10 Awesome Actors Whose Names You Probably Don’t Know But Should

Unknown Actors

I’ll bet you don’t know his real name

Lots of times we’ll be watching a movie and inevitably there’s some guy in it who makes us think “man I love that guy, what’s his name again?”  You see them repeatedly in movie after movie and appreciate their work but can never get their name straight. Most of these actors are character actors who don’t have leading roles.  And many times their names get left out of the limelight.  But for me?  These are probably the actors I appreciate the most. So in case you were wondering, here are 10 awesome actors whose names you probably don’t know but should.

For more listings on these guys, obviously check out IMDB

JT Walsh

Unknown Actors

Unfortunately Walsh passed away a few years back but he’s well known for being one of the best character actors of his generation.   You might best know him from A Few Good Men where he played Markinson.  I loved him in Blue Chips as Happy and in Slingblade.

Bruce McGill

Unknown Actors

You all saw him in Animal House as D-Day.  How he did that thing with his throat is still a mystery to me.  In any event, McGill is a great actor who has a wide range.  I personally loved him in My Cousin Vinny as the Sheriff and in Time Cop.  Yeah I know it’s Time Cop but he was still awesome.

David Paymer 

Unknown Actors

I’ll always remember Paymer as the guy who only said “Hello” in the movie Crazy People.  P.S. That was a pretty funny flick.  But Paymer’s been around Hollywood for a very long time.  Most recently you might remember him in Ocean’s 13.  But the guy’s got over 30 films in his resume.

Michael Ironside

Unknown Actors

Jester’s Dead!  Yeehaw, Jester’s Dead.  That’s right guys.  Ironside played Jester in Top Gun.  “Fly’s by the seat of his pants.”  The rugged voiced actor is known for his “tough” roles.  I particulary enjoyed him in Total Recall and Karate Kid IV as the bad guy.  Classic!  Hahaha.

Clancy Brown

Unknown Actors

People never know this guy’s name.  I first saw him in the movie Bad Boys.  No not the Will Smith one.  This is from 1982 about kids in Juvenile Hall.  Brown had blond hair in this movie (which starred Sean Penn) and was amazing.  You might know him as the guard in Shawshank Redemption.  Nowadays he does tons of voice overs.  He’s great though.

Michael Paul Chan

Unknown Actors

Chan is mostly a TV actor and he’s finally got himself a consistent role in “The Closer.”  I’ll always remember him as Data’s dad in Goonies and as the guy who says “yeah commodore” in Maverick.  Plus I just love this guy.

Bob Gunton

Unknown Actors

Even I, who considers myself a movie buff, had to look up this guy’s name.  It’s the crazy warden from Shawshank Redemption.  I tell you, Gunton is really good at playing a prick.  I liked him as a bald cop in Demolition Man.

James Tolkan

Unknown Actors

“You’re mouth is righting checks your butt can’t cash.”  Enough said.

Mandy Patinkin

Unknown Actors

Remember Indigo Montoya from Princess Bride?  That would be Mandy Patinkin.  Mandy’s been around for a long long time, including a leading role in Yentl with Barbara Streisand.  He’s more of a TV and Broadway guy these days.   He’s very well respected but for some reason you just never know his name.

Luis Guzman

Unknown Actors

Guzman is one of my favorite actors out there.  He’s just hilarious.  I personally loved him in Boogie Nights and Traffic.  However, if you’ve seen Crocodile Dundee II, watch it again, if only to see Guzman at the beginning of his career.


Gary Cole

Unknown Actors

I think people kind of know who this guy is now but I figured I’d add him any way.  After all he was Lumbergh in Office Space.  Yeah..Yeah..if you could just…yeahhh.

  • nico

    nice pic of lumberg doing his wife hah.

  • I sure wouldn’t put Mandy Patankin in this list. He’s won a bunch of Tony awards and starred in Chicago Hope and the FBI profiler show that’s still on. Weird thing about him, he starts out then drops out.
    But I think he’s great.

  • Thom

    don’t forget that Clancy Brown was the Antagonist in Carnivàle.

  • Leviathan

    Ironside was also in Scanners and Starship Troopers.

  • B Roth

    My love for Shawshank has lead me to know Clancy Brown and Bob Gunton. Don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing for me, but I will take it.

  • Inigo

    It’s Inigo Montoya, not Indigo. And I had no idea that guy was still around.

  • J

    Clancy Brown is also the Kurgan in Highlander.

    • Yutolia

      He was really the one who made that movie in anyway interesting – after Kurgan dies, so does the series (perhaps new meaning to “there can be only ONE!!”)

  • Greg

    Clancy Brown (Kurgan)…
    “I have something to say… IT’S BETTER TO BURN OUT THAN TO FADE AWAY…”

    AWESOME movie quote.

  • Greg

    …more Clancy Brown…
    ‘Shoot to Kill’ was a good role for him as well

  • Korinthian

    Walken would be on this list if it wasn’t for his Internet phenomenonity.

  • Aerliss

    Just a note; it’s Inigo Montoya, not Indigo…

    I have no idea what you referenced for Gary Cole but he was supremely awesome as Sheriff Lucas Buck in American Gothic.

  • Tissifer

    I think Nestor Serrano deserves an honorable mention

  • Chris

    Yet more Clancy Brown…Mr Krabs on Spongebob Squarepants

  • Ossifer

    “You’re mouth is righting checks your butt can’t cash.” Enough said.

    Wow the spelling errors there are full of fail =p

  • Samantha Shook did an awesome performance in empire of danger.

  • culmidon

    Actually, the line from James Tolkan in “Top Gun” is “Your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash.”

  • Like to watch Stargate Atlantis episodes and also Lost. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  • Eliza

    I would have really liked it if you’d put the names UNDERNEATH the pictures, I’m dead good at “that guy” naming, I would’ve got almost all of them right. Spoilt my fun.

  • Vigg

    I had a thought about actors such as these ( sort of ) myself. When the Expendables came out I began imagining a satire movie called the Unsungables featuring all the action actors whose name you don’t know even though you have seen them so often.

    So far all I can think up off the top of my head are

    James Remar ( The Warriors, Judge Dredd, The Phantom, Mortal Kombat 2: Armageddon etc. )

    Tommy Flannagan ( Braveheart, Sin City, Gladiator, Smoking Aces )

    That’s all I can get of the top of my head. Actors who have escaped this roster.

    Ron Perlman

    Danny Trejo

    • Yutolia

      You should also include Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman, since a lot of people seem to think they are one person who is some weird sort of hybrid of the two.

  • Chris

    The first thing I ever saw David Paymer in was Carpool. Then I saw him in The Lesser Evil, which was a very good film that I thought could’ve easily been based on a Stephen King work (stylistically). Then he had a pretty prominent role in a TV series called Line of Fire in ’04 that was canceled in its first season. It’s so disappointing because I really admired his work.

    Funny thing though, I came to this site looking for Bruce McGill and he was second on the list. I was just telling my mother how he looks like a male version of Tyne Daly. (Look her up if you don’t know who that is).

  • Chaosbender

    Clancy was KURGAN in Highlander! One of the most epic villains!

  • Elle317

    I knew the names of most of them. I find it shocking everyone doesn’t know who Clancy Brown, Gary Cole, Luis Guzman and Michael Ironside are. All great actors.

  • Yutolia

    He was the only redeeming part of that movie.