The Character Actor Challenge!

This is a game a couple of my friends from work and I play instead of working. Each of the following is a character actor you would recognize if you saw him. Where do you know these fellas from? Give sufficient information to show you have identified each gentleman.

This is a test of your pop cultural knowledge, not your internet research skills. Anybody can go to IMDB and look these guys up. Don’t do that.

I am offering no prize other than pride and the unquestioned right to lord your superior knowledge over the rest of the teeming millions. First one to get all twelve wins.

I’ll do actresses next, if this gets a positive response.

Here’s the list:

  1. Allan Melvin

  2. Frank Nelson

  3. Vernon Dent

  4. J. T. Walsh

  5. Lee Ermey

  6. Eric Christmas

  7. Richard Libertini

  8. William Sanderson

  9. Arnold Stang

  10. Austin Pendleton

  11. Burton Gilliam

Good Luck!

  1. Vito Scotti

Plunging like stones from a slingshot on Mars.

This is going to require Eve’s Brain.

The only one of the dozen I can picture without reference aids is Arnold Stang. (“Sparrow” from THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM and the gas station guy that Jonathan Winters terrorizes in IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD).


William Sanderson

Best known as Larry from Newhart (“Hi, I’m Larry, and this is my brother Darrel and this is my other brother Darrel”), I’ve also seen him in Bladerunner. He was the toymaker who played chess with Tyrell and who Rutger Hauer and Darryl Hannah hid out with.

J.T. Walsh

If he’s who I think he is, he died recently, didn’t he? He was the pervert in the mental institute in the opening and closing scenes of Slingblade. He made Carl uncomfortable by talking about sexual stuff until, in the end of the movie, Carl finally asked him to stop.

“I hope life isn’t a big joke, because I don’t get it,” Jack Handy

The Kat House
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Well, the only name I could match with something in my mind was J.T. Walsh, whom I last saw in Pleasantville, if memory serves.

Aw, these guys are too modern! Where’s Edward Everett Horton? Franklin Pangborne? Billy Gilbert?

I do know a few, though—

• Frank Nelson is the brilliant “EEEE-yes?” guy who played a lot of headwaiters and floorwalkers in the '50s.

• Vernon Dent was an overweight fellow who played, I believe, in some Laurel & Hardy films.

• Vitto Scotti (who recently died) also played headwaiters a lot—he was a small, Eastern-European type.

• Austin Pendleton and Arnold Stang are both weedy, Barney Fife types.

Ya want character actresses? I’ll give ya character actresses—

Alice Brady

Charlotte Greenwood

Una O’Connor

Mary Wickes

Helen Westley

Margaret Dumont (that’s an easy one!)

Harriett McGibbon

Marion Lorne

Vernon Dent: was actually in a great number of 3-stooges clips

Allen Melvin i remember as Archie’s friend Barney in All in the family

Frank nelson was an actor who appeared in severla variety shows I f I remember correctly, and he was in I love lucy also…I think

Lee Ermey is your steortypical drill sargeant type I remember him most in Full metal jacket

William Sanderson was Larry as previously mentioned

Austin Pendelton is on the tip of my tounge…Argh…

Burton Gilliam was in one of my all time favorites…“Blazing Saddles”

Thats all I got…Im out…peace!!!

I feel more like I do now than I did when I got here.

Richard Libertini:

Wonderful as Praka Lhasa(?) in “All of Me”.


“Did you ever wake up,
Bullfrogs on your–
Bullfrogs on your–
I mean mind?
Did you ever wake up with bullfrogs on your mind?
That’s a sure sign you got bullfrogs on your mind.”
– Wm Harris

Astin Pendleton’s most recent appearance was as the Medical Examiner in HOMICIDE.

Lee Ermey was a former Marine drill sargent who came to prominence in FULL METAL JACKET. Was also the voice of the commander of the plastic soldiers in TOY STORY.

