both film and television. Ostensibly perceived as bizarre or demented, seldom did Hollywood give this cultivated ...

98. Michael Jeter

Actor | Open Range

Michael Jeter was born on August 26, 1952 in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, USA. He was an actor, known for Open Range (2003), The Green Mile (1999) and Jurassic Park III (2001). He was married to Sean Blue. He died on March 30, 2003 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

99. Allen Garfield

Actor | Beverly Hills Cop II

New Jersey-born Allen Garfield was trained at the Actors Studio in New York City. He had a prolific career on the stage before making his film debut in 1968. His stocky build and nervous, jumpy mannerisms fit well with the weaselly criminals, lecherous villains and corrupt businessmen and ...

100. Moses Gunn

Actor | Shaft

Moses Gunn was born on October 2, 1929 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. He was an actor, known for Shaft (1971), Ragtime (1981) and Heartbreak Ridge (1986). He was married to Gwendolyn Mumma Landes. He died on December 16, 1993 in Guilford, Connecticut, USA.



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