Last week we took a look at our first part of 20 Actors You Love But Whose Names You Don’t Know, and this week we’re continuing the education so that you can stop referring to that one guy from that movie as, well, “that one guy from that movie”! So, onwards!
- Neal McDonough
McDonough has been a supporting actor in so many high profile movies and TV series – his latest stint sees him play latest big bad Damien Darhk in the upcoming season of Arrow – that you would think everybody would know his name by now. Instead, Darryn is always asking me who the second generation Irish-American actor is. While that may also have something to with Darryn having the leaky memory of a rusty colander though, McDonough is not as much of a household name as he should be.
Most memorable appearances: Band of Brothers, Captain America: The First Avenger, Minority Report, Justified, Boomtown
- David Paymer
You would think that getting nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1992 would help audiences get to know Paymer other than that mopey Jewish guy from all those movies, but you would apparently be wrong. Even I had to google his name just the other day. Paymer has been a mainstay in Hollywood and US television since the 1970’s, playing a huge amount of doctors, bureaucrats and, well, mopey Jewish guys.
Most memorable appearances: Mr Saturday Night, Get Shorty, City Slickers, Quiz Show, Payback, Carpool, Drag Me To Hell
- Miguel Ferrer
The 1980’s/90’s were chock and block full of fast talking scummy movie villains, and a rather large percentage of them were played by Miguel Ferrer. Ever since he broke out big as the unhinged coke-head OCP executive who helped design Robocop in Paul Verhoeven’s 1988 classic, Ferrer has played a string of similar roles in his career. And even when he was one of the good guys, he almost always kept his trademark motormouth, often filled with all kinds of four letter expletives.
Oh and the names of cartoon characters, as Ferrer has a pretty good career as an animated series voice actor.
Most memorable appearances: Robocop, Twin Peaks, Hot Shots! Part Deux, The Stand, Crossing Jordan, NCIS: Los Angeles, Miami Vice
- Constance Zimmer
Want an attractive, no-nonsense ball buster who can flit between making your teenage boy dreams come true and verbally tearing you to shreds on your TV show? Then I hope you have Constance Zimmer on speed-dial. She may not boast the lengthy filmography of some of the others on this list, but the 44 year old American actress of German heritage has been turning in stellar work on television for years. Just a pity I can never remember her name. Maybe that will change now with her latest show UnReal, which has been gaining incredible buzz. Maybe not.
Most memorable appearances: House of Cards, Entourage, Newsroom, Boston Legal, UnREAL, Love Bites, Joan of Arcadia
- BD Wong
Look, to be honest, I know very well who BD Wong is. Hell, when he showed up in a dress, wig and some makeup on a recent episode of Mr. Robot, I instantly knew it was him. I’ve been a huge fan of the man’s work for years. Apparently so have others, but they just seem to know him as that Asian scientist guy from Jurassic Park. His name is BD Wong. Bradley Darryl Wong, if you want to get even more specific. And besides for his numerous movie and TV appearances, he’s actually a Tony Award winning actor for his debut role as Song Liling in the Broadway production of M. Butterfly (which would probably explain why he wears a dress so well).
Most memorable appearances: Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Oz, Focus, Seven Years In Tibet
- Larry Miller
Comedian Larry Miller has successfully transitioned from behind the stand-up mic to in front of the camera by making a career out of being a douche bag. Basically, if the character needs to be annoying, sleazy, pretentious, cocky, etcetera etcetera, Miller was the guy to call. He never really had any major roles, but he was always there – that guy you just couldn’t wait to see get his comeuppance!
Most memorable appearances: Curb Your Enthusiasm, God Bless America, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, Keeping Up With the Steins
- Luis Guzman
For years, Luis Guzman has been the perennial goofball, comic relief sidekick in movies and TV. That’s of course when he wasn’t the goofball, comic relief policeman or the goofball, comic relief henchman, or the… well, you get the drift. The Puerto Rican born actor has of course delved into more serious work though, and is a favourite collaborator with the likes of such Hollywood heavyweights as Paul Thomas Anderson and Steven Soderbergh who have frequently cast him in his work. But despite the extensive list of dramas in his filmography, it’s his work as a funnyman that the pride of Greendale Community College is most remembered for. Now if only people would remember his name.
Most memorable appearances: Boogie Nights, Out of Sight, Homicide: Life On the Street, Oz, Community, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, The Limey, Magnolia, Traffic
- Michelle Forbes
Michelle Forbes actually shared the screen with Luis Guzman in Homicide: Life On the Street, but she’s probably best known for her roles among the stars. The actual outer space stars, I mean, as Forbes famously played the roles of both Admiral Helena Cain on Battlestar Galactica and her short-lived stint as Ensign Ro Laren on Star Trek: The Next Generation. She’s also had to fight off a psychotic Brad Pitt in Kalifornia and caused an entire small town engage in a orgy that would put the Playboy mansion to shame in True Blood.
Most memorable appearances: Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek: The Next Generation, 24, Prison Break, True Blood, Escape From LA, Powers, Homicide: Life On the Street
- Brion James
If you’re a sci-fi geek like I am, then Brion James is probably better known to you as Leon Kowalski, the rampaging replicant in Ridley Scott’s brilliant Blade Runner. It was a role that would make James’ career, but unfortunately also restrict him as the 6ft3 character actor would see him mostly typecast as some kind of snarling villain for decades. Thing is though, he was damn good at it.
James unfortunately passed away in 1999 at age 55 due to a heart attack.
Most memorable appearances: Blade Runner, Southern Comfort, 48 Hrs., Another 48 Hrs., Tango & Cash, Red Heat, The Player, The Fifth Element
- David Morse
True story: I’ve been a fan of and following David Morse’s work ever since the double whammy of great performances from him in the miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s The Langoliers and the critically acclaimed movie The Crossing Guard, both in 1995. Please note: I said 1995. It wasn’t until his 3-season turn on HBO’s Treme in 2010 that I actually learned his name. And even then I kept forgetting it!
But even if it’s been more than 15 years for you and you still don’t know his name, you definitely know his work as the Morse has been a prolific actor in both movies and television. Despite his imposing 6ft4 physical frame, Morse has completely avoided being typecast, playing a wide spectrum of characters in his career, from good guys to killers, gurus to cops, and everything in between.
Most memorable appearances: The Crossing Guard, Hack, The Green Mile, Treme, Disturbia, The Negotiator, Contact, Long Kiss Goodnight, The Rock, St. Elsewhere, House
Last Updated: January 20, 2017