Being a fan of cinema (and in particular B-Grade trash cinema) I wrote this post about my favourite character actors. If I ever get to recreate the cover of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band I would include all 6 of these guys in my pantheon of the greats standing behind me. So here goes, for your reading pleasure enjoy.......
I was watching a movie the other day in the lab and one of those actors appeared on the screen. You know the ones, you get that tickle in the back of your memory and you think "Oh. Its that guy, who was in that thing, he's always playing that type of character, who is he again?"
You know, a character actor. So i got myself on the inter-tubes and thought that I would make a short post about some of the ones that really stick in my memory.
So here I present to you
The Top Six Character Actors of All Time (1972 - present)
6. Earl Boen
So do you need someone to play a Lab Partner? A Scientist? Or a psychologist? Which one do you need? Or Earl here-could even play all 3. Forever immortalized as well-meaning but shifty Psych-Ward-Head-Honcho Dr. Peter Silberman in all three Terminator movies, Earl is your goto guy if you want someone, in a position of power, whose level of competence, you just,... somehow,... can't trust.
A mainstay on the screen and off Earl now makes quite a decent living doing voice overs for video games, including Call of Duty, Baldur's Gate and most infamously as narrator in World of Warcraft.
5. Al Leong
You need Bad Ass Asian? We have Bad Ass Asian!! Introducing Al Leong, That guy from Die Hard, you know the one, the Bad Ass Asian one. Stuck behind the confection stand at Nakatomi Plaza.
Recently appearing in episodes of 24 and Deadwood, Al most certainly owes kudos to his role as Uli in the 1988 action classic for putting his face on the Whose-that?-map!!
Al has had a long career appearing in some serious box office muscle over the past 26 years, in films such as Godziilla, Lethal Weapon and Escape From LA, but for me he will always be remembered as Genghis Khan in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.
4. Vincent Schiavelli
Those eyes!! That hair! But more to the point and forevermore,.... those eyes!! Vincent Schiavelli (10.11.1946-26.12.2005) is probably one of the most recognisable faces in film. With 152 appearances on the big and small screen, Vincent had (and continues to have) an ever growing fanbase amongst character actor loyalists and film enthusiasts everywhere. Born with a visage that could strike pity as well as unsettling "not-quite-rightness" in equal measure, Vincent had the "Gentle Lunatic" market single-handedly sewn up since an early break landed him a role in 1975's One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.
Having appeared in eeeeevvvveeerrryyything, (I'm convinced his face will appear miraculously in a piece of toast any day now), to most people he will be remembered as the Subway Spirit in the movie Ghost.
3. James Hong
This guy is freakin' awesome!!! Why? I hear you ask? One answer. He plays Lo Pan in Big Trouble in Little China. But to boil it down to just one role is to overlook a career spanning a whopping 335 TV, Movie and Video Game appearances since 1955's Soldier of Fortune and culminating in an up to the minute appearance in the recently released re-(tard)make The Day the Earth Stood Still. An even stronger contender for appearing in nearly eeevvvvveerryything (as far as miracle-toast goes, he will share the other side with Vincent Schiavelli), James Hong consistently apperas in the "251 memory bank" when either playing the corporate businessman or 2000 year old evil genius. For shits and giggle; s we highly recommend you get some sagely advice by asking Lo Pan the answers to your serious problems at Ask Lopan . When asked "If i should get out of bed tomorrow?" he replies; Act on your first impulse. Then rip the heart from your foes chest, eat it, then immediately excrete it from your bowels and shove it down their throat.
2. Danny Trejo
When it comes to picking knife-wielding assassins for your B-Grade movie pic, the list begins with Danny Trejo and goes down from there. With a moustache gently laid across like filigree upon his acne-scarred face, Danny Trejo has one of the more fascinating "plucked from obscurity" stories found in the pages of Hollywood Lore. IMDB lists his short biography as thus,..
A child drug addict and criminal, Danny 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 armed robbery and drug offenses, he successfully completed a 12-step rehabilitation program that changed his life. While speaking at a Cocaine Anonymous meeting in 1985, Trejo met a young man who later called him for support. Trejo went to meet him at what turned out to be the set of Runaway Train (1985). Trejo was immediately offered a role as a convict extra, probably because of his tough tattooed appearance. Also on the set was a screenwriter who did time with Trejo in San Quentin. Remembering Trejo's boxing skills, the screenwriter offered him $350 per day to train the actors for a boxing match. Director Andrei Konchalovsky saw Trejo training Eric Roberts and immediately offered him a featured role as Roberts' opponent in the film.
Apart from that, Trejo has one of the sexiest, dare i say it "Prison Chic", tattoos ever to grace the silver screen, his trademark Sombrero Lady
1. Dick Miller
Coming in at number one is Dick Miller. If I ever walk into a bar, a garage, a construction site or garbage dump and i see Dick Miller there, i will shit pure joy into your hat.
The man has been sticking his mug into roles as the "shit-kicking everyman" for over 54 years, always serving you a drink or, filling up your car while simultaneously offering sage advice to youngsters and travellers about strange happenings and unseen forces, which may or may not guide their souls into peril.
If in the 3rd act you need to know just what happened on that fateful night at the Jones Mansion on top of the Town Hill over 4o years ago, Dick Miller is the guy to show up and tell you.
So there you go, thanks so much for indulging me, this blog post has been a labour of love. Enjoy...