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List of Famous Character Actors

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Updated June 8, 2017 34.6k views 183 items

List of famous character actors, with photos, bios, and other information when available. Who are the top character actors in the world? This includes the most prominent character actors, living and dead, both in America and abroad. This list of notable character actors is ordered by their level of prominence, and can be sorted for various bits of information, such as where these historic character actors were born and what their nationality is. The people on this list are from different countries, but what they all have in common is that they're all renowned character actors.

This list contains people like Philip Seymour Hoffman and Tim Allen.

From reputable, prominent, and well known character actors to the lesser known character actors of today, these are some of the best professionals in the character actor field. If you want to answer the questions, "Who are the most famous character actors ever?" and "What are the names of famous character actors?" then you're in the right place. (183 items)
Paul Giamatti is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list List of Famous Character Actors
Paul Edward Valentine Giamatti (; born June 6, 1967) is an American actor and producer. He first garnered attention for his breakout role in Private Parts (1997) as Kenny "Pig Vomit" ...more

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Tim Allen is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list List of Famous Character Actors
Timothy Alan Dick (born June 13, 1953), known professionally as Tim Allen, is an American actor and comedian. He is known for playing Tim "The Toolman" Taylor on the ABC sitcom Home ...more

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Jane Lynch is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list List of Famous Character Actors
Jane Marie Lynch (born July 14, 1960) is an American actress, voice actress, author, singer and comedian. She is best known for her role as Sue Sylvester in the musical television series Glee. ...more

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Eli Wallach is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list List of Famous Character Actors
Eli Herschel Wallach (; December 7, 1915 – June 24, 2014) was an American film, television and stage actor whose career spanned more than six decades, beginning in the late 1940s. Trained in ...more

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Philip Seymour Hoffman ... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list List of Famous Character Actors
Philip Seymour Hoffman (July 23, 1967 – February 2, 2014) was an American actor, director, and producer. Best known for his distinctive supporting and character roles–typically lowlifes, ...more

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Michael Sheen is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list List of Famous Character Actors
Michael Christopher Sheen (born 5 February 1969) is a Welsh actor. After training at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), he worked mainly in theatre throughout the 1990s and made ...more

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Charles Durning is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list List of Famous Character Actors
Charles Edward Durning (February 28, 1923 – December 24, 2012) was an American actor, with appearances in over 200 movies, television shows and plays. Durning's best-known films include The ...more

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Brooke Vincent is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list List of Famous Character Actors
Brooke Levi Vincent (born 4 June 1992) is an English actress. She is known for her portrayal of Sophie Webster in the ITV soap-opera Coronation Street since 2004, where she took over the role ...more
Paul Lynde is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list List of Famous Character Actors
Paul Edward Lynde (; June 13, 1926 – January 11, 1982) was an American comedian, voice artist, game show panelist and actor. A character actor with a distinctively campy and snarky persona that ...more

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Pete Postlethwaite is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list List of Famous Character Actors
Peter William Postlethwaite, OBE (; 7 February 1946 – 2 January 2011) was an English character actor, who appeared in Dragonheart (1996), Romeo + Juliet (1996), Brassed Off (1996), Amistad ...more

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#94 of 273 The Greatest British Actors of All Time #67 of 115 The Best English Actors of All Time #1,690 of 2,004 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

Jim Broadbent is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list List of Famous Character Actors
James Broadbent (born 24 May 1949) is an English actor. He won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for his supporting role as John Bayley in the feature film Iris (2001), as well as ...more

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Clancy Brown is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list List of Famous Character Actors
Clarence John "Clancy" Brown III (born January 5, 1959) is an American actor and voice actor known for his roles as the Kurgan in the fantasy film Highlander (1986), Byron Hadley in ...more

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Fred Thompson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list List of Famous Character Actors
Freddie Dalton Thompson (August 19, 1942 – November 1, 2015) was an American politician, attorney, lobbyist, columnist, actor and radio personality. Thompson, a Republican, served in the United ...more

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Charles Napier is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list List of Famous Character Actors
Charles Lewis Napier (April 12, 1936 – October 5, 2011) was an American character actor in film and television, known for his prolific career playing memorable supporting and leading roles in ...more
Wallace Shawn is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list List of Famous Character Actors
Wallace Michael Shawn (born November 12, 1943) is an American character actor, voice artist, playwright and essayist. His film roles have included those of Wally Shawn (a fictionalized version ...more

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John Carradine is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list List of Famous Character Actors
John Carradine (born February 5, 1906 – November 27, 1988) was an American actor, best known for his roles in horror films, Westerns, and Shakespearean theatre. A member of Cecil B. DeMille's ...more
Keenan Wynn is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list List of Famous Character Actors
Francis Xavier Aloysius James Jeremiah Keenan Wynn (July 27, 1916 – October 14, 1986) was an American character actor. His expressive face was his stock-in-trade; and though he rarely carried ...more
Michael Gough is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list List of Famous Character Actors
Francis Michael Gough ( GOF; 23 November 1916 – 17 March 2011) was an English character actor who made over 150 film and television appearances. He is known for his roles in the Hammer Horror ...more
Dean Jagger is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list List of Famous Character Actors
Dean Jeffries Jagger (November 7, 1903 – February 5, 1991) was an American film, stage and television actor who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Henry King's ...more

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Richard Jenkins is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list List of Famous Character Actors
Richard Dale Jenkins (born May 4, 1947) is an American actor. Jenkins began his acting career in theater at the Trinity Repertory Company and later made his film debut in 1974. He has worked ...more

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Andy Devine is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list List of Famous Character Actors
Andrew Vabre Devine (October 7, 1905 – February 18, 1977) was an American character actor known for his distinctive raspy, crackly voice and roles in Western films. He is probably best ...more

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Richard Dunn is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list List of Famous Character Actors
Richard Dunn was an American character actor popularized by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim. Dunn was best known to audiences for his appearances on Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, a ...more
Scarlett Alice Johnson ... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list List of Famous Character Actors
Scarlett Alice Johnson (born 7 April 1985) is an English actress, producer and drama teacher. She is best known for her roles as Vicki Fowler in the BBC soap opera EastEnders and Laura ...more
Timothy Spall is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list List of Famous Character Actors
Timothy Leonard Spall (born 27 February 1957) is an English character actor and occasional presenter. He became a household name in the UK after appearing as Barry Spencer Taylor in the 1983 ITV ...more

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#108 of 273 The Greatest British Actors of All Time #65 of 115 The Best English Actors of All Time #37 of 69 The Best Living English Actors

David Strathairn is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list List of Famous Character Actors
David Russell Strathairn (born January 26, 1949) is an American actor. Strathairn came to prominence in the 1980s and the 1990s performing in the films of fellow Williams grad John Sayles, ...more

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#170 of 177 The Best Living American Actors #309 of 1,139 The Best Actors in Film History #163 of 329 The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar (for Acting)