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What a Face
December 29, 2010 5:02 PM   Subscribe

What a Face A tribute to character actors with "distinctive" looks. [via mefi projects]
posted by null terminated (81 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Aahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!1111ibeeoneoneonetwo

I thought to myself before I even clicked "I bet Steve Buscemi is on this."
posted by dougrayrankin at 5:08 PM on December 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


My first thought was Vincent Schiavelli.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:11 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I had a big crush on Illeana Douglas ca. Action! as a teenager.
posted by griphus at 5:12 PM on December 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


I love "distinctive" looks. The world is free to swoon over a Brad Pitt or Keanu Reeves, but I would be happy with a William H. Macy or Eddie Izzard.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:13 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Like Illeana Douglas, I often hear Ellen Barkin referred to as being odd looking, but I just find her beautiful. Okay, in a distinctive way, but that's what's so beautiful about her.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:20 PM on December 29, 2010


3 pages of photographs, assembled on a generic Tumblr page started 8 days ago with one line of description being the only other discernable content, constitutes a "tribute?"

There are some awesome pages out there on character actors. Obscure ones. With bios and stuff.
posted by fire&wings at 5:21 PM on December 29, 2010 [11 favorites]


we were drinking coffee at adjoining tables that morning and had exchanged a few pleasantries. i couldn't take my eyes from her. finally i asked "are you...?" and hesitated. "yes", she said, " jack elam's daughter."
posted by kitchenrat at 5:21 PM on December 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


I had a big crush on Illeana Douglas ca. Action! as a teenager.

So did I. Still do.
posted by nevercalm at 5:31 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Too funny, kitchenrat...my first thought was "is Jack Elam on that list?"
posted by JaredSeth at 5:32 PM on December 29, 2010


A lot of them died young.
posted by 3.2.3 at 5:36 PM on December 29, 2010


I had no idea that Vincent Schiavelli was dead!
posted by interrobang at 5:37 PM on December 29, 2010


Slightly different focus but more interesting: The Unsung Joe.
posted by maxwelton at 5:50 PM on December 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


A lot of them died young.

You know how it goes... live fast, die young, and leave a, er, distinctive corpse.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:50 PM on December 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


A lot of them died young.

Quite a few of them, like Feldman and Andre, had medical issues that made them look that way.
posted by octothorpe at 5:53 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wonder what the geneder imbalance means?

He's not on here yet, but has Pete Postlethwaite's nose become unfeasibly huge lately, or was that a prosthetic in The Town?
posted by Artw at 5:55 PM on December 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


No Jack Elam?
posted by dr_dank at 6:03 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Where's Tobo?
posted by dobbs at 6:08 PM on December 29, 2010


Sergio Aragones killed Marty Feldman.
posted by griphus at 6:08 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Came in here to say Edie McClurg stayed to say Jeffrey Jones.
posted by DU at 6:08 PM on December 29, 2010


That font totally makes "Clint Howard" look like "Cunt Howard."
posted by cmoj at 6:09 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Needs some Rossy De Palma, the woman in all those Almodovar films with the Picasso face.
posted by cazoo at 6:13 PM on December 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


And John Cazale too! (He also died young)
posted by cazoo at 6:14 PM on December 29, 2010


I wonder what the geneder imbalance means?

Theories:

1. Audiences enjoy marveling at the abnormal appearance of men in a way they don't enjoy doing this with women.

2. Men are more willing than women to base their career on looking odd.

3. The people in charge of how the actors look (directors, makeup artists, etc.) may consider it their job to make most of the actresses look beautiful, while feeling free to make many of the male actors look ugly.

4. Male characters are more likely to be the kinds of characters that make casting directors look for ugly or odd-looking actors.

5. There are more famous male "character actors" than famous female "character actors."

6. There are more famous male actors, period.

7. It's considered more socially acceptable to draw attention to a man's odd or ugly appearance than to a woman's. So, one might have easily created a blog about actresses with "distinctive" looks, but this blogger wasn't willing to break the taboo. (Similarly, many caricaturists are nervous about doing caricatures of women.)
posted by John Cohen at 6:18 PM on December 29, 2010 [9 favorites]


Getting on Metafilter never seemed so easy.
posted by Avenger50 at 6:24 PM on December 29, 2010


I'm guessing the gender imbalance is due to the Betty Rubble Effect. I.e. all the main stars are men and the supporting actresses are generally love interests of same, so they have to have name power of a similar level. Fred can hang with his bud or his wife, but not his bud's wife.
posted by DU at 6:27 PM on December 29, 2010


Michael Berryman represent!
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:27 PM on December 29, 2010


8. The person making the blog doesn't know of enough female character actors.

To remedy this, I'm going to plug one of my favorites, Miriam Margolyes.
posted by Sara C. at 6:35 PM on December 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Needs more Z'Dar.
posted by brundlefly at 6:38 PM on December 29, 2010


3 pages of photographs, assembled on a generic Tumblr page started 8 days ago with one line of description being the only other discernable content, constitutes a "tribute?"

Yeah, I think if this were not a creation of one of MeFi's Own, it wouldn't have warranted a post. I'm all for celebration of distinctive character actors, but this doesn't feel like that, so much.
posted by Gator at 6:42 PM on December 29, 2010


Some day I want to create a character actor fighting game.

PETER STORMARE vs HARRY DEAN STANTON

FIGHT!
posted by brundlefly at 6:50 PM on December 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


No Skelton Knaggs? No Percy Helton, Mike Mazurki or Ted Cassidy?
posted by motown missile at 6:54 PM on December 29, 2010


No Bill Kennedy
posted by clavdivs at 6:55 PM on December 29, 2010


we were drinking coffee at adjoining tables that morning and had exchanged a few pleasantries. i couldn't take my eyes from her. finally i asked "are you...?" and hesitated. "yes", she said, " jack elam's daughter."

Something awful and childish in me is feverishly hoping she had big bushy eyebrows, a lazy eye, and was swirling her coffee with her middle finger.
posted by cavalier at 7:07 PM on December 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I always loved Illeana Douglas' face, so pretty. Why isn't Rossy de Palma in there?
posted by dabitch at 7:12 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


(I probably should have let the blog become more filled out before posting this, but I thought it could generate some good discussion and might be a good blog to bookmark for those times when you want to remember the name of a character actor.)
posted by null terminated at 7:19 PM on December 29, 2010


darn, someone bear me to my favoeite actor JACK ELAM.
posted by tustinrick at 7:26 PM on December 29, 2010


More females: Linda Hunt, Sandra Bernhard, Sarah Jessica Parker, Heather Matarazzo. I guess the really unconventional one is Linda Hunt, and she rocks it.
posted by dabitch at 7:28 PM on December 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


That Guy, another character actor page posted earlier.
posted by marxchivist at 7:29 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Illeana Douglas is indeed very pretty; but she also chose a lot of roles where her character is very sympathetic (at least the ones I remember). From the limited interviews and 'as herself' roles, she also seems like a really nice person - which shows in her roles.

It's almost strange seeing Illeana on the list but not Susan Sarandon.

I had a crush on Ellen Barkin starting from The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension - I had always thought that she was a model or something (looking it up, apparently that was not the case). Speaking of which, how is Peter Weller not on the list if Tim Curry made it, especially seeing Weller in the last season of Dexter? Sid Haig is almost pedestrian in candid photos, but blossoms into an Avatar on screen.

... and Dany Trejo keeps making me respect him (and the roles he chooses to play, and again, him) more and more.
posted by porpoise at 7:44 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Haha, should have previewed... dabitch - I would have picked Sarah Jessica Parker as the odd one out of your list rather than Linda Hunt... who was just small, although I dislike Sandra Bernhard primarily for her perceived/public personality rather than physical appearance. Does Courtney Love count, or does massive drug use inspired physical deformation not count for "distinctive" appearance?
posted by porpoise at 7:49 PM on December 29, 2010


Courtney Love does not have a "distinctive" appearance. She's just a junkie with bad fashion sense. Did she lose an eye recently or something? Because last time I checked everyone was all, "Wow, that Courtney Love really cleans up nice..."

I was also going to add Fiona Shaw, Imelda Staunton, and Zoe Wanamaker to the list, but I decided they were all too pretty to be counted among the likes of Andre the Giant. But if Courtney Love is what passes for a "distinctive looking character actress", then I'm definitely putting them on the table.
posted by Sara C. at 7:54 PM on December 29, 2010


I'm not so sure the gender imbalance is entirely cultural. Consider the standard deviations in this PDF. As a trend, while there are places where female standard deviations in facial measures exceed those of men (nasal width, wow, some of you ladies have teensy noses), when men have a higher standard deviation, it's rather large by comparison. The same document also notes a higher degree of facial asymmetry in males. If I had to take a stab at why, I might point to the fact that your standard issue* female typically has two X chromosomes to average things (like faces) out, versus the standard issue* male with the "and now, little man, I give this X chromosome to you" one-off X chromosome from mom and a dinky Y without a lot of redundancy.

