“That Guy” Actor of the Week: James Tolkan


Since many of you seem to like our feature on obscure characters that we love, I figured it was high time to come up with a new segment that was equally as awesome.  And here we introduce you to “That Guy.”  “That Guy” is the actor or actress who you see in multiple movies and always say to yourself “I love that guy” but you never seem to remember his name.  Well, who better to start with than the guy up top?

You all know him.  It’s impossible not to recognize that bald head of his.  And you’ll never mistake the line “your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash” for anyone else.  It’s Commander Tom Jardian AKA “Stinger” from Top Gun.  His real name?  James Tolkan.

P.S. I almost went with Mr. Strickland from Back to the Future but come on, Top Gun is his claim to fame.

And here’s another line you can’t top.  It’s very obscure but it’s hilarious.  In the last dog fight scene in Top Gun there’s a part where Slider and Ice realize that there are 5 Mig Fighters instead of 4.  The radar picks up on this and the assistant guy says to Stinger, “there’s 5 sir.”  And Stinger says “THAT’S FIVE?”

If you own Top Gun I implore you to watch this scene again and rewind “that’s five” at least 20 times.  It’s very funny.  In any event, here’s to James Tolkan, token bald mean badass guy.  You are the dude.

*Here’s something cool.  In 1996 he played a guy named Commander Hondo on some crappy Top Gun thing on TV.

  • illeaturfamily

    Holy smokes I feel like I’ve seen this guy in a ton of late 80’s early 90’s movies but I can’t put my finger on any of them.

    Dude is badass though.

  • Nattyb

    If he weren’t bald he’d be a tool.

  • Kevin

    He’ll always be Principal Strickland from Back to the Future to me.

  • Josh

    This looks to be another awesome series of articles. Perhaps Will Patton, Neal McDonough, David Morse, William Fichtner, and Chi McBride could make interesting selections in the future.

    As for this guy, I recognize him from something other than BttF and Top Gun. No idea what it is exactly, but I do. Need to go look him up. lol

  • Nattyb

    I like those Josh. Solid adds. Don’t you worry I got some good ones up my sleeve.

  • Madison

    Amazingly, I always think of him as the guy from the Masters of the Universe movie. Seriously.

  • Ryan

    Hes also in Dick Tracy- I just noticed this the other night.


  • Muppet Baby

    Mr. Strickland all the way! EAT LEAD, SLACKER!

    Plus, I am with Madison – Masters of the Universe baby! He ruled in that one. He was bad ass.