Actors who played many nationalities

The guy that played the most had to be Anthony Quinn.

Off the top of my head I can name about eight that the Mexican/American actor portrayed.

Arab – Lawrence of Arabia
Mexican - Viva Zapata
Greek - Zorba the Greek
Italian - The Salamander
Native American - They Died with Their Boots on
Spanish - Seven Cities of Gold
North African - Road to Morocco
Filippino - Back to Bataan
French - Lust for Life
American - The Happening (the first one)
(Yes, I know he doubled or tripled with many of these)

I also remember him playing at least two Asians, a Polynesian and I think a couple of South Americans but I am not sure.

I imagine there were a number of other actors who qualify with at least five, but who are they?

My first thought was Jürgen Prochnow, who has played good guys and bad guys of every nationality. Let’s see…

German – Das Boot
Hungarian – The Fall
Russian – The Fourth War
Kazakhstani – Air Force One
Calladan – Dune
Scottish – Macbeth
American – In the Mouth of Madness
British – Robin Hood
French – The Da Vinci Code

That’s all I can come up with for now.

And he played Barabbas

Peter Stormare has played German, French, Italian, Russian, Swedish, and I’m sure plenty of other assorted European nationalities. I don’t have the time to document them all.

My first thought was Erick Avari. Not sure what he’s played in most of his movies; I imagine they’re mostly “various middle-eastern” (it’s a lot harder to figure out now that he’s playing characters with names, rather than “Libyan Ambassador”), but:

Greek: Daredevil
Indian: Heroes
Alien: Stargate
Alien: Star Trek: Enterprise
Ape: Planet of the Apes
Pakistan: The West Wing
Egyptian: The Mummy
Bajoran: Star Trek: DS9
Libya: Seaquest
Alien: Star Trek: Next Generation
French: Nothing Lasts Forever

Cliff Curtis, an ethnically Maori New Zealander has portrayed:

[li]Arabs - Three Kings, Crossing Over[/li][li]Latinos - Training Day, Blow[/li][li]East Indians - A Thousand Words[/li][li]Other Polynesians - Rapa Nui[/li][li] Central Asians -Traffic[/li][/ol]


To quote me in another thread: in between famously playing Khan Singh on the small screen and the big screen, Ricardo Montalban got an Emmy for playing the other kind of Indian in How The West Was Won after passing himself off as Japanese in the Oscar-winning Sayonara and, apparently, getting nominated for a Tony playing a black dude in Jamaica. He’d play an Arab. He’d play a Frenchman. Greek? Check. Mexican? Of course.

Ben Kingsley has to win some award.

Khan was supposed to be a mutt, and weren’t the Stargate guys essentially human, except for the parasites? Avari is of course one of the few Parsi semi-famous people.

Cliff Curtis, an ethnically Maori New Zealander has portrayed:

[li]Arabs - Three Kings, Crossing Over[/li][li]Latinos - Training Day, Blow[/li][li]East Indians - A Thousand Words[/li][li]Other Polynesians - Rapa Nui[/li][li] Central Asians -Traffic[/li][/ol]

6- Maori in Whalerider and Genesis
7-Generic American in the TV series Missing
8-Something Slavic as Reuben Palchuk in the TV series Trauma
9-Nonspecific cave man in 10,000 BC

Gary Oldman:

Danish (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead)

Female is probably Meryl Streep

Looking at IMDB I can see for Kingsley:


I’m probably missing some there.


On the show, Lieutenant McGivers takes one look at the guy and figures him for the Northern India area – probably a Sikh, she adds. I don’t recall her offering any other comments on the matter; she just paints a turban-wearing Khan Singh while nobody else comments on the guy’s ethnicity.

I stated that he IS **ethnically Maori **so he really isn’t portraying something that he already is when he is portraying a Maori.

Yul Brynner:

American white guy (Magnificent Seven)
Italian (Death Rage)
Robot (Futureworld, Westworld)
Russian (The Serpent)
Thai (The King and I)
Mexican (Adios Sabata)
French (The Madwoman of Chaillot)
Polish (Romance of a Horsethief)
Argentinian (The Light at the Edge of the World)
Bosnian (The Battle of Neretva)
Indian (The Long Duel)
German (Triple Cross)
Israeli (Cast a Giant Shadow)
Japanese (Flight from Ashiya)
Native American (Kings of the Sun)
Ukrainian (Taras Bulba)
Arab (Escape from Zahrain)
Nubian (Solomon and Sheba)
Egyptian (The Ten Commandments)

Tony Shalhoub played Lebanese-American Frank Haddad in The Siege after playing an Italian immigrant on Wings and a Russian immigrant in Paulie before getting his big break as Adrian Monk, who wiki sez is of Welsh ancestry; just make sure to factor in all the times he played someone named “Jorge” or “Sanz,” and then add a bonus point for playing Kwan playing Chen on GalaxyQuest.

I’m guessing Eli Wallach might make the list, but I don’t know his career well enough to provide details.

I first saw Carlo Rota playing a Lebanese(?) Muslim guy on Little Mosque on the Prairie and then saw him on 24 as a guy named O’Brian. I see in his credit he’s also been a Russian, but I haven’t seen too many of his other works to be able to give a full list. Anyone?

And I’ll add one more. He played an Eskimo in The Savage Innocents.

Take a look at Leonard Nimoy’s non-Spock credits some time: Chief Black Hawk, Karlo Rozwadowski, Nino Baselicce, Indio Ramirez, and on through from Mippipopolous to Mermelstein: he’s a Van Gogh, he’s a Kennedy; he’s Werner, he’s Vladeck; he’s playing a Turkish role as Achmet, or he’s billed simply as “evil Moroccan magician”.

(And that’s not even counting his work on MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, where there’s no episode unless he’s believable as a Japanese kabuki performer or whatever.)

No? I don’t speak Trek. I got the impression that some selective breeding or gene combination occurred, and I doubt they’d go out of their way to only pick one ethnicity. But I’ll note that maybe they messed with embryos, and that WoK/other sources weren’t as explicit. It also goes with the multiracial future (Japanese and Filipino(?) named Sulu).