Dudes' faces are just ... weirder.

* disclaimer recognizing Turner's, Klinefelter's, XXX, XX/XY mosiacism, as well as additional genetic fun; ladies, gentlemen, and everyone in between
posted by adipocere at 8:14 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Illeana Douglas is indeed very pretty; but she also chose a lot of roles where her character is very sympathetic (at least the ones I remember). From the limited interviews and 'as herself' roles, she also seems like a really nice person - which shows in her roles.

She looks like a carrot. /George Costanza

Mostly, though, I think she's just got kind of a weird nose. Not Sissy Spacek proto-Jacko weird, but, you know, unusual.

It's almost strange seeing Illeana on the list but not Susan Sarandon.


Wha? Susan Sarandon is probably the most conventional-looking person in Hollywood. (Although, in her early days... I'll just click the counter myself, shall I?)

posted by Sys Rq at 8:19 PM on December 29, 2010


The sisters are doing it for themselves: no Shelley Duvall?
posted by smirkette at 8:23 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Needs Karen Black.

Everything in life needs Karen Black.
posted by item at 8:29 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, and hell yeah to Imelda Staunton, Miriam Margolyes and raise you Janine Duvitski. (I mightmightmight be ready to posit that the Brits appreciate character actresses more than Americans do.)
posted by smirkette at 8:31 PM on December 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Maury Chaykin. 'Nuff said.
posted by Kinbote at 8:47 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


OK, but another vote against posting Projects stuff too early.
posted by dhartung at 9:03 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's all the Law and Order appearances he made as a lead character, but I kind of feel like Jerry Orbach is weirdly missing from that "tribute archive"...
posted by paulsc at 9:10 PM on December 29, 2010


I don't like the way the living actors' birth years are listed as:

1967 -

It makes it look like we're just waiting for them to die. Those are blanks I'm not really looking forward to filling in.

How about something like b. 1967?
posted by jabberjaw at 9:25 PM on December 29, 2010


Aren't some of the female suggestions here out by virtue of being leads?
posted by Artw at 9:37 PM on December 29, 2010


There are some male faces that have a weird illusory quality about them. Sometimes they seem handsome, other times hideous. Christopher Walken. Nick Cave. Gary Oldman.

Also, I think Joan Cusack has a pretty distinctive face.
posted by Ritchie at 10:21 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Red Wiggle.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:29 PM on December 29, 2010


"… still wonderful, isn't it? And no dialog. We didn't need dialog. We had faces."

They had faces then.
posted by yoHighness at 11:57 PM on December 29, 2010


Timothy Carey
posted by hortense at 12:05 AM on December 30, 2010


So basically faces that don't get boring. Original faces, not just-another-good-looking-star like Tom Cruise or Sharon Stone, or so says the Hollywood ideal: what will they look like as they get older? Who cares? What I'd consider to be an almost polar opposite to that would be The City of Lost Children. Ron Perlman, Daniel Emilfork, Dominique Pinon and Mireille Mossé, to name four. Amazing faces that project character to the viewer, not faces that are blank screens onto which the audience tries to search for some connection. Do you look the perfect ideal? Probably not, as they're very few and far between, so isn't it easier to find a place to stand next to these people who could be ones that would be easier to connect with (and thus connect to the story being told) rather than someone so unattainably attractive who seems to breathe different air than you.
posted by Zack_Replica at 12:29 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


He's not on here yet, but has Pete Postlethwaite's nose become unfeasibly huge lately, or was that a prosthetic in The Town?

He's always had an infeasibly huge conk... him and Alum Armstrong should have a nose-off.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:54 AM on December 30, 2010


Angelica Houston. Hmmm, the ones I really like are the ones I find super-pretty as well.

And yes, porpoise , I see what you mean about SJP being the most unconventional, but she's always perfectly done up. Linda might just have unconventional height, and voice, but she also played a man really well and that counts for something.

