32 Greatest Character Actors Working Today

by pbn | created - 1 month ago | updated - 1 month ago | Public

Vulture asked critics and film and TV professionals to name the most memorable character actors working today.

Now we ask you, who do you most like to watch?

Discuss here

1. Hiam Abbass

Actress | Blade Runner 2049

Hiam Abbass was born on November 30, 1960 in Nazareth, Israel. She is an actress and director, known for Blade Runner 2049 (2017), The Visitor (2007) and Inheritance (2012).

2. Becky Ann Baker

Actress | A Simple Plan

Becky Ann Baker was born on February 17, 1953 in Fort Knox, Kentucky, USA as Becky Ann Gelke. She is an actress, known for A Simple Plan (1998), Men in Black (1997) and Spider-Man 3 (2007). She has been married to Dylan Baker since 1987. They have one child.

3. Bill Camp

Actor | 12 Years a Slave

Bill Camp was born on October 22, 1964 in Massachusetts, USA. He is an actor and director, known for 12 Years a Slave (2013), Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) and Joker (2019). He has been married to Elizabeth Marvel since September 4, 2004. They have one child.

4. Jennifer Coolidge

Actress | A Mighty Wind

Jennifer Coolidge is a versatile character actress and experimental comedienne, best known for playing Stifler's mom in American Pie (1999).

She was born on August 28, 1961, in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, to Gretchen (Knauff) and Paul Constant Coolidge, a plastics manufacturer. Young Coolidge was ...

5. Dale Dickey

Actress | Hell or High Water

Dale Dickey was born on September 29, 1961 in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA as Diana Dale Dickey. She is an actress, known for Hell or High Water (2016), Iron Man 3 (2013) and The Pledge (2001).

6. Colman Domingo

Actor | Lincoln

Mr. Domingo has been honored by the Newport Beach Film Festival as a 2018 Artist of Distinction. He has starred in the films Lincoln, The Butler, Selma, The Birth of a Nation and If Beale Street Could Talk. He has been nominated for a Tony, Olivier, Drama Desk and Drama League Award. An actor, ...

7. Walton Goggins

Actor | Justified

Walton Goggins is an actor of considerable versatility and acclaim who has delivered provocative performances in a multitude of feature films and television series. He won a Critics' Choice Award for his performance in the HBO comedy series "Vice Principals" and landed an Emmy nomination for his ...

8. Beth Grant

Actress | Donnie Darko

Raised in the South, Beth Grant moved frequently as a child and enjoys claiming several towns and cities in Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina as home. She was a Page in the North Carolina Senate, attended the North Carolina Governor's School for Gifted and Talented students, and received a ...

9. Judy Greer

Actress | 13 Going on 30

Judy Greer was born and raised outside of Detroit, Michigan, as Judith Therese Evans. She is the daughter of Mollie Ann (née Greer), a hospital administrator and former nun, and Richard Evans, a mechanical engineer. She has German, Irish, English, Welsh, and Scottish ancestry. After training for ...

10. Luis Guzmán

Actor | Traffic

Actor of Puerto Rican descent who gained fame making many memorable films in the 1980s and 1990s due to his villainous physical appearance. Guzmán was born in Cayey, Puerto Rico on August 28, 1956 and raised in New York City's Greenwich Village and the surrounding Lower East Side neighborhood. His ...

11. Stephen McKinley Henderson

Actor | Fences

Stephen McKinley Henderson was born on August 31, 1949 in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. He is an actor, known for Fences (2016), Lady Bird (2017) and Lincoln (2012). He has been married to Pamela Reed Henderson since April 22, 1978.

12. Brian Tyree Henry

Actor | Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Emmy and Tony Award nominee Brian Tyree Henry is a versatile actor whose career spans film, television and theater. Henry originated the role of "The General" in the critically acclaimed Broadway musical "The Book of Mormon," for which he received rave reviews. He currently stars alongside Donald ...

13. Greta Lee

Actress | Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Greta Lee was born on March 7, 1983 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Greta Jiehan Lee. She is an actress and writer, known for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), St. Vincent (2014) and Sisters (2015).

14. John Carroll Lynch

Actor | The Founder

John Carroll Lynch was born August 1, 1963 in Boulder, Colorado, and was raised in Denver. It was there John found a passion for acting and became a Denver Broncos fan. He graduated in the mid-80s with a B.F.A. in theatre from the The Catholic University of America / Hartke Theatre Acting program. ...

15. Jason Mantzoukas

Actor | The Dictator

Jason Mantzoukas was born on December 18, 1972 in Nahant, Massachusetts, USA. He is an actor and producer, known for The Dictator (2012), The Lego Batman Movie (2017) and The House (2017).

