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That Guy
February 11, 2010 12:59 PM   Subscribe

Have you ever been watching TV or a movie and pointed to the screen and said, "Hey! It's That Guy!"? Well, here is where you'll find him. This page is dedicated to the character actors collectively known as "That Guy".
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates (96 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
I feel a sock puppet coming.
posted by spicynuts at 1:02 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I take issue with some of these. James Cromwell, Danny Trejo and Sam frickin' Elliot aren't "that guy" guys. Still, a nice parade of character actors.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:03 PM on February 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Maury Chaykin!! Love that guy! Brooklyn, represent!
posted by spicynuts at 1:04 PM on February 11, 2010


I think after April, Danny Trejo will be a household name and a 'That Guy!' no longer ......
posted by mannequito at 1:05 PM on February 11, 2010


One man's that guy is another man's this guy.
posted by rlk at 1:06 PM on February 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ned... Ryerson. "Needlenose Ned"? "Ned the Head"? C'mon, buddy. Case Western High. Ned Ryerson: I did the whistling belly-button trick at the high school talent show? Bing! Ned Ryerson: got the shingles real bad senior year, almost didn't graduate? Bing, again. Ned Ryerson: I dated your sister Mary Pat a couple times until you told me not to anymore? Well?
posted by Poolio at 1:06 PM on February 11, 2010 [7 favorites]


We broke it. Anyone have a mirror?
posted by idiopath at 1:06 PM on February 11, 2010


Bookhouse: "I take issue with some of these."

Yeah, it's hard for me to imagine many SF fans who don't know who Michael Ironside or Clancy Brown are.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:06 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just wanted to say that I love all of your posts, (A)Hand(W)O.
posted by june made him a gemini at 1:06 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Kevin Tighe is not That Guy! He's Roy Fucking Desoto!
posted by bondcliff at 1:08 PM on February 11, 2010


Cool list, but the site should really be titled "The J.T. Walsh Memorial 'That Guy' Index."
posted by brandman at 1:08 PM on February 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


I sincerely think that given the appropriate role, J.T. Walsh could have been an oscar winner. He filled up a screen when he was on. Would have loved to have seen him tackle some Shakespeare.
posted by ExitPursuedByBear at 1:11 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Clint Howard, on the other hand, totally is That Guy. I wonder what's worse, being That Guy or forever being Opie Cuttingham, no matter how many Apollo 13s or Arrested Developments you've done.
posted by bondcliff at 1:11 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are you really That Guy if I know you're Frankie Five Angels and I know you'd never rat?
posted by toodleydoodley at 1:12 PM on February 11, 2010


The (now defunct) website Fametracker had a regular feature called Hey! It's That Guy! that was much more comprehensive than this list. It also had lengthy write-ups about each person, instead of just imdb links. Also, it included women.
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:12 PM on February 11, 2010 [20 favorites]


Guyzone. Flagged.
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:13 PM on February 11, 2010


I think after April, Danny Trejo will be a household name

I think you mean "Edward James Almost", dude.
posted by elizardbits at 1:13 PM on February 11, 2010 [9 favorites]


Fametracker (who seems to be on indefinite hiatus now) used to have that as a feature. Looks like they have a book now.
posted by Wink Ricketts at 1:13 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I never thought of Ben Johnson as "that guy." He was a member of the Wild Bunch for chrissake! I'm sure everyone will have a few of those on this list.

Cool post and cool site though. For me, Jack Gilford is the ultimate "that guy." I love some of the parts these guys got to play: Poker Player 1, Cop 1, Hotel Manager.
posted by marxchivist at 1:14 PM on February 11, 2010


Aww they didn't include my grandmother's cousin, George Murdock, who's been a prolific "that guy" in movies and television (mostly television) for over 40 years.
posted by amyms at 1:15 PM on February 11, 2010


Yeah, it's hard for me to imagine many SF fans who don't know who Michael Ironside or Clancy Brown are.

I dunno. I just had to google Clancy Brown. Then I said "oh right, that guy"
posted by dng at 1:15 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Although I said "bloke" instead of "guy" so maybe he shouldn't be included at all.
posted by dng at 1:16 PM on February 11, 2010


But Chris Cooper was a lead in "Breach"!
posted by ghharr at 1:18 PM on February 11, 2010


Oh yeah, Charles Tyner, the guy the kids bought John Wayne's gravestone from in The Cowboys.