Rowan Atkinson should also be on this list. His face served him well.
posted by dabitch at 3:04 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Should Rhea Perlman and her hubby Danny DeVito be on there?
posted by dabitch at 3:13 AM on December 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hiya, folks. Yeah, this is my project, and it's literally just something I knocked together on a whim. Being both an actor and a weird-looking guy myself, I wanted to assemble this little rogues' gallery of others who have used their unusual faces to build careers as performers. It's not meant to be a comprehensive encyclopedia of their lives and times; it's just a reminder of the time I first saw Dieter Laser and exclaimed, "What a face!"

There are lots of great suggestions in this thread, and I'll be adding them. Seriously, how could I have forgotten Michael Berryman? (What a face!) Bring me your craggy, your pockmarked, your asymmetrical. Show me bulging eyes, huge noses and baffling cheekbones.

null terminated, I thank you, but even I agree that this was a little premature for the front page. I hope people will continue stopping by as the gallery grows.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:47 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Needs more Burt Mustin!
posted by usonian at 4:14 AM on December 30, 2010


Barbra Streisand the not-conventionally-pretty stunner.
posted by dabitch at 4:46 AM on December 30, 2010


This link is short by every freaking Fellini movie. There was a director who knew faces.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:03 AM on December 30, 2010


And, by the way, Zasu Pitts. Great face and great name.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:06 AM on December 30, 2010


Needs more Zelda Rubinstein.

"Y'all mind hangin' back? Yer jammin' my frequencies."
posted by castlebravo at 6:44 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


YES! She's awsome! That line is so gangsta.
posted by dabitch at 7:19 AM on December 30, 2010


I've always been partial to David Patrick Kelly. When he's not playing "creepy", he's playing "insane".

(He played a lawyer for Michael Massee's character in a Law'n'Order ep a while back and I half expected Tin Tin and Skank to show up so I could feel like a proper time warp was taking place.)
posted by notsnot at 8:31 AM on December 30, 2010


(while we're at it, what about Brad Dourif? Billy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Doc on Deadwood, the epic slimeball in Lol of the Rings...)
posted by notsnot at 8:33 AM on December 30, 2010


I was thinking of Richard Bakalyan, a face I've known all my life without having a name to go with it until now. From the henchman sidekick in The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes and The Saint Valentine's Day Massacre, to Detective Loach in Chinatown, he's an icon without a name.

Also Buddy Hackett, who is beautiful.
posted by Trochanter at 8:44 AM on December 30, 2010


Yeah, I've officially reached a point where I can't even see a picture of Marty Feldman without smiling. The man was a master-thief when it came to stealing a scene.
posted by quin at 1:33 PM on December 30, 2010


I love projects like this. I've spent hours looking up the people on That Guy! Brad Dourif is absolutely one of these; one of his most memorable (for me) is Alien: Resurrection, where he played the main creepy scientist. That film is a treasure trove of character actors; Michael Wincott, Dan Hedaya, Ron Perlman, Brad Dourif, Dominique Pinon, Gary Dourdan, Raymond Cruz, Leland Orser...all wrapped up in a movie with a great start and a terrible ending.
posted by Existential Dread at 5:43 PM on December 30, 2010


Mary Pat Gleason has had a super career.
posted by h00py at 6:52 PM on December 30, 2010


ThatCanadianGirl: "Like Illeana Douglas, I often hear Ellen Barkin referred to as being odd looking, but I just find her beautiful. Okay, in a distinctive way, but that's what's so beautiful about her"

God, Ellen Barkin made my pulse race when I was younger. Actually she still might; I love that crooked smile.
posted by bwg at 4:54 AM on January 2, 2011


Zero Mastel, people! What has become of the world??
posted by cmoj at 10:53 AM on January 2, 2011


It's Mostel. With a zero.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:00 AM on January 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dammit I always do that. Since I type about Zero Mostel all the time and everything.
posted by cmoj at 11:23 AM on January 2, 2011


He's not on here yet, but has Pete Postlethwaite's nose become unfeasibly huge lately, or was that a prosthetic in The Town?

Oh.
posted by Artw at 7:11 AM on January 3, 2011


God, Ellen Barkin made my pulse race when I was younger. Actually she still might; I love that crooked smile.

Drop what you're doing and watch Oceans 13 now.
posted by brundlefly at 9:28 AM on January 3, 2011


This needs Celia Imrie, and possibly also Ian McKellen
posted by mippy at 8:25 AM on January 4, 2011


Louis Smith is someone else I've seen in a million things.
posted by h00py at 9:03 AM on January 6, 2011


I'm late to the party, but Jackie Hoffman, for sure.
posted by enlarged to show texture at 7:54 PM on January 18, 2011


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