16. Tzi Ma

Actor | Mulan

For more than four decades, Tzi Ma (pronounced "TAI MA") has blazed new trails for the representation of Asian Americans in Hollywood. Celebrated for his uncanny versatility, his body of work encompasses virtually every genre across film, television and theater. From big budget studio pictures like...

17. Elizabeth Marvel

Actress | True Grit

Elizabeth Marvel was born on November 27, 1969 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Elizabeth Allen Marvel. She is an actress and director, known for True Grit (2010), Lincoln (2012) and Gifted (2017). She has been married to Bill Camp since September 4, 2004. They have one child.

18. Aparna Nancherla

Actress | A Simple Favor

Aparna Nancherla was born on August 22, 1982 in Washington, District of Columbia, USA. She is an actress and writer, known for A Simple Favor (2018), Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet (2020) and Crashing (2017).

19. Fred Melamed

Actor | A Serious Man

Revered character actor Fred Melamed was born in Queens, NY. His birth-parents were unmarried; an American actress and British psychoanalyst. He was adopted as an infant by Manhattanites Lou and Syma Melamed (nee Krichefsky). His adoptive father was an early television producer, having contributed ...

20. Rob Morgan

Actor | Mudbound

Rob Morgan is an actor, known for Mudbound (2017), Stranger Things (2016) and Daredevil (2015).

21. Denis O'Hare

Actor | Dallas Buyers Club

Denis O'Hare was born on January 17, 1962 in Kansas City, Missouri, USA as Denis Patrick Seamus O'Hare. He is an actor, known for Dallas Buyers Club (2013), Garden State (2004) and The Proposal (2009). He has been married to Hugo Redwood since July 28, 2011. They have one child.

22. John Ortiz

Actor | Silver Linings Playbook

John Ortiz was born on May 23, 1968 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA. He is an actor, known for Silver Linings Playbook (2012), Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007) and American Gangster (2007). He is married to Jennifer Ortiz. They have one child.

23. Gayle Rankin

Actress | The Greatest Showman

Gayle Rankin is an actress, known for The Greatest Showman (2017), GLOW (2017) and The Meyerowitz Stories (2017).

24. Lance Reddick

Actor | John Wick

Lance Reddick was born on June 7, 1962 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA as Lance Solomon Reddick. He is an actor and producer, known for John Wick (2014), John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) and White House Down (2013). He has been married to Stephanie Diane Day since June 2011. He was previously married to ...

25. Stephen Root

Actor | Office Space

Stephen Root, one of today's most prolific character actors, is currently starring in HBO's hit series Barry, for which he received a Best Supporting Actor Emmy Nomination. Barry has been nominated for multiple Emmy's and Golden Globes, and has been renewed through season four. Stephen recently ...

26. Lois Smith

Actress | Minority Report

Lois Smith was born on November 3, 1930 in Topeka, Kansas, USA as Lois Arlene Humbert. She is an actress, known for Minority Report (2002), Lady Bird (2017) and Twister (1996). She was previously married to Wesley Dale Smith.

27. Michael Stuhlbarg

Actor | A Serious Man

Michael Stewart Stuhlbarg was born in Long Beach, California. He attended UCLA, and then The Juilliard School in New York City, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. His other studies included time at the Vilnius Conservatory in Lithuania, the British American Drama Academy at Baliol and...

28. Stephen Tobolowsky

Actor | Spaceballs

Character actor Stephen Tobolowsky was born on May 30, 1951 in Dallas, Texas. Over the past three decades, Tobolowsky has racked up a lengthy list of roles in movies and television across many different genres.

While Tobolowsky initially attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas with ...

29. Lorraine Toussaint

Actress | Hudson Hawk

SAG Award and Critics Choice Award winner for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Lorraine Toussaint shocked audiences on the smash hit Netflix original series "Orange is the New Black" as the viciously seductive inmate Vee. Toussaint's thrilling performance has won her glowing reviews from ...

30. Shea Whigham

Actor | Take Shelter

Born in Florida, educated at the State University of New York-Purchase, and coming from the NYC based theatre scene, Shea Whigham's big break came when director Joel Schumacher cast him opposite Colin Farrell in Tigerland (2000). He has worked opposite Robert DeNiro, Anthony Hopkins, Christian Bale...

31. Isiah Whitlock Jr.

Actor | Da 5 Bloods

Isiah Whitlock Jr. was born on September 13, 1954 in South Bend, Indiana, USA. He is an actor and writer, known for Da 5 Bloods (2020), Cedar Rapids (2011) and BlacKkKlansman (2018).

32. Benedict Wong

Actor | Doctor Strange

Benedict Wong was born on February 20, 1970 in Eccles, England. He is an actor and writer, known for Doctor Strange (2016), Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and The Martian (2015).



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