On character acting (homage to Eddie Marsan and Agnes Moorehead, among others)

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for marsan driving.JPG(Left: Eddie Marsan and Sally Hawkins in "Happy-Go-Lucky")

Give The New York Times credit for trying to vary the usual chin-pulling and deep knee-bending on its editorial and oped pages. The occasion for this was the death earlier this month of Harold Gould, the actor best known for playing Valerie Harper's father on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Rhoda." His highest-profile movie role came seventh-billed, as Kid Twist, in "The Sting." "There are character actors, and then there is Mr. Gould," Lawrence Downes wrote in the editorial. The next day, Stephen Tobolowsky -- you know him best as Bill Murray's awful acquaintance from high school, Ned Ryerson, in "Groundhog Day," but he's also the hands-down winner of the Philip Larkin Lookalike Contest -- used the recent deaths of Kevin McCarthy, Carl Gordon, Maury Chaykin, James Gammon, and Gould as an occasion to celebrate his fellow character actors: "the perfect combination of ubiquity and anonymity."

That's Gould, below, with Valerie Harper and Julie Kavner, on "Rhoda," though this post isn't about him.


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