Favorite “normal looking” actors? (Friday Question Fun)

Friday Question Fun archive

Let me clarify the title, by “normal looking” I mean the type of actors that clearly aren’t in Hollywood for their looks but for their talent as an actor or their humor.

Now more than ever it seems like there are a myriad of forgettable actors that are chosen only to show off their bodies and couldn’t act their way out of a paper bag. That’s not to say there aren’t incredibly beautiful people that are also incredible actors, but it’s a rare treat.

Who are your favorite “normal looking” actors?


John Goodman Big Lebowski Water SobchakWhen I was thinking up this question I had one person in mind – John Goodman. I can think of only a small handful of other actors that I have loved since I was a kid and have always been impressed by. John Goodman has played so many roles and Walter Sobchak in The Big Lebowski ranks among my favorites. I would love to see Goodman walking down the street so I could shake his hand.

With 129 acting credits under his belt at the time of this writing, Goodman is not only one of my unsung favorite actors, but he really just seems like a normal guy that made it to Hollywood based on talent.

It’s also worth mentioning that I chose the picture on the right because Steve Buscemi happens to my be second runner-up for the title of Favorite “Normal Looking” Actor. Number three, not pictured, would be Bill Murray.

What about you? Who are some of your favorite “normal looking” actors?

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105 responses to “Favorite “normal looking” actors? (Friday Question Fun)

  1. Big second on Strother Martin.
    John Cazale, if only he wouldn’t have died so young, his career would have been amazing.
    Bryan Cranston definitely.
    Also Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman, Joe Pesci, John C. Reilly, