Call This Guy's Agent

by horn-5 | created - 25 Mar 2014 | updated - 29 Mar 2014 | Public

Character actors who could be depended upon to play the character in a film that was a tad bit off-center, or was playing with a deck that was a card short or had a joker in it.

Discuss the poll here.





If you were a casting director, whose agent would you call first.

1. 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 ...

While best know as the grandfather in The Waltons television series, his movie roles ranged from playing Wyatt Earp to an Indian Chief to a convict to a lawyer....none of which resembled anything smacking of type-casting.

2. 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 ...

Possibly the King of Quirkey Characters, most of which had quirks within quirks, and most of which were shuffled off to Buffalo about half-way through the film.

3. 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 adventure Live and Let Die (1973), plus his character ...

Blustery and his opinions wre usually out-of-sync with what was going on, but plugged right on in a damn-the-torpedos appointed course.

4. 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 (...

Okay, name another Hungarian actor who could get away with playing an Asian detective.

5. 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, ...

He never had a communications problem, albeit those around him didn't always gets his message.

6. 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 ...

His alligator-mouth usually overloaded his hummingbird-butt but he was the master of the brazen-bluff...even after his pair-of-treys hand had had been called.

7. Henry Brandon

Actor | The Searchers

German-born Henry Brandon was a character actor in American films, most often seen in villainous roles. His parents emigrated to the US shortly after his birth. His early interest in acting led him to study at the acclaimed Pasadena Community Playhouse. He landed the lead villain role in the Stan ...

His quiet under-playing of such diverse characters, ranging from Nazi-inspired rulers of African jungles to Fu Manchu to a Kiowa war chief just added to their menace.

8. 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 ...

No matter how small the role and accent-present, he had the ability to bring a (usually unwritten ) depth to his characters.

9. Malcolm Atterbury

Actor | Emperor of the North Pole

Philadelphia native Malcolm Atterbury was born into a wealthy family - his father was president of the Pennsylvania Railroad - but he himself had no desire to go into the family business. He had always wanted to be an actor, and to that end got himself a job managing a radio station. From there he ...

A late-comer to films, he could play killers, sheriffs, gangsters, priests, politicians and doctors, sans chewing the scenery or bumping into the furniture, in a presence-noted manner.

10. Lionel Atwill

Actor | Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon

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 ...

No surprises regarding the intent and purpose of his characters , but using a wooden arm as a pegboard for darts puts him on this list.

11. Joseph Wiseman

Actor | Dr. No

Joseph Wiseman was born on May 15, 1918 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He came to Broadway in the 1930s, where he was critically hailed for performances in Shakespeare's "King Lear", Clifford Odets' "Golden Boy" and Anton Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya". Motion pictures in which Wiseman has been seen include ...

KIng of the Unhenged. Period.

12. Donald Pleasence

Actor | Halloween II

Balding, quietly-spoken, of slight build and possessed of piercing blue eyes -- often peering out from behind round, steel-rimmed glasses -- Donald Pleasence had the necessary physical attributes which make a great screen villain. In the course of his lengthy career, he relished playing the ...

King of the Disconnected. Period.

13. 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 ...

If Jeff Corey is not available , call Royal Dano's agent.

14. 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 ...

Need a dog-kicking henchman? Get Elam. Need a klutzy sidekick in an A-feature western. Get Elam.

15. 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. ...

Could swing from the highest mountain (Grapes of Wrath) to the bottom of Gower Gulch (Billy the Kid vs. Dracula).

16. 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 ...

Get Macready. Make sure he brings his all-purpose cane.

17. 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...

An Italian gangster, a Jewish father and the voice of a papa mouse? Get this guy.

18. George E. Stone

Actor | Some Like It Hot

A minor prototype of the "Runyon-esque" character for more than three decades, Polish-born actor George E. Stone (né George Stein) was in actuality a close friend of writer Damon Runyon and would play a host of colorful "dees, dem and dos" cronies throughout the 1920s, '30s, and '40s. With great ...

Stoolies, weazels, gabby cabbies or a cross-dressing sidekick, Stone left nothing unturned. Plus he was real short and short-leading men didn't have to stand on a box to look him in the eye.

19. 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...

Very few actors could play a guy who hates oil-can displays at a service station.

20. Dub Taylor

Actor | The Wild Bunch

Dub Taylor was born on February 26, 1907 in Richmond, Virginia, USA as Walter Clarence Taylor II. He was an actor, known for The Wild Bunch (1969), The Getaway (1972) and Bonnie and Clyde (1967). He was married to Florence Gertrude Heffernan. He died on October 3, 1994 in Los Angeles, California, ...

Not hard to find an actor who can play a redneck, but hard to find a redneck-actor who can play a redneck who hates tattoos. "Cannonball" Taylor could.

21. Norman Fell

Actor | Three's Company

Norman Fell was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1924. He graduated from Temple University with a bachelor's degree in drama. During World War II, he was an Air Force tail gunner in the Pacific. After the war, he studied acting and obtained small parts in television and on stage. His first ...

A BA degree in drama from Temple University and then studying drama with Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg didn't hurt him any.

22. John Marley

Actor | Love Story

Veteran character actor John Marley was one of those familiar but nameless faces that television and filmgoers did not take a shine to until the late 1960s, when he had hit middle age. Distinctive for his craggy face, dark bushy brows and upswept silvery hair, his life (born in 1907) started out ...

Get me that guy who played a dead man and didn't crack up while Lee Marvin sang Happy Birthday to him.

23. 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 ...

Owner of one of the two saddest faces in films...the other one belonged to Droopy the Dog.

24. Dwight Frye

Actor | Bride of Frankenstein

An extremely versatile character actor and originator of several memorable characterizations in the horror film genre, Dwight Frye had a notable theatrical career in the 1920s, moving from juvenile parts to leads before entering film. A favorite actor of Broadway theatrical producer-director Brock ...

King of the Geeks.

25. 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 ...

The names you never remember with faces you never forget list was created for Beamont's Justin McQueen.

26. Dabney Coleman

Actor | WarGames

For decades, Dabney Coleman has often appeared as a smarmy, selfish, nervous person, often with money, who is mostly out for himself. He did such a good job in this type of part that he's made a career of it in film.

Dabney Wharton Coleman was born in Austin, Texas, to Mary Wharton (Johns) and ...

Coleman's characters did not recognize nor practice political correctness.

27. Jeffrey Jones

Actor | Amadeus

Jeffrey Duncan Jones was born in Buffalo, New York. He is a very tall, fair-haired character actor who is recognized all over for his excellent work. He is a veteran stage actor having such plays as "The Elephant Man" and Neil Simon's "London Suite" under his belt. His first film role was in The ...

Unlike Ferris, the Principal from Hell never took a day off.

28. 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 ...

A supporting-cast member who was capable of carrying the film on his own.

29. Wilford Brimley

Actor | Cocoon

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

Brimley and another former-stuntman friend Richard Farnsworth, made a bit they had been doing for years---hummimg Name That Tune---and made it one of the many highlight scenes in "The Natural."

30. Martin Balsam

Actor | All the President's Men

Martin Henry Balsam was born on November 4, 1919 in the Bronx, New York City, to Lillian (Weinstein) and Albert Balsam, a manufacturer of women's sportswear. He was the first-born child. His father was a Russian Jewish immigrant, and his mother was born in New York, to Russian Jewish parents. ...

Won best-supporting actor Oscar for "A Thousand Clowns (1965)".

31. Barry Corbin

Actor | No Country for Old Men

Barry's full given name is Leonard Barrie Corbin, and he was born on October 16, 1940 in Lamesa, Texas, to Kilmer Blain Corbin, an attorney, and Alma Corbin, an elementary school teacher. Barry has a daughter named Shannon Ross, with whom he shares his 15-acre ranch in Fort Worth, Texas, when he ...

Still working now after 40-plus years as one of the best good-ol'-boys even when his good ol'boy shows up with an agenda that may not be good.

32. Jeff Corey

Actor | Beneath the Planet of the Apes

Jeff Corey was a film and television character actor, as well as one of the top acting teachers in America.

Corey was born Arthur Zwerling on August 10, 1914 in New York City, New York, to Mary (Peskin), a Russian Jewish immigrant, and Nathan Zwerling, an Austrian Jewish immigrant. He was an ...

King of the Whining Losers.

33. Wallace Shawn

Actor | The Princess Bride

American character actor and writer Wallace Shawn has one of those fun, mischievously homely faces just made to entertain. Though he got out of the starting gate rather slowly, he has since excelled on stage, television and film while managing to turn himself into a winner with his loser-type looks...

Do not, under any circumstances, try to outwit him. He can read your mind.

34. 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 ...

Want diversity...try Juror No. 2, Lawyer Dagget and Piglet.

35. 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 ...

Don't play movie trivia with Colonel Potter.