Richard Libertini – Lots of “madman” roles. Best I can think of was the dictator in THE IN-LAWS. Also played Geezle in POPEYE (perfect casting).

Vito Scotti – lots of TV guest appearances, usually as an exciteable Italian.

Arnold Stang – best known for his voice work (TOP CAT) and Chunky candy bar commercials.

Others have been covered.

On the female side:

Charlotte Greenwood delightful British actress – sexy and playful with a deep throaty voice. Watch THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT.

Una O’Connell – played a lot of old women in the 30s, often for comic relief. BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, THE INFORMER.

Mary Wickes – best known for matronly parts. She was in SISTER ACT and was the voice of one of the gargoyles in Disney’s HUNCHBACK.

“What we have here is failure to communicate.” – Strother Martin, anticipating the Internet.

Wasn’t Marian Lorne Samantha Stevens’ ditsy aunt in Bewitched? Spoke with a slight stammer, always had her hand at her mouth saying “Oh, dear”, and usually turned Darrin into a pumpkinhead?

R. Lee Ermey actually was a drill sergeant, that’s why he keeps getting those roles so often. He was in Space: Above and Beyond, and The Frighteners, and more importantly Toy Story 1 & 2, all in exactly the same role.

He does play other characters occasionally, though.


The Legend Of PigeonMan

  • Shadow of the Pigeon -
    Weirdo of the Night

No one knows Eric Christmas!? You deprived people. He says one of the greatest lines I’ve ever heard in a movie.

Oh, and who is he? Mr. Carter, HS principal in the Porky’s series :smiley:

When are you going to realize being normal isn’t necessarily a good thing?

Er, I think that’s Joan Greenwood.

These aren’t as tough but how about:

M. Emmet Walsh (easy)
Pat Hingle
Elisha Cook
John Fiedler
Dana Elcar/Simon Oakland (I always mix them up)

I for one welcome our new insect overlords… - K. Brockman

And for all the MST3K fans,

**"Who is Merrit Stone!!!


I for one welcome our new insect overlords… - K. Brockman

Pat Hingle played Commissioner Gordon in the Batman movies.

Dana Elcar… is that Pete Thornton from MacGyver?


The Legend Of PigeonMan

  • Shadow of the Pigeon -
    Weirdo of the Night

Wasn’t he also the minister in Harold and Maude?

“What’s the cure for disillusionment, Charlie Brown?”

“A chocolate cream and a friendly pat on the back.”

My favorite Vito Scotti role was the episode of the Dick Van Dyke show titled “Give Me Your Walls!” One of my fave DvD shows, as well. One of the best lines: “Hey walls! Everything’s a-gonna be fine!” Marvelous.

Here’s another everyone should know:

Burt Mustin

But where were the Spiders?

I recognized Walsh, Sanderson, and Libertini right away. My personal fave is J.T. Walsh. He did kick butt in Slingblade, but I liked him best as that miserable sergeant in Good Morning, Vietnam.

Changing my sig, because Wally said to, and I really like Wally, and I’ll do anything he says, anytime he says to.

Allan Melvin - Alice’s boyfriend on the Brady Bunch
Frank Nelson - Always played the sales clerk on the Jack Benny Show
Vernon Dent - Three Stooges supporting player.
Lee Ermey - D.I. in Full Metal Jacket
Eric Christmas - never heard of him
Richard Libertini- the Latin American strongman with a Z-shaped scar in The In-laws
William Sanderson - Larry on Newhart
Arnold Stang - co-star in Arnold Scharzenegger’s first picture Hercules in Manhattan
Austin Pendleton - medical examiner on Homicide: Life on the Streets
Burton Gilliam - Slim Pickens’ right-hand man in Blazing Saddles
Vito Scotti - the undertaker in The Godfather

RealityChuck wrote:
Charlotte Greenwood delightful British actress – sexy and playful with a deep throaty voice. Watch THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT.

That’s Joan Greenwood. Charlotte Greenwood was a tall comedienne and dancer popular in 30s and 40s musicals.