I’m talking about the actors who worked forever and never starred in anything but were recognizable and memorable in whatever they appeared.
I give you Mary Wickes.
I happen to watching White Christmas right now, which is why I’m posting this.
She worked in character roles in movies and TV series (six episodes in this, nine episodes in that) her entire career. She apparently hit the jackpot late in life in the Father Dowling series, but she was well known before that.
I can think of dozens of others. How about you?