Great "one off" acting performances

Tom Arnold, dunno, I’d guess comedian but that would assume he was ever funny.

Richard Dawson, to a lot of people of a certain age he’s far more known as the long running host of Family Feud. I didn’t know he was a “real actor” beyond his Running Man role until seeing Hogan’s Heroes reruns on Nick at Nite.


I thought that Matthew McConanaughey’s performance in True Detective was light years beyond anything he has done before.

Chris Tucker as Ruby Rhod was excellent. As was Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder. Easily my favorite role of his.

This will change, but Yalitza Aparicio was stunning in Roma, her first acting role.

In that case, Robin Williams, Adam Sandler, Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, and countless others would all also qualify as they are all dual category entertainers and if quantity of actual acting gigs ( Tom has 167 acting credits on IMDB; he’s getting paid for acting ) won’t convince you they’re actors then yeah they are all eligible. If not, what makes Tom Arnold a comedian not a comedic actor like the others?

Would you say that Ronald Reagan wasn’t really an actor because you only knew him as a politician? That’s what you’re saying about Richard Dawson after all.

Sadly, he also has the distinction of being the only actor to sell his Oscar. He sold it in 1992 to pay his wife’s medical bills. Winners since 1950 have signed an agreement to never sell their Oscar, but Russell won his in 1947.

Really great movie by the way. It’s a little longer than most, but everyone should make time to see it.

I was unaware of this. I can’t believe someone in Hollywood didn’t step forward to help. And agreeing not to sell your award? Well great, better someone starve to death holding their award I guess :confused::rolleyes:

Indeed. Though unless it’s a colorized version not many people would bother, and then Baby Boomers may be the last generation to grasp the significance of that movie, and only because it was about the life and times of our parents.

I am happy to see others know of this movie and appreciate Russell’s performance.

It was a tiny part, but Donnie Wahlberg was both believable and unrecognizable in The Sixth Sense.
Harry Connick Jr in Copycat (I also enjoyed him in PS I Love You, but Copycat was probably more of a stretch for him)
Courtney Love in The People vs Larry Flynt
Cher in Mask, and Silkwood…not really a one-of if she is consistently good though…

After thinking about it I have my real choice. While in more than one movie he only played one rharacter and better than anyone else could have.

I nominate Nǃxau ǂToma from The Gods Must Be Crazy.

Excuse me? Beatrice Straight first appeared on Broadway in 1939. She won a Tony Award. She was one of the original members of the Actor’s Studio. She also made her first movie in 1952.

Louise Fletcher made her acting debut in 1958. She stopped acting for 11 years to have a family, but her first movie after coming back was a Robert Altman film.

Snodgrass was indeed, a young actress, but she had small roles before Diary. I don’t think any of those examples qualifies as “weren’t full time actors at the time or known as ‘actors.’”

A better example for a beginner might be Karen Allen in Animal House.

I saw in in 1976 at the age of 21, and it immediately became one my top five favorite movies. My dad told me “Once you see it, you’ll never forget it,” and he was right.

Sennia Nanua had done one short film, and then exploded on the screen as Melanie in, “The Girl with All the Gifts,” a slightly different kind of Zombie film that was just outstanding.

Wasn’t he also in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy?
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Haing S. Ngor in The Killing Fields.

32 posts and no mention of M.E. Clifton-James? He of I was Monty’s Double fame? It was an outstanding performance and it was actually true!

I think a good argument could be made that Tom Arnold isn’t an actor, he’s just a guy that appeared in a bunch of movies.

A similar argument could be made about categorizing him as a comedian.

You mean the Karen Allen of the Indiana Jones films? I don’t think the OP is about an actor kiling their first or early performance or is it? Thought ti was about people who weren’t known as actors killing their acting role.

True but are we defining acting by quality or quantity of performances? They’re both great questions but entirely different. If people have paid you over 100 times to do an action it’s clear somebody with skin in the game considers you a profesional at what you’re doing.

Prince Randian in Freaks (1932)

Joseph Welch in Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

Jeff Beck in Blow-Up (1966)

Mick Jagger in Performance (1970)

David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

Wilt Chamberlain in Conan the Destroyer (1984)

Iggy Pop gave a great performance as the Vorta Yelgrun in the episode “The Magnificent Ferengi” (Original air date: January 1, 1998) of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Alica Rhett, who died at the age of 98 in 2014, had just one film role, but she got fame for it. She played India Wilkes, sister of Ashley Wilkes, in Gone With the Wind. At the time of her death she was one of the few actors left sill alive who had had speaking roles in that movie. her real career was as a portrait painter, although after GWTW she had other offers in film, but turned them down. I recall her because she was in my 2013 Death Pool list. She had the nerve to die on January 3, 2014.:smiley: