"One Hit" Actors

That was the mother, I think. Meredith Baxter (then Baxter-Birney) was meant to be the centre of the show then Fox’s star rose so much the show began to orbit around him.

I do not have a cite handy, but I remember reading somewhere that Topher Grace made a lot of money from That 70s Show, invested it wisely, and now has enough to live comfortably and be picky about what roles he will accept. He only takes roles that are personally interesting for him, and he has free time to devote to his hobby of making fanedits of movies.

Smaller character roles are often more satisfying and interesting for actors than leading roles. Character roles can also provide greater long-term job security than spending five or ten years at the top. “Be a character actor and you’ll work forever” is a quote that has been attributed, with variations, to many actors with long, sustained careers.

No, he was just good at playing Jack Nicholson. That’s all I saw in his Joker.

I would have said he was the worst Joker ever, but then Jared Leto was all “hold my Jägerbomb !”.

Carrie Snodgress made a huge impression in “Diary of a Mad Housewife”, but never had another similarly memorable role.

Among other things, Justine Bateman earned a degree in computer science from UCLA. I’m sure that took some time away from acting.

Decades ago, I was in NYC, walking near Times Square one nigh. On a whim I walked into the theater with a huge ‘Amadeus’ on the marquee. I bought a ticket, found my seat, then it wasn’t until I opened my program that I realized it starred… Luke Skywalker?!?

(He was great. Funny, but also very physical, prancing from a chair back to an end table to an armoire…) I feel lucky to have been there.

Hamill performed in a stage production of Guys and Dolls as well.


Nia Vardalos earned award nominations for writing and starring in the $368m-on-a-$5m-budget smash hit that was My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

She followed that up by writing and starring in Connie and Carla, which — got her no love from anybody handing out awards, and which failed to break even at the box office. From there, we could of course talk about her starring roles in My Life In Ruins and I Hate Valentine’s Day and Helicopter Mom, but (a) it’s going to be a short conversation about disappointing numbers, and (b) granted, we could instead talk about My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, but that’s kind of my point.

I like Malcolm McDowell. He also was the bad guy in the highly underrated Blue Thunder, had a briefly recurring role in the series Community, was the evil team leader in Rob Zombie’s films 31 and Halloween I & 2.

Huh… huge fan of Community, and never realized he played one of the profs. Neat.

Probably Irene Cara, also. She had “Fame” and “Flashdance”, but nothing else of note that I can remember. She’s probably better known for her singing career.

I’d forgotten that Malcolm McDowell was in Blue Thunder. For all his villainous roles, he plays the hero in Time After Time. When you’re in a movie with David Warner, you don’t get to be the bad guy.

I’d like to give a special mention here to a No-hit wonder. Klinton Spilsbury was a model and bit player in a couple of TV shows (under the name (Max Keller) when he was picked to be the star of The Legend of the Lone Ranger. The production got off to a bad start when the producers got an injunction against Clayton Moore, the beloved star of the old TV show, from appearing as the Lone Ranger on the nostalgia circuit. Meanwhile Spilsbury did not endear himself to the producers, crew or cast, and reportedly got into off-camera fights with several members of the company. Eventually all his dialog was dubbed by another actor. The movie bombed, and when you throw in a Spilsbury interview with Andy Warhol that even Warhol called “weird,” you have a prime example of a lead character in a motion picture who never worked in the industry again.

Peter Billingsley, of Christmas Story fame?

Didn’t Tomei win TWO Oscars? She isn’t an A-lister, but she’s great in everything she does.

Having just seen him for an eyewear commercial, how about Jamie Foxx ? He was amazing in Ray, and has worked in a number of movies in a number of different roles. But he didn’t quite become the “next Denzel” as it seemed he was being hyped as. I think his relatively small part in Baby Driver was the last thing I saw him in.

I don’t think she was in Flashdance. She just sang the song.

Tomei only won for My Cousin Vinny, but she was nominated for The Wrestler and In the Bedroom.

Her win and two nominations were all in the Best Supporting Actress category.

Ah right. That was Beals.

Colin Farrell had a great run around 2002. After minority report, I was pretty sure he was gonna be the next Tom Cruise type leading man for action movies. Didn’t turn out that way tho.