Episode 53 – Giving Them Their Due: Underrated Actors Part 2
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Why Watch That
We’re back to continue our praise of actors who, while not in the spotlight, always hit the mark. In this episode, the Critic and the Referee conclude their two-part conversation about underrated actors. Enjoy!
Kathy Bates (born June 28, 1948) is an American actress and film director. After appearing in several minor film and TV roles during the 1970s and the 1980s, Bates rose to prominence with her performance in Misery (1990), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. She became the first person to win an Oscar for a performance in a horror film; she also received a Golden Globe for the performance.
She followed this with major roles in Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) and Dolores Claiborne (1995), before playing a featured role as Molly Brown in Titanic (1997). She received a Tony Award nomination for her 1983 performance in the Broadway play ‘night, Mother. She won a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance in Primary Colors (1998), for which she also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for About Schmidt (2002).
Her television work has resulted in twelve Emmy Award nominations, two of which were for her starring role on the television series Harry’s Law and, most recently, a win for her highly praised appearance on the third season of FX’s horror-thriller series American Horror Story in which she portrayed Delphine LaLaurie. She won another Emmy Award in 2012 for her portrayal as the ghost of Charlie Harper on CBS comedy series Two and a Half Men, a role formerly portrayed by Charlie Sheen.
Dean Norris (born April 8, 1963) is an American actor, best known for portraying DEA agent Hank Schrader on the AMC series Breaking Bad (2008–2013) and town councilman James “Big Jim” Rennie on the CBS series Under the Dome (2013–present). He has appeared in films such as Lethal Weapon 2 (1989), Total Recall (1990), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Starship Troopers (1997), Little Miss Sunshine (2006), and Evan Almighty (2007).
Keith David Williams (born June 4, 1956), better known as Keith David, is an American film, television, and voice actor and singer. He has acted in many mainstream films, such as Crash, There’s Something About Mary, Barbershop and Men at Work.
He has also had memorable roles in numerous cult film favorites, including John Carpenter’s The Thing (as Childs) and They Live (as Armitage), the Riddick films Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick (as the Imam), the General in Armageddon, King in Oliver Stone’s Platoon, and Big Tim in Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream. David is currently featured in the Fox TV comedy series Enlisted, which debuted in 2014.
David is also well known for his voice-over career, primarily for his Emmy Award-winning work as the narrator of numerous Ken Burns films such as The War. His other voice over work includes Goliath in the Disney series Gargoyles, Spawn/Al Simmons in Todd McFarlane’s Spawn, which aired on HBO, the Arbiter in Halo 2 and Halo 3, David Anderson in the Mass Effect series, the Decepticon Barricade in Transformers: The Game, Julius Little in Saints Row and Saints Row 2, Himself in Saints Row IV, Sgt. Foley in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Dr. Facilier in The Princess and the Frog, the Flame King in Adventure Time, and Chaos in Dissidia Final Fantasy and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy. He is also known for his voice-overs in United States Navy commercials, and he replaced Paul Winfield as the narrator of the City Confidential documentary television crime series.
Lee Allen Tergesen (born July 8, 1965) is an American actor. Tergesen began his career with a bit role in the 1991 prime-time aired pilot Acting Sheriff. Tergesen then starred in Wayne’s World (1992) and Wayne’s World 2 (1993), the 1994 series Weird Science, and a recurring role in the first season of Homicide: Life on the Street. Tergesen’s career took off in 1997 with his critically acclaimed portrayal of Tobias Beecher on HBO’s Oz, a role he played until the series ended in 2003.
His film credits include Point Break, Shaft, Monster, The Forgotten, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, and Wild Iris. He has made several appearances in TV shows such as ER, Rescue Me, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode 517, Criminal Minds episode 511, The 4400, House, Law & Order and two of its spin-offs, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
He played an Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor in the second season of Desperate Housewives, becoming romantically involved with Bree Hodge. He appeared in the USA Network series Royal Pains and in Seasons 4 and 5 of the Lifetime Network series Army Wives. He also played Evan Wright in the HBO mini-series Generation Kill.
Stanley Tucci (born January 11 or November 11, 1960; sources differ) is an American actor, writer, film producer and film director. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Lovely Bones (2009) and won an Emmy Award for his performance in Winchell. He was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children for The One And Only Shrek.
He was nominated three times for Golden Globes, and won twice – for his title role in Winchell (1998) and for his supporting role as Adolf Eichmann in Conspiracy (2001), both for HBO films. He also received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Winchell. He was nominated for Broadway’s Tony Award as Best Actor in a Play for his role as Johnny in the 2002 revival of Terrence McNally’s Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.
