Two character actors in the morning

Yesterday’s morning names, of two accomplished character actors, one who first made a name in the golden days of radio (Gale Gordon), one in the public eye these days on television (Tamara Tunie). Gordon displaying a characteristic facial expression and Tunie in character as a medical examiner:

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Gale Gordon. From Wikipedia:

Gale Gordon (born Charles Thomas Aldrich, Jr., February 20, 1906 – June 30, 1995) was an American character actor perhaps best remembered as Lucille Ball’s longtime television foil — and particularly as cantankerously combustible, tightfisted bank executive Theodore J. Mooney, on Ball’s second television situation comedy, The Lucy Show. Gordon also had starring roles in Ball’s successful third series Here’s Lucy and her short-lived fourth and final series Life with Lucy.

He is remembered for his role as school principal Osgood Conklin in the early 1950s television hit show Our Miss Brooks starring Eve Arden. Gordon was also a respected and beloved radio actor. He also co-starred as the second Mr. Wilson in Dennis the Menace.

A career of mostly playing beloved irascible characters. Eventually, a perfect foil for Lucille Ball in her character as a scatterbrained Lucy. A publicity shot for Here’s Lucy:

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Tamara Tunie. From Wikipedia:

Tamara Renee Tunie (born March 14, 1959) is an American film, stage, and television actress, director, and producer. She is best known for her portrayal of attorney Jessica Griffin on the CBS soap opera As the World Turns, and medical examiner Melinda Warner on the NBC police drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. From 2000 to 2007 (and again briefly in 2009 and 2010), she appeared on both series simultaneously.

In the new world of television dramas, notably going back to the 1980s and the police procedural series Cagney & Lacey (starring two women as cops), women have been cast in roles as tough, competent professionals: cops, lawyers, private investigators, district attorneys, doctors, judges, and medical examiners. For a while, Tunie juggled two such roles simultaneously.

Just as male actors in such roles are expected to project masculine attractiveness, to be (frankly) hot, but powerful, guys — think Tom Selleck as Magnum P.I. — so female actors in such roles are expected to project feminine attractiveness, to be sexy and glamorous. But also competent and powerful. For women this is not an easy act to pull off, since men tend to see the two personas as contradictory: a sexy, glamorous woman can’t be taken seriously, and a competent, powerful woman is a threat and a buzzkill.

Most women who take such roles are in fact quite attractive, so the roles are juggling acts. Tamara Tunie on SVU manages the juggling beautifully. In any case, she definitely has her glamorous side:

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