What is a Character Actor? A Tribute to Harry Dean Stanton

25 Years Later

What is a character actor? Harry Dean Stanton has been called a “legendary character actor” in most of the headlines I’ve seen observing his passing today at the age of 91. A character actor is a lot of things. The easy answer is that they aren’t typically cast as leading actors or actresses. That certain applies to Harry Dean. Throughout his long and illustrious career, Harry Dean starred in some of the biggest films of all time but almost never as the leading man. Godfather 2, The Green Mile, Alien, Cool Hand Luke, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – all considered to be classics. Pretty in Pink, Repo Man, Escape From New York, Christine, Red Dawn, The Avengers and Kelly’s Heroes are all huge films in their own right. That list doesn’t include any of the television work Harry Dean did or his work with filmmaker David Lynch. Harry…

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