In 2004, Caedmon Audio released an audiobook of Tucci reading Kurt Vonnegut’s 1973 novel Breakfast of Champions. He is the voice of the AT&T Wireless “Raising the Bar” marketing campaign. In 2007, he had a recurring role in medical drama ER.
Tucci was co-owner of the Finch Tavern restaurant in Croton Falls, New York. His cookbook, The Tucci Cookbook, was released in Autumn 2012. On September 24, 2013, Variety and Entertainment Weekly reported that Tucci will guest voice-star in the long-running adult animated series American Dad! The episode slated to air as part of the show’s 10th season (2013–14).
Dianne E. Wiest (born March 28, 1948) is an American actress on stage, television and film. She has won two Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award. Wiest also has been nominated for a BAFTA Award.
As Wiest became established as a film actress through her work in Woody Allen’s films, she was less frequently available for stage roles. However, she did appear onstage in the 1990s in In the Summer House, Square One, Cynthia Ozick’s The Shawl, and Naomi Wallace’s One Flea Spare.
In 2003, she appeared with Al Pacino and Marisa Tomei in Oscar Wilde’s Salome. In 2005, she starred in Kathleen Tolan’s Memory House. She also starred in a production of Wendy Wasserstein’s final play Third (directed by Daniel Sullivan) at Lincoln Center.
Wiest spent September 2010 as a visiting teacher at Columbia University’s Graduate Acting Program, working with a group of 18 first-year MFA Acting students on selected plays by Anton Chekhov and Arthur Miller.
Jeffrey Wright (born December 7, 1965) is an American film, television and stage actor. He is known for such roles as Belize in the HBO miniseries Angels in America, Muddy Waters in Cadillac Records, Jean-Michel Basquiat in Basquiat, Felix Leiter in the James Bond films Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, Valentin Narcisse in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, and Beetee in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
Wright began his professional acting career Off-Broadway in New York City and in plays in Washington, DC. In 1990, he appeared in his first major film as an attorney in Presumed Innocent, which starred Harrison Ford. In 1991, Wright joined John Houseman’s national touring repertory company, The Acting Company, and performed in its productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Athol Fugard’s Blood Knot. In 1994, he was cast as Norman “Belize” Arriaga in Tony Kushner’s award-winning play Angels in America. His portrayal of a gay nurse who was forced to take care of Roy Cohn as he dies of AIDS won him the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play.
Jeff Perry (born August 16, 1955) is an American actor of stage, television and film. He currently stars in the ABC political drama Scandal.
After spending nearly two decades with Steppenwolf Theatre Company, in which he is a co-founder, Perry made the move to Los Angeles in 1987 to pursue film and television work. Perry is perhaps best known as Inspector Harvey Leek (a diehard Grateful Dead fan) on the Don Johnson police show Nash Bridges. He was a tough superior to Kevin Bacon’s detective in the thriller Wild Things (1998).
Many of his television and film credits include The Human Stain (2003), Hard Promises (1991) and The Grifters (1990) as well as appearances on the TV series My So-Called Life (1994), The West Wing (1999), The Practice (2003), Lost (2005), Cold Case (2006), Raines (2007), and several episodes of Grey’s Anatomy (2005) as Meredith Grey’s father. He replaced John Billingsley in the role of Terrence Steadman in the critically acclaimed TV show Prison Break.
As of 2012, Perry starred in the ABC drama series Scandal as Cyrus Beene. The series debuted on April 5, 2012 as a mid-season replacement in the 2011–12 television season. The series was created by Shonda Rhimes and is currently in its third season.
Joseph Peter “Joe” Pantoliano (born September 12, 1951) is an American film and television actor. He played the character of Ralph Cifaretto on The Sopranos, Bob Keane in La Bamba, Cypher in The Matrix, Teddy in Memento, Francis Fratelli in The Goonies, Guido “the Killer Pimp” in Risky Business, Eddie Moscone in Midnight Run, and Jennifer Tilly’s violent mobster boyfriend, Caesar, in Bound. He also played Deputy U.S. Marshal Cosmo Renfro in both The Fugitive and U.S. Marshals.
He gained fame amongst a new generation as Cypher in the 1999 landmark sci-fi film The Matrix. In 2003, Pantoliano replaced Stanley Tucci in the Broadway play Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. That same year, he won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for The Sopranos.