The Twenty Actors Meme

I decided to consider myself technically tagged after Princess Fire and Music’s post. Note that she is a better blogger than me: she didn’t cheat. This is Dean Treadway of filmicability’s meme, not the other similar memes going about, which means I have chosen my 20 favorites. Not best, not most admired, just favorite.

This was difficult for me because I love actors, love the roles they get (as opposed to many of the roles women get, as I mentioned in my 20 Actresses Meme post), but I also have a psychotic fondness for supporting actors. There’s a huge huge pool of candidats to choose from. That said, I promise I only cheated a little, and of course I included some runners-up too. And while posting this I recalled several actresses I forgot in the previous Twenty Actresses meme. Where’s Pam Grier? Emma Thompson? Laura Dern? I’m an idiot.

Orson Welles – My favorite actor. I emulate him by walking around the house bellowing, “Who ate the last Fudgsicle?!”

Charles Laughton – Known as Charles Fucking Laughton in this household. And don’t you fucking forget it.

Sterling Hayden

Buster Keaton

Ricardo Montalban

Martin Balsam – Gesundheit.

Peter Lorre

Vincent Price

William Shatner. If you don’t like that picture, try the alternate.

Toshiro Mifune

Cary Grant

Sessue Hayakawa

Claude Rains – It’s hard to see Claude in this picture. Hint: look under the hair.

Fredric March

Dana Andrews

James Mason

George Brent – You have no idea how hard it is to find a picture of a non-mustachioed George.

John Turturro

Samuel L Jackson

Arthur Kennedy – He’s #19.5 in this list of 20.

Jack Benny

Runners up:

Takashi Shimura is a runner-up only because I haven’t seen him in enough films. I haven’t yet seen “Ikuru”, and don’t even remember him in “Godzilla”. The fault here is entirely my own.

Lon Chaney, who I used to adore but my love for him is waning. I’m starting to feel he’s more gimmick than substance. I dunno, that may change.

Robert Mitchum, who is a great actor but without much range. And he’s a dick in interviews.

Dick isn’t officially in this list because I have already sung my praises of Dick in a previous post, but I didn’t want him to feel left out. Here he is with Ginger Rogers doing her Eve Arden impression.


  1. I’m going to do that tacky thing where I answer in your comments section.
    Jerry Lewis
    Bing Crosby
    Peter Lorre
    Robert Mitchum
    Peter Dinklage
    Chiwetel Ejiofor
    Jean-Pierre Leaud
    William Powell
    Johnny Depp
    Jimmy Stewart
    Jack Carson
    Erroll Flynn
    Joel McCrea
    Burt Lancaster
    Bill Murray
    Fred Ward
    James Cagney
    Bruce Campbell
    Lee Marvin
    Jeff Bridges

  2. I forgot Charles Coburn and Elliott Gould and Alan Arkin! I hate myself! Sometimes when I try to picture Charles Coburn I see Charles Laughton in my mind’s eye instead. I’m like, “Hey, Laughton, what did you do with Charles Coburn? Jerk!” It drives me crazy! Goodbye.

  3. Of your list, I’m probably most fascinated by Buster Keaton. I have a modest Vincent Price anecdote, by the way! Back in the late ’80s Price was a guest on a talk show, speaking mostly about his passion for art collecting. Being a sincere but extremely problematic artist myself, I wrote him a letter, admiring his articulate appreciation of the arts. Lord knows how I found his home address, but I did, somehow. And within a week he sent me back a postcard with a handwritten message!! I still treasure it.
    He appreciated the fact too that I had mentioned that the only previous “fan letter” I ever sent was to Boris Karloff, when I was nine. :D I got a generic signed photo with the latter, but that’s okay.

  4. Nice list, excellent selection of photos. I like the well-dressed formality of many of the earlier stars. I have never seen that picture of Cary Grant.

  5. Nice list! John Hodiak would be on mine. Also Tatsuya Nakadai. No Brent or Montalban for me. Henry Fonda and Lancaster would have to be shoehorned in there somehow. Glad you threw in Dick Powell, too!

  6. You’re not being tacky, Jack. I have no problem with you posting your list in comments.

    And all the rest of you can see how hard it is to just limit to 20! You forget people and then think OMG I FORGOT WILLIAM POWELL AND JACK CARSON.

    Which I did. Damn.

  7. I like your list! I did mine here, and if I hadn’t had to keep it to just 20, you can bet i would have added some actors in your list, or in other lists I’ve seen.

    Of course, since Laughton was my own number 1, I’m going to adopt immediatly the way you refer to him in my household, too… he’s got such a lot of “fuck yeah!” moments in his performances that that is really the way he should be addressed.

    (of course, yo, and any other fellow fans of Charles Fucking Laughton are welcome to drop by at my blog of Laughtonian Agit-Prop:

  8. Superb list. Even better with a topless Robert Mitchuma and a very young William Shatner (I don’t think I’ve ever seen him that young? Wow!)

  9. LF Chaney, I have to say that I don’t really know what I think about Lon right now. I still count “The Unknown” and “West of Zanzibar” as two of my favorite movies of all time. But I guess I got a bit put off by reading some biographical items about Lon. Also, his role as the Hunchback really irks me in a way I simply can’t define yet. The character itself is such a fine one, yet so many actors feel they have to inject cuteness (Laughton, Disney) or silliness (Chaney) into the character to coax some humanity out of him, which I find dilutes the entire idea of the Hunchback.

    It’s complicated, and I haven’t finished my thoughts on Lon Chaney, not by a long shot. As always, my opinion should not be construed as reality!

    Please excuse me while I eat this keyboard. Nom nom nom…

  10. I said nothing about anything being libelous, LF, and your sarcasm quotes are unnecessary. Are you really implying that I made my reasoning up? Really?

    I have no desire to argue with someone who is mad that I — a stranger on the Internet — like Lon Chaney enough to put him in my top 25 actors, but not enough to list him in my top 20. That’s silly.

  11. Sadly, King, you can’t! The comments on Blogger blogs only allow text, I guess because of spammers.

    Thad, I just re-watched “Wrong Again” a few days ago, and Stan Laurel is an absolute master of timing. Oliver Hardy was no slouch, either. Easily my favorite comedy duo.

  12. My dear, you misunderstand my humor. I am not angry at all. I am merely saying that any so-called “biographical items” that could sway you into thinking that my performances are largely gimmickry and of little substance are surely libelous. So, again, my question remains, “What is it that you’ve read that has caused you to think along these lines?”

    If I’m mad at anyone, it is R. A. Patterson and the American Tobacco Company.

  13. Empress Stacia, I must be living in a parallel universe since on this comments page I see photos of each person posting, though in Jack’s case it looks like a frog.

    By the way, I agree about Laurel & Hardy–an immortal comedy team.

  14. King, I get what you’re saying! You need to go to your Google/Blogger profile and add a photo. I edit mine by clicking my name, but I can’t click on your name, so I’m not sure you have a Blogger profile. Hope that helps.

Comments are closed.