Name that sleazy c-list character actor from the 80s
December 3, 2017 2:55 AM   Subscribe

I am trying to name a crappy movie actor that I remember from the 80s, although he probably worked earlier than that (definitely has a 70s vibe) and into the 90s. As I remember him, he always played the creepy, bit sleazy, New York-ish, guy. He would be the snitch, or the drugged out criminal, or the like.

A bit more detail:

He was medium hight, slight build, always a bit 'greasy', thinning black hair that was always a bit too long to be considered pleasing, and I think kind of googley eyed.

He was also kinda hyper and manic, with darting moves.

I seem to remember him being in b-movies, really bad teen-age sex romps, and bad horror movies. I don't think he ever did anything big, but may have. He'd be one of the bad guys in an after-dark cable video production.

Any ideas? It's been driving me mad because I can picture him, but he's always been one of those "oh, that guy" actors.
posted by qwip to Media & Arts (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Can you name at least one movie he was in?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:04 AM on December 3, 2017

This thing doesn't look like it's been updated in a while, but it's a good starting point for "that guy" character actors.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 3:19 AM on December 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

@Empress, understandably, if I knew a movie he was in I could just IMDB.

@Mister Moodoo, I didn’t see him on the list.

I’ve done as much googling as I could think of and poured over lists, but I think this is such a low grade, bad movie actor, he not in the typical B-movie lineup. Hence turning to AskMe.
posted by qwip at 4:34 AM on December 3, 2017

Dan Hedaya?
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 4:50 AM on December 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

It’s not Dan Hedaya. Not anywhere near as well known or as high-profile as actors at his level.
posted by qwip at 5:13 AM on December 3, 2017

Maybe the late great Vincent Schiavelli?
posted by Mchelly at 5:52 AM on December 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Bruce Kirby? I only know his name because it's the same as some locally. Ok know he was in the Riickford Files, maybe more than once.
posted by SemiSalt at 6:15 AM on December 3, 2017

Billy Drago?
posted by holborne at 6:19 AM on December 3, 2017

Even if you can’t name a movie, do you remember enough about the plot of one of his movies to help us help you ID it?
posted by thejoshu at 6:40 AM on December 3, 2017

Charles Dierkop?
posted by Chitownfats at 6:48 AM on December 3, 2017

Anthony James?
posted by ouke at 6:48 AM on December 3, 2017

To me this sounds like Robert Romanus (played Mike Damone in Fast Times at Ridgemont High)
posted by biggreenplant at 6:52 AM on December 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

But I thought he was great in that part and I mainly remember him from tv (days of our lives) so maybe not.
posted by biggreenplant at 6:54 AM on December 3, 2017

Taylor Negron?
posted by dogmom at 7:08 AM on December 3, 2017

None of the suggestions so far.

As far as movies, I don’t remember him being in anything well known. As an example of a role he might have played, he’d be the guy who played a junkie on a cop drama or the snivelling wise-guy on a Cinemax crime drama. But I seem to remember him being slightly comedic. His eyes always look sleepy, or heavy-lidded. If he ever was in even a minor Hollywood film, I can’t say. Think schlock horror or cable sex comedy. It’s vexing, as he’s not well known. Hence my problem placing him.
posted by qwip at 7:16 AM on December 3, 2017

Btw, these are all great guesses but the common thread is that they are well-known “that guy “ actors. This guy is much more obscure.
posted by qwip at 7:18 AM on December 3, 2017

Joe Estevez?
posted by ElectricGoat at 7:28 AM on December 3, 2017

Tracy Walter?
posted by bondcliff at 8:01 AM on December 3, 2017

Oh boy, I’m not sure I can handle another one of these threads, I’m still exhausted from the last one. But here’s my guess: Are you thinking of Larry Hankin?

This list might help you out.
posted by ejs at 8:47 AM on December 3, 2017

@ejs That was a comprehensive list, but alas, he's not one of them.

I think the most defining feature would be the eyes. He has that perpetually half-open eyelid look, but I seem to remember that they are also a bit bug-eyed.

He's comes across as squirrelly. Janky movements.

I would guess he's originally from a New York borough.

Thin black hair with stringy bangs that often covered his forehead.

He likely would have been in his 40s in the mid 80s.

More often than not, I remember him playing comedic roles, but he wasn't necessarily a funny actor. More of a schlimazel.

That being said, a bunch of previous suggestions kinda hit the mark, but they're not this guy.
posted by qwip at 9:37 AM on December 3, 2017

I'm not hazarding a guess, but given his age, character type, and possible NY origins, you may want to investigate early Law and Order episodes.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:14 AM on December 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

@Iris Gambol "you may want to investigate early Law and Order episodes".

I don't remember this actor ever being in anything prime time or even medium budget. But, yeah, he's that kind of character.
posted by qwip at 11:59 AM on December 3, 2017

Probably too high-profile, but I was reminded of Don Calfa, who was great on Barney Miller.
posted by adventitious at 11:59 AM on December 3, 2017 [9 favorites]

I can't believe it. That's the guy, Don Calfa. adventitious, you deserve all the internet points.

Turns out he's much more prolific than I had assumed. Thanks!
posted by qwip at 12:16 PM on December 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

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