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Actors Whose Whole Thing Is Being Your Father

Updated October 8, 2019 2.2k votes 328 voters 9.6k views14 items

List RulesVote up the actors you never want to disappoint and whose approval you desperately need.

Unless you're going for that whole "rebellious teen thing," you never really want to let your dad down. There is a certain ineffable feeling that comes with disappointing your father. They don't even need to let you know that you've disappointed them... because you're disappointed with yourself. 

There are certain actors who just have an innate ability to embody all things dad. Some actors don't have to be playing a dad - or even a father figure - to inhabit that paternal energy; it just seeps out in their performance and has an effect on the audience. We're talking about the guys who could be having a meltdown while playing a four-star general in the middle of a crisis and you just sit there and say, "Hey, I think I'd like to go out in the front yard and throw a baseball with that man. Maybe talk about life? Pick his brain a little bit?"

On this list, we're going to break down some of the best Dudes Who Dad (copyright pending) in Hollywood. Get ready to beg for some life lessons and some hard-earned approval.

  • Photo: The Sixth Sense / Buena Vista Pictures

    The man most famous for playing action icon John McClane falls most readily into the category of rebel dad. He's the wise-cracker, the street-talker, the ball-buster of the group. This dad is quick-tempered and might say something to hurt your feelings, but he'll always have your back in the end and bail you out of whatever situation you're in.

    That fatherly protective impulse has manifested itself in various forms throughout his career. In Armageddon, he brought out a shotgun just to keep Ben Affleck away from his daughter. In Unbreakable, he was his adoring son's own personal superhero. In The Sixth Sense and Moonrise Kingdom, he was the surrogate father of a lonely kid who desperately needed one. One way or another, you can be sure you'll be in safe hands with Willis's firm and stoic paternal grip.

    • Age: 66
    • Birthplace: Idar-Oberstein, West Germany
    • Nationality: United States of America
  • Photo: Brooklyn Nine-Nine / Fox

    Andre Braugher is blessed with a deep, calm, imposing voice that gives him a natural air of influence no matter what he's talking about. The showrunners of Brooklyn Nine-Nine have used this fact to great comedic effect throughout the series, and the show has probably given Braugher the truest "father figure" role of his lengthy career.

    The man truly feels as if he was handcrafted by God himself to dole out nuggets of wisdom. The Emmy winner has played figures of authority on a near-constant basis, and it's not hard to see why: He just excudes the undeniable air of fatherdom.

    • Age: 59
    • Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
    • Nationality: United States of America
  • Photo: Friday Night Lights / NBC

    For a certain generation of impressionable Americans, Kyle Chandler will forever be known as Friday Night Lights' Coach Taylor. While the long-time character actor has gone on to fill numerous roles in the years since that show went off the air, Chandler's football coach lives on each and every time you see his face.

    The man purely embodies a "tough yet fair" dad - like the kind of dad he portrays in Super 8. Even when he's playing against type, as he does in 2018's Game Night, you can't help but look at him and think, "Coach Taylor is kind of being a butthead, huh?"

    • Age: 56
    • Birthplace: Buffalo, New York, USA
    • Nationality: United States of America
  • Photo: Little Miss Sunshine / Fox Searchlight Pictures

    While Greg Kinnear is certainly a talented actor who can pull off a variety of different roles in both comedies and dramas, there's just something about the guy that says "dad." The actor seems truly at home in Little Miss Sunshine as Richard Hoover, the head of a dysfunctional household who (in a major dad move) wears a belt clip holster for his cell phone.

    Kinnear seems like a guy who's getting up early to tailgate his kid's little league games on Saturday mornings. In recent years alone, Kinnear has played a dad in Heaven Is for Real, Little Men, Same Kind of Different as Me, and Strange but True. It seems like the actor has found his niche, and his niche definitely tucks his polo shirts into his beige cargo shorts.

    • Age: 58
    • Birthplace: Logansport, Indiana, United States of America
    • Nationality: United States of America