Thursday, July 12, 2007

Under-Appreciated Actors

I don't know why this topic came to me as I was on the treadmill over lunch, but I'm rolling with it. Under-rated actors. As rated by me. A totally random list. Mostly the old, some of the new.

#5: Kristin Wiig

Maybe there's more buzz about Wiig than I'm aware of living in Flyover Land, but as someone who's seen SNL in every incarnation since the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players, I think she's got something. Everything I've seen her do... she has that Will Farrell quality of selling it completely.


#4: Delroy Lindo

Based on what little I've seen (Spike Lee's "Clockers" and "Cider House Rules"), Lindo is my favorite still-largely-unknown movie actor. Intensity. He can do it all with his face. I don't know why he's never been nominated for an Oscar.


#3: Max Gail

Remember Sergeant Wojohowitz ("Wojo") from "Barney Miller"? In a great cast on a first-rate show, he's the one that sticks out. He showed a combination of repression and vulnerability I don't think I've seen since.


#2: Shelley Long

Maybe it's inappropriate to nominate a lead actor from one of the most successful TV shows in history, but have you watched a "Cheers" rerun lately? The show holds up pretty well, but the early ones with Sam and Diane... no one else could have played that character.


#1: Edward Winter

At one time, I remember being able to watch M*A*S*H three times a day in syndication between South Bend and Chicago stations. Getting a Col. Flagg episode was like finding an Easter egg. On a show filled with great writing and good acting, he stole it every time. In my book, with the possible exception of Ricky Gervais' David Brent on the original British version of "The Office," Col. Flagg is the greatest character ever invented for TV (although, come to think of it, he was probably based on Sterling Hayden's Brig. Gen. Jack D. Ripper in "Dr. Strangelove").

5 comments:

Stephen Dashboard said...

Col. Flagg: "See this finger? I can break your neck in a fraction of a second--just with this finger." LOL. Loved that guy.

The Wordman said...

okay, I can see why Wojo could seem to be a standout, but everyone on the Barney Miller cast was solid -- Abe Vigoda as Fish and Jack Soo as Detective Nick Yemana were my favorites.

(I caught "Detective Story" (1951) with Kirk Douglas on TCM a few months back -- it's a gritty, more tragi- than comic forerunner to Barney Miller: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0043465/)

Taxi and Barney Miller were the first sitcoms I got hooked on, and they were probably the best I've ever seen, come to think of it -- though M*A*S*H certainly would round out the trinity, at least until the later, David Ogden Stiers years...

great to see these names and faces once again, Bellamy.

Marc Conklin said...

All in all, I think Barney Miller gets the award for Best Series that Didn't Last Long in Syndication... probably because the set itself was realistic and not aesthetically pleasing... kind of busy, noisy and sweaty, which is what was great about the whole show. And it was "multi-cultural" without being self-conscious about it. It was just New York.

vinnie o said...

Love Col. Flagg. My favorite quote was when he dictated the following letter to Radar: "Mares eat oats, and does eats oats, and I'll be home for Christmas. Signed, your loving son, Queen Elizabeth."

I would like to nominate another underrated "actor" - Ralphie Wiggams from the Simpsons. How could you not love: "Me fail English, that's unpossible!" and
"Lisa's dancing makes my feet sad."

Stephen Dashboard said...

I have another one, Waaaaay underappreciated.

Whitner Nutting Bissell

He was in EVERYTHING during the 50s, 60s, and 70s. (he died in 1996)

He was Lurry in the original Star Trek "Trouble With Tribbles" episode.

Just saw him in "The Creature From The Black Lagoon."

This guy worked his ass off: Whit Bissell. That's underappreciated.