You know, that guy.
posted by marxchivist at 1:18 PM on February 11, 2010


That guy is always Al Leoug. Always. When you see someone and you say, "Oh hey, it's that guy," and you think "and it's not Al Leoug", look closer.

It is Al Leoug, isn't it?

Always.

Sometimes he wears clever disguises. But it's always him.
posted by quin at 1:18 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I dunno. I just had to google Clancy Brown. Then I said "oh right, that guy"

No matter how many Prison Guards With an Inexplicable Chip on Their Shoulder he plays, Clancy Brown will always be Rawhide, damnit.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 1:18 PM on February 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is a blatant and not-as-well-executed ripoff.
posted by lunasol at 1:18 PM on February 11, 2010


Surprised that Albert Salmi wasn't on the list. He was in everything.
posted by ruthsarian at 1:19 PM on February 11, 2010


Oops, should have previewed. I guess *I'm* the one blatantly ripping off!
posted by lunasol at 1:19 PM on February 11, 2010


OBJECTION! I mean, it's generally a pretty good list, but James Cromwell, Giovanni Ribisi and Chris Cooper? Nah.
posted by Skot at 1:20 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Phil motherfucking Leotardo is hardly "that guy."
posted by zoomorphic at 1:20 PM on February 11, 2010


Seriously http://www.fametracker.com/hey_its_that_guy/ <- The place (sadly it seems to have lost its images)
posted by NiteMayr at 1:21 PM on February 11, 2010


Leong *3, what I get for cutting and pasting.
posted by quin at 1:21 PM on February 11, 2010


Once a month, some guys and I (not a sausage-fest by definition, but it's almost always just the guys) get together for good beer and bad movies; I've nominated that we have a Michael Ironside Can Kill You Just By Looking At You theme night, with Scanners and some of the cartoons where he's voicing Darkseid, as well as Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone where he's playing a scar-tissued cyborg named Overdog. Molly Ringwald is also in it, and at one point her character is brought before Overdog and he growls, "I like her." It's one of my very favorite sci-fi moments.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:22 PM on February 11, 2010


I'm pretty sure this site--or one exactly like it--predates Fametracker's feature; I remember people grumbling about Fametracker's version when it debuted. I'm not saying Fametracker ripped the page off, but since the entire Television Without Pity empire was built on copying Danny Drennan's brilliant and illuminating 90210 wrapups, I wouldn't be surprised. That's not idle conjecture, by the way: Sars and Wing Chung, the principles of Dawson's Wrap (which eventually expanded to become TWoP), met on Drennan's Mediarama message boards.
posted by Ian A.T. at 1:23 PM on February 11, 2010


Michael Ironside is not "that guy", he's freaking Michael Ironside.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:25 PM on February 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dormant Gorilla: "Clancy Brown will always be Rawhide, damnit."

Are you high?

There can be only one.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:26 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's hard for me to imagine many SF fans who don't know who Michael Ironside or Clancy Brown are.

To be fair, the "who qualifies" section at the bottom considers Ironside, at least, a marginal case.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:27 PM on February 11, 2010


Before you scroll down even once, it's a field ripe for (whatever you call it where there's a high-tech study of facial characteristics to look for similarities - n - stuph). Knowwhutameen?
posted by rahnefan at 1:27 PM on February 11, 2010


What? No Marshall Bell?!?
posted by Dr. Wu at 1:28 PM on February 11, 2010


Ah, here we go (@6:16).
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:29 PM on February 11, 2010


Where is Bruno Kirby? When you've loved and lost like Bruno has...
posted by tigrefacile at 1:30 PM on February 11, 2010


FADE IN. Four or five years ago. The Card Cheat and I are watching a now-forgotten movie.
FUZZY MONSTER (pointing to the screen): Hey! It's That Guy!
THE CARD CHEAT (shaking his head): No it's not. That's The Poor Man's That Guy.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 1:30 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Its a good site, but I prefer my beans overthunk
posted by Jofus at 1:30 PM on February 11, 2010


Matt Frewer is not "that guy" he's this guy!
posted by GuyZero at 1:31 PM on February 11, 2010


Poolio's joke is on more levels than I can count.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 1:31 PM on February 11, 2010


Yeah, it's hard for me to imagine many SF fans who don't know who Michael Ironside or Clancy Brown are.

