The Acting Corps

I’ve been posting a good bit on acting on tv, with excursions into the movies and the stage, noting (frequently) that a great many of these people have extensive careers, with large numbers of acting credits, especially on television — where series (of several types) have an almost inexhaustible appetite for competent actors. So some people will pop up again and again. Some have a degree of celebrity, others are familiar faces you might not be able to put a name to, and even the well-known will often be cast in parts that have little to do with the characters they are famous for.

I’ve come to think of this bank of reliable actors as the Acting Corps. The American corps is largely distinct from the British corps — especially in sitcoms, where nearly disjoint sets of actors cycle through sitcom characters on the two sides of the ocean.

I’ll start with two reasonably well-known actors with extensive careers, one (John Ritter) already covered in some detail on this blog, the other (Tom Skerritt) mentioned several times here but not covered in much detail. Both have prodigious portfolios.

John Ritter came up in connection with his most famous part, as Jack Tripper in the fluffy, throw-away sitcom Three’s Company, in a posting that noted he “appeared in hundreds of films and television shows/episodes” (most of which you would probably be hard-pressed to recall).

Then Tom Skerritt. From Wikipedia (with the crucial bit boldfaced):

Thomas Roy “Tom” Skerritt (born August 25, 1933) is an American actor who has appeared in more than forty films and more than two hundred television episodes since 1962. He is known for his roles in MASH, Alien, Top Gun, A River Runs Through It, Up in Smoke, and the television series Picket Fences.

Skerritt in Steel Magnolias (1989):

Skerritt has portrayed strong adult characters for years, so he’s aged well.

He came up here in connection with the movie Mammoth (2006), here; and with Michael Gross (of the sitcom Family Ties and also the very entertaining movie Tremors, here; and with Ted Danson and the sitcom Cheers, here.

Linked from Cheers. The sitcom used an ensemble cast, which did, however, include Rhea Perlman, who links to the sitcom Taxi, where Perlman acted with her real-life husband, Danny DeVito (many links from there). And Cheers also had frequent quirky characters passing through, played by, among others, Skerritt, Roger Rees (posted on here), Harry Anderson (posted on in connection with John Larroquette and the sitcom Night Court, here), and sitcom veterans Jay Thomas and Dan Hedaya (not yet posted on).

Linked from Ted Danson. With three major series — the sitcoms Cheers and Becker, the medical/legal drama CSI — Danson leads to a huge number of actors. Throw in Danson’s real-life partner, actors Whoopi Goldberg and Mary Steenburgen, and the links multiply precipitously.

Linked from Law & Order. As I pointed out in the posting “Cops and DAs” (here), the various L&O shows consume a great many actors — as

regulars (playing cops, district attorneys, medical examiners, crime lab staff, defense attorneys, and judges) and in one-shot performances (as victims, suspects, witnesses, family members, etc.).

Lots of links there. To which I now add a link to DA Sam Waterston, here; Waterston has a long-standing career acting on stage, plus tv roles and a long list of film performances.

Ryan and Perry and Delany. A posting that starts out as about Jeri Ryan and Luke Perry and then branches out to take in Dana Delany leads to a gigantic number of tv shows — Ryan has been tremendously hard-working — and links to the drama series Leverage and the medical series Body of Proof, not to mention the various Star Trek series. Not everyone recognizes her name, while Perry was a star of Beverley Hills 90210, so automatically counts as famous (in the world of popular culture).

Other featured actors. With Jeri Ryan, we come to actors whose face will certainly be be familiar, but whose name might not be. People like David James Elliott, posted on here. And Milo Ventimiglia, posted on here.

The television hunks,  Another collection of postings offers a series of “television hunks”, hunky actors in tv series.

“Five televsion hunks” of 8/20/13

“Television hunks, separately and together” of 8/22/13

“Riley/Xander” of 9/9/13

“Alan Ritchson (and Justin Harley)” of 10/3/13

House men” of 10/27/13

“More television hunks: NCIS: Los Angeles” of 10/6/2014

“Hunks of CSI: NY” of 3/4/15

“Hawaii Five-0 hunks” of 3/14/15

Recently noted actors. Two actors who are unlikely to be recognized: Geoffrey Nauffts on 7/19/15  and Erik Palladino on 7/20/15.

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