"That Guy"!

Have you ever been watching TV or a movie and pointed to the screen and said, "Hey! It's That Guy!"?   Well, here is where you'll find him.   This page is dedicated to the character actors collectively known as "That Guy".

That Guy is easy to recognize and difficult to place.   You can describe him but not name him.

If someone asks, "Do you know the old grubby guy with a big belly and wild white hair that always wears a beat up brown derby and plays a drunk in westerns?"   You'll know exactly who they mean, but you'll have no idea that his name is Dub Taylor.

Here's the lineup (filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database):


Ed Lauter

Ronny Cox

Charles Napier

Nehemiah Persoff

Woodrow Parfrey

Simon Oakland

Elisha Cook Jr.

Paul Dooley

Logan Ramsey

James Rebhorn

Royal Dano

Charles Tyner

Bert Freed

Donald Moffat

John Randolph

Robert Costanzo

Fritz Weaver

James Cromwell

John Dehner

John Doucette

Jack Gilford

Mako

Henry Jones

Mark Margolis

John McGiver

Richard Jaeckel

Andrew Duggan

John Anderson

L. Q. Jones

Leo Gordon

Marc Lawrence

Frank Vincent

William Smith

Al Ruscio

Giovanni Ribisi

Murray Hamilton

Seymour Cassel

Whit Bissell

Bob Hastings

Henry Silva

Bill McKinney

Michael Ironside

Milton Selzer

Michael Ansara

Vito Scotti

Don Stroud

Clint Howard

Dub Taylor

Henry Beckman

Edward Andrews

James Hong

Clancy Brown

John Saxon

M. Emmet Walsh

Jeff Corey

Bob Gunton

Vincent Schiavelli

Brion James

Curtis Armstrong

Robert Webber

Fred Clark

Anthony Caruso

Robert.J. Wilke

Ross Elliott

Anthony Zerbe

Pat Hingle

Ken Lynch

William Schallert

Peter Mark Richman

Eugene Roche

John Polito

Bruce McGill

Austin Pendleton

Chris Cooper

Maury Chaykin

Richard Libertini

Kenneth Tobey

Christopher McDonald

Michael V. Gazzo

Jack Elam

Richard Herd

Richard Edson

Luis Guzman

Harris Yulin

Burton Gilliam

Dick O'Neill

Paul Gleason

Kevin Tighe

Mike Starr

Michael Lerner

Harold Stone

James Tolkan

Monte Markham

Dan Hedaya

Warren Stevens

John Crawford

Charles Aidman

Michael Rooker

Louis Lombardi

Saul Rubinek

Paul Stewart

J T Walsh

Fred Ward

Edward Hermann

Barry Sullivan

Herb Vigran

Mickey Jones

Sam Elliott

Danny Trejo

Peter Jason

Jorge Martinez De Hoyos

Hugh Marlowe

Roscoe Lee Brown

Ben Johnson

Jonathan Banks

Robert Davi

Joe Viterelli

George Tobias

Al Leoug

Billy Drago

John Mitchum

Frank Overton

Richard X. Slattery

Billy Barty

Michael J. Pollard

Ray Wise

Frank Sivero

John Diehl

Matt Frewer

Bruce MacVittie



Selection Criteria

To make it onto this page, a "That Guy" has to have appeared in a solid number of both movies and TV shows.   The numbers are not carved in stone but 75 movies/series and 100 TV guest appearancess are the "lifetime .300 average and 500 homers" for this particular hall of fame.

Bonus points go to guys that have non-recurring roles in multiple hit movies or guest appearances on popular TV shows. For example, check out the appearances for Woodrow Parfrey.   He had a better 1967 than Carl Yastrzemski.   Ubiquity is important.

Here are some considerations:

"That Guy" traits...

The ol' resume indicates quantity over quality

I'll go out on a limb here and guess that most of the guys on this page didn't turn down a lot of roles.   They're not making $10 Million per film; these guys had to work to get paid.

Typecast

When you can say, "You know the guy that always plays the head gypsy? - and everybody pictures Nehemiah Persoff, then he's a That Guy.

Reminds people of somebody more famous

An actor is a That Guy if he can be described as:  "The poor
man's                    ".   Buddy Ebsen's not available?   Get Royal Dano. instead.

Fits an Ethnic Stereotype

Italian Guy = Robert Costanzo
Asian Dude = James Hong
Jewish Guy = Milton Selzer
American Indian = Michael Ansara

Can be described in two words

Mean hick = Bill McKinney
Bad cop = Brion James
Slimy boss = Logan Ramsey
Kindly grandfather = John Randolph

Played the bad guy in a sequel

If you're the bad guy in a movie that ends in "2" or "II" and doesn't begin with "Godfather"; then you might be a That Guy.

No picture on your IMDb page

Seriously, I estimate that 80% of the guys on this list have no picture on their IMDb page.   Check it out for yourself.




And here are the deal breakers...

Too famous

You can't be a "That Guy" if too many people know your name.   There are some borderline cases on here, most notably Michael Ironside, James Cromwell, and John Saxon - but they still haven't quite shed their anonymity.

Got famous

There are some classic That Guy's that jumped from obscurity into the mainstream.   A good example is Len Lesser who would've made the "That Guy Hall of Fame" if he didn't become Uncle Leo on Seinfeld.

Too Obscure

Just because he played a Bar Patron in "Sorority Girls and the Creature From Hell" doesn't mean that Martin Powell makes this list.   It just means that he was drinking on the day the video crew was shooting "Sorority Girls and the Creature From Hell".

Too well known in a particular role

With a total of 227 movie and TV roles, Alan Hale Jr would have been a pretty good That Guy candidate.   Unfortunately, he will forever be known as "The Skipper" from Gilligan's Island.   When you see him, you don't say, "Hey! It's That Guy!"; you say "Hey! It's the Skipper!".   The effect is so strong that even his father, Alan Hale Sr can't make this list because they look too much alike.

Too popular...
(at the moment)

"That Guy" status is temporarily suspended if an actor is in a current hit series or popular movie.   HBO's The Sopranos has temporarily removed most of the Mafia-type That Guy's from this list.   Fortunately, most of them will probably be back.   For sentimental reasons, I've kept Frank Vincent on the list.   If you don't like it, you can go home and get your shine box.

Please keep in mind that the final arbiter in the "who's in" and "who's out" debate is me, so the selections here are just one guy's opinion.