Or DC Animated Universe fans. Ironside was a great Darkseid, and, to this day, whenever I read a comic with Lex Luthor in it, I hear Clancy Brown's voice in my head.
posted by maqsarian at 1:33 PM on February 11, 2010


The Mac I had in grad school had an error-message sound effect of the awesome Paul Dooley doing his apoplectic "Refund? Refund?!" freakout in Breaking Away. It is the only reason in the world I occasionally miss that goddamn LC II.
posted by scody at 1:33 PM on February 11, 2010


Michael J. Pollard made a splash with Bonny and Clyde, but sadly sunk back into the That Guy Zone.

Conversely, I am sure that there are thousands upon thousands of waiters, gardeners, drivers, and porn actors who would kill to enter That Guy status.
posted by Danf at 1:33 PM on February 11, 2010


Salon.com did a series of articles on "That Guy" which included this very nice (IMO) profile of Chris McDonald.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:34 PM on February 11, 2010


Matt Frewer? He's Max Headroom, not just some that guy!

/old
posted by Mister_A at 1:36 PM on February 11, 2010


Conversely, I am sure that there are thousands upon thousands of waiters, gardeners, drivers, and porn actors who would kill to enter That Guy status.

Yeah, these guys are incredibly successful actors. More successful (and probably wealthier, many of them) than a flash-in-the-pan marquee name.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:37 PM on February 11, 2010


You know who this list is missing?
J.K. Simmons.
He is a That Guy if there ever was one. His roles in The Closer and Law and Order may make him a bit too famous, but you so do not know his name. 97 career roles. He only has slightly more than half a million hits on google for his name (slightly less than half a mil if you put it in quotes).

For comparison, Brad Pitt has nearly 20 million, Steve Buscemi (another got-a-little-too-famous-That-Guy-even-though-most-of-america-does-not-know-his-name) has about double what JK Simmons has, and Al Leong has a cool quarter mil.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 1:41 PM on February 11, 2010


Chris Cooper being on there is more than a little ridiculous. When you star as one of the leads - name on the poster and everything - of basically every single movie in the past ten years, and won the Best Supporting Actor award from essentially every single organization that gives it out, you cease to be obscure. A lot of these are fantastic, but the fametracker site seemed to really delve deep into that undefinable aspect of being an anonymous yet indelible character actor, while this seems to be a catalogue of male actors who simply aren't on the cover of Teen Beat.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:43 PM on February 11, 2010


Are Sam Elliot and Louis Guzman really "that guy!"
posted by DieHipsterDie at 1:47 PM on February 11, 2010


Clancy Brown will always be Rawhide, damnit.

Where are you, Brother Justin?
posted by davebush at 1:48 PM on February 11, 2010


I'm a fan but when did Harry Dean Stanton lose "That Guy" status? Ain't he a That Guy?
posted by rahnefan at 1:52 PM on February 11, 2010


Chris Cooper being on there is more than a little ridiculous.

Are Sam Elliot and Louis Guzman really "that guy!"

That may be true now, but really, a lot of these people were "That Guys" for me at some point in time.

Meaning that they're actors whose performances I noticed well before I knew their names. And the fact they seemed to play the same character in multiple movies helped put them in the "That Guy" boat as well.
posted by TG_Plackenfatz at 1:58 PM on February 11, 2010


Harry Dean Stanton is not a "That Guy", Harry Dean Stanton is a God among men. Anytime you say his name according to federal law you must take two shots of whiskey, stand at attention and recite the pledge of allegiance.... to Harry Dean Mothaf*cking Stanton. He can make women pregnant at 30 yards and men sterile at 20 ft, he can grasp the pebble from the palm of Master, hot wire a dodge and bake a souffle that won't fall.

HE AIN'T NO "THAT GUY!"
posted by ExitPursuedByBear at 1:59 PM on February 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Needs more Mike Hagerty. That guy is in *everything.*
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:00 PM on February 11, 2010


And I apologize, the Fametracker site also includes Chris Cooper. But it also at least defends itself nicely with an essay about how these roles should've placed him more firmly in the public consciousness than Fametracker believes they did.

I disagree, of course, but I'm sorry for shitting on this other site.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:00 PM on February 11, 2010


I'd like to point out that James Hong aka "Man of a Thousand Faces" should be referred to as Those Guys.
posted by The Mouthchew at 2:01 PM on February 11, 2010


Also, Brian Doyle-Murray.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:02 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pfft, no Brian Thompson?! Lame list.
posted by elendil71 at 2:03 PM on February 11, 2010


James Cromwell, Danny Trejo and Sam frickin' Elliot aren't "that guy" guys.

