Who has been portrayed in the most films by the same performer?
May 20, 2014 8:19 AM   Subscribe

I was talking to someone recently about the relatively expansive movie deals for actors happening lately -- say, Samuel L. Jackson being signed to play Nick Fury in nine different movies -- and wondering just what fictional character has been been played on the big screen most by the same performer. For example, I know that in the late thirties through the forties there was a series of movies based on the comic strip Blondie where Penny Singleton and Arthur Lake played Blondie and Dagwood in a startling 27 movies together (1947 alone saw four of the movies released), but I don't know who holds the record.

Note that I am asking about feature films specifically: actors on long-running TV shows like Gunsmoke or something might rack up hundreds of TV appearances in one role. Also I am looking for a single performer holding down the part for a ling time. That doesn't preclude others having played the role at some point but we are looking for one person playing the same role yea many dozens of times in various movies.

I think live action is what I am most interested in, but if there is some long-running series of animated feature films I am overlooking, sing out.
posted by ricochet biscuit to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
William Boyd played Hopalong Cassidy in at least 60 films. According to the Wikipedia entry for "Film series with more than twenty entries" there's only one series with more films; it's the Chinese serial Wong Fei Hung. I think there were different actors starring in that throughout the series, though.
posted by bcwinters at 8:27 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

Probably not the most, but Mickey Rooney in the 16 Andy Hardy films was probably one of the most successful.
posted by brookeb at 8:44 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

My first thought was Tora-san, but at "only" 48 installments, sounds like it doesn't unseat bcwinters' winner.
posted by bfields at 8:52 AM on May 20, 2014

Peter Falk deserves mention for Columbo if you are counting TV films (69 appearances, of which 39 are feature-length at >90min and 30 are 73min.)
posted by gauche at 8:54 AM on May 20, 2014 [4 favorites]

A quick count at imdb.com shows Roy Rogers playing (who else?) Roy Rogers in around 75 films. This number does not include the TV show or the movies in which he played a different character.
posted by Dolley at 9:17 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Turns out Penny Singleton and Arthur Lake are real duffers, then. Thanks, all.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:19 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

Piggybacking on bcwinters' answer - Kwan Tak-Hing played the role of Wong Fei Hong in at least 77 movies.
posted by 7life at 9:27 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy as the characters "Laurel and Hardy"? "As a team they appeared in 107 films with the pair starring in 32 short silent films, 40 short sound films and 23 full-length feature films. They also made 12 guest or cameo appearances that included the Galaxy of Stars promotional film of 1936."
posted by iviken at 10:04 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

And again, if you are counting TV Movies, let's not forget the great David Suchet for his masterful portayal of Hercule Poirot! Over 25years he was in over 70 episodes
posted by JenThePro at 10:20 AM on May 20, 2014

If a 73-minute or >90 minute TV episode counts as a 'movie', then it might be someone associated with MST3k.
posted by Hatashran at 3:17 PM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

In the spirit, if not the letter, Richard Belzer has portrayed Detective Munch in nine different tv series.
posted by politikitty at 5:29 PM on May 20, 2014

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