Underrated Character Actors

by brown945 | created - 06 Mar 2013 | updated - 06 Mar 2013 | Public

Just a start.

1. Will Patton

Actor | Armageddon

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...

2. William Fichtner

Actor | Crash

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, ...

3. 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 24 (2008). He has been married to Carey Pitts since August 26, 2006. He was previously married to Annie McGreevey.

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 (1983) to Eddie Moscone in Midnight Run (1988), Cosmo Renfro in The Fugitive (1993), Cypher...

5. Giancarlo Esposito

Actor | Breaking Bad

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 ...

6. Barry Pepper

Actor | Saving Private Ryan

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. ...

7. Djimon Hounsou

Actor | Blood Diamond

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 (2000) by Ridley ...

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 ...

9. Brian Cox

Actor | X2

Brian Cox is an Emmy Award-winning Scottish actor. He was born on June 1, 1946 in Dundee, Scotland, to Mary Ann Guillerline Cox, maiden surname 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 ...

10. Brendan Gleeson

Actor | The Guard

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 ...

11. Alan Rickman

Actor | Die Hard

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 ...

12. Ted Levine

Actor | The Silence of the Lambs

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 ...

13. 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 (...

14. Dexter Fletcher

Actor | Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

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 (1989) where he played opposite real-life love (at the time) Julia Sawalha (Lynda Day on "Press Gang"). His career began at the age ...

15. Garret Dillahunt

Actor | 12 Years a Slave

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 appeared on and off Broadway and in theaters around the country before he began pursuing film and television ...

16. Stephen Root

Actor | Office Space

Stephen Root, one of today's most prolific character actors, can be seen in the critically acclaimed psychological-thriller Get Out (2017), written and directed by Jordan Peele. Root also starred alongside Richard Gere, Peter Dinklage and Walton Goggins in John Avnet's drama-film Three Christs (...

17. Beth Grant

Actress | Donnie Darko

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 ...

18. John C. McGinley

Actor | Scrubs

John C. McGinley'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...

19. Emile Hirsch

Actor | Into the Wild

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 ...

20. Ezra Miller

Actor | The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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 ...

21. Paul Dano

Actor | There Will Be Blood

Paul Dano was born on June 19, 1984 in New York City, New York, USA as Paul Franklin Dano. He is an actor, known for There Will Be Blood (2007), Little Miss Sunshine (2006) and Love & Mercy (2014).

22. Scott Glenn

Actor | The Hunt for Red October

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 ...

23. Paddy Considine

Actor | Dead Man's Shoes

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 ...

24. Cary Elwes

Actor | Saw

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 ...

25. Ed Harris

Actor | The Truman Show

By transforming into his characters and pulling the audience in, Ed Harris has earned a 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

Actor | Sweet Home Alabama

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. ...

27. Michael Biehn

Actor | Aliens

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 ...

28. Sam Neill

Actor | Hunt for the Wilderpeople

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 ...

29. Alison Lohman

Actress | Drag Me to Hell

Alison Lohman was born in Palm Springs, California, to Diane (Dunham), a patisserie owner, and Gary Lohman, an architect. 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, theatrical role playing "Gretyl" in "The ...

30. Richard Jenkins

Actor | The Shape of Water

Richard Jenkins was born on May 4, 1947 in DeKalb, Illinois, USA. He is an actor, known for The Shape of Water (2017), The Visitor (2007) and Step Brothers (2008). He has been married to Sharon R. Friedrick since August 23, 1969. They have two children.

31. Terrence Howard

Actor | Hustle & Flow

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 ...

32. Peter Sarsgaard

Actor | Garden State

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 ...

33. Michael Imperioli

Actor | The Sopranos

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 (1990), as Spider, a local kid who works for the gangsters and has a run-in with a psychopathic ...

34. Casey Affleck

Actor | Gone Baby Gone

An accomplished and striking performer, Academy Award® winner Casey Affleck has established himself as a powerful leading man with performances in multiple upcoming projects.

Caleb Casey McGuire Affleck-Boldt was born in Falmouth, Massachusetts. His mother, Chris Anne (née Boldt), is a school ...

35. Ben Foster

Actor | Hell or High Water

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 ...

36. Gary Oldman

Actor | Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Gary Oldman is a talented English movie star and character actor, renowned for his "big" acting style. One of the most celebrated thespians of his generation, with a diverse career encompassing theatre, film and television, he is known for his roles as Sid Vicious in Sid and Nancy (1986), Drexl in ...

37. Giovanni Ribisi

Actor | Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

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 ...

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 ...

39. Wendell Pierce

Actor | The Wire

Wendell Pierce was born on December 8, 1963 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. He is an actor, known for The Wire (2002), Selma (2014) and Horrible Bosses (2011).

40. Adrien Brody

Actor | The Pianist

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 ...