Well, see, that's the thing; if you came up to me and said the names James Cromwell and Danny Trejo, I'd be all, "oh yeah, the Titanic guy and the short dude in the second Batman movie," and then you'd be like, "no, you fucking imbecile, that's James Cameron and Danny DeVito," and then I'd be like, "hey, no need to call names just 'cause I don't know who James Cromwell, or whoever, is," and you'd say, "come on, he was in L.A. Confidential," and I'd be all, "well, I never saw that," then you'd be like, "it's a good movie, you can borrow my copy if you want", and then I'd say, "that'd be awesome, thanks."

But, yeah, Sam Elliott is totally not a "that guy."
posted by the other side at 2:14 PM on February 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


It seems weird to me that none of these lists include Alan Tudyk, to be honest. Yes, I know he played Wash. The rest of his career has been tiny roles where he was extremely memorable while not doing much, however, and that's enough for him to qualify, I think.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:15 PM on February 11, 2010


Harry Dean Stanton isn't That Guy, he's The Man.

Also, Giovanni Ribisi doesn't belong there. While Mark Dacascos kind of does. If nothing else, he should get recognition for playing the most nationalities ever. I've seen him play Russian, Native American, Japanese, Chinese, Thai and various shades of American to name a few...
posted by slimepuppy at 2:33 PM on February 11, 2010


I love Brion James in movies, and now I can identify his name to his face. And I'm sad to see he died in ... 1999??? Wow.

Some actors successfully turn into something more than a character actor - I mean, Tony Shalhoub may have been stuck being a "that guy" if not for Monk.

But when is the "that gal!" list going to be compiled?
posted by jabberjaw at 2:51 PM on February 11, 2010


The thing that struck me the most about this was seeing photos of Sam Elliott without a mustache. That just looks wrong.
posted by breath at 3:02 PM on February 11, 2010


Cracked.com's take from 2007.
posted by djb at 3:16 PM on February 11, 2010


What, no Frank Nelson? Oh, no! (More here, here, and here. Yes, I know the second link isn't really him, but it's "inspired by" him.)
posted by MegoSteve at 3:31 PM on February 11, 2010


I sort of want to nominate Peter Lorre as being that guy. The real Lorre is probably too famous and celebrated to qualify, though he was a working character actor in a huge amount of films, but what makes me think of him as that guy are all of the films after his death where they go out of their way to make use of a minor character that evokes the look and sound of Peter Lorre for his "hey, it's that guy" quality.
posted by CheshireCat at 3:48 PM on February 11, 2010


Excuse me, no Tracey Walter ? That's a fine plate o' shrimp!
posted by King Sky Prawn at 4:04 PM on February 11, 2010


James Cromwell, Danny Trejo and Sam frickin' Elliot aren't "that guy" guys.

Well, see, that's the thing; if you came up to me and said the names James Cromwell and Danny Trejo, I'd be all, "oh yeah, the Titanic guy and the short dude in the second Batman movie," and then you'd be like, "no, you fucking imbecile, that's James Cameron and Danny DeVito," and then I'd be like, "hey, no need to call names just 'cause I don't know who James Cromwell, or whoever, is," and you'd say, "come on, he was in L.A. Confidential," and I'd be all, "well, I never saw that," then you'd be like, "it's a good movie, you can borrow my copy if you want", and then I'd say, "that'd be awesome, thanks."

But, yeah, Sam Elliott is totally not a "that guy."
posted by the other side at 2:14 PM on February 11 [2 favorites +] [!]


yeah you should really see LA Confidential.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 4:14 PM on February 11, 2010


Also I think the "that guy" moniker is something that might be stolen from The Sports Guy who has blogged about it adnaseum. Often about many of the folks on that list. Unless I missed something and he stole or credited someone else at some point, but he's been doing it for years. I was completely expecting it to be one of the first comments but no one seems to have brought it up.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 4:16 PM on February 11, 2010


Danny Drennan's brilliant and illuminating 90210 wrapups
Thank you, thank you for posting this. They were some of the first snark I encountered on the web, way back in the 90s and I had completely forgotten the guy's name. I still get the giggles thinking about "Claire Chancellorsdottir."
posted by Biblio at 4:21 PM on February 11, 2010


That guy is always Al Leoug. Always. When you see someone and you say, "Oh hey, it's that guy," and you think "and it's not Al Leoug", look closer.

My dad and I have been playing spot Al “Kabong” Leoug for at least two decades. That guy is the guy!
posted by Widepath at 4:23 PM on February 11, 2010


J.T. Walsh could have been an oscar winner

"There was a young man by the name of John Leggit Hunter who ran a filling station business, a good filling station business and he's one of these young men we all come across in life, I'm sure you've come across 'em, who did not deserve what he had and what he had was a beautiful young bride named Sarah. She was a Georgia peach. In fact, she was the picture I had in my mind of the perfect woman so I took it upon myself to take her away from John Leggit Hunter who did not deserve her. Oh, I don't know if I mentioned this but he was a Frenchman who claimed to be an Englishman. It took a lot of strong nylon cord to get her away from him because she was a fighter as well as being a Georgia peach. "

Also, I love me some Clancy Brown, who absolutely stole the entire Highlander film.

"Father! Forgive me , I am a worm ..." [starts laughing diabolically]

[to everyone in the church] "I have something to say! It's better to burn out than to fade away!"
posted by bwg at 4:35 PM on February 11, 2010


any "that guy" list is meaningless without Bradford Dillman.
posted by lapolla at 4:51 PM on February 11, 2010




Seriously... there are a few character actresses that I see EVERYWHERE. In addition to being the motherlode of "That Guy" actors, "Dead Man Walking" is a treasure trove of "That Broad" actresses.
posted by echolalia67 at 6:26 PM on February 11, 2010


Well, see, that's the thing; if you came up to me and said the names James Cromwell and Danny Trejo, I'd be all, "oh yeah, the Titanic guy and the short dude in the second Batman movie," and then you'd be like, "no, you fucking imbecile, that's James Cameron and Danny DeVito," and then I'd be like, "hey, no need to call names just 'cause I don't know who James Cromwell, or whoever, is," and you'd say, "come on, he was in L.A. Confidential," and I'd be all, "well, I never saw that," then you'd be like, "it's a good movie, you can borrow my copy if you want", and then I'd say, "that'd be awesome, thanks."

That'll do, the other side, that'll do.
posted by jamaro at 7:35 PM on February 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


J.T. Walsh is to "That Guy" as Beth Grant is "That Broad"
posted by Ranucci at 7:45 PM on February 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is a great idea and it's a good start, but there are definitely 'That Guys' who are missing. Unfortunately, I can't tell you who they are because I don't know any of their names. Ray Wise, however, is no 'That Guy'!

(On a side note, Marlo Thomas IS 'That Girl'.)
posted by Mael Oui at 7:59 PM on February 11, 2010


Charles Napier FTW.
posted by gimonca at 8:03 PM on February 11, 2010


I think William Fichtner qualifies, but is sadly not yet inducted.
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 8:16 PM on February 11, 2010


The Problem I have with James Cromwell as a "that guy" is whenever I see him in a movie, I immediately think "That stern emotionally-repressed authority figure is actually the villian of this story" and 68% of the time, I'm correct.
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:42 AM on February 12, 2010


...and the other times it would be Star Trek.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 1:25 AM on February 12, 2010


To the "That Gal" list, please add Dale Dickey and Margo Martindale.
posted by Uncle Chaos at 2:54 AM on February 12, 2010


I could have sworn that at one point in internet history, if you searched Google for "That Guy" the first result was Stephen Tobolowsky. However, I can no longer find any evidence of this supposed fact. Does anyone else remember? Am I just crazy?
posted by mrzer0 at 5:46 AM on February 12, 2010


Oh shoot. I missed this post. Is it too late to come in and make a joke re: This Guy?

Dangit. I think it is...
posted by This Guy at 6:15 AM on February 12, 2010


Clint Howard---That Ugly Guy.
posted by stormpooper at 6:44 AM on February 12, 2010


I would add Jeff Kober to the list. He seems to be in everything.
posted by cass at 7:43 AM on February 12, 2010


Wouldn't Steven Segal and the rest of "those guys" from the 80s be considered "that guy"?
posted by stormpooper at 8:07 AM on February 12, 2010


Wow. Looking at that page brings back a ton of personal favourite performances.

AND OMG OF COURSE LEON KOWALSKI IS GENERAL MUNRO... *mind blown*
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:28 AM on February 12, 2010


I will forever know Maury Chaykin as "the fat man" in "Overdrawn at the Memory Bank," as sent up by MS3TK. Or, as he is also known in my house, "really, really Big Brother."
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:43 PM on February 12, 2010


The best thing about this post was that it reminded me about Fametracker (I miss that site!), although, it also reminded me about how crappy TWoP became (pretty much as soon as it stopped being MBTV and definitely when it was bought out by TV Guide or whomever). So, eh.
posted by librarylis at 10:17 AM on February 13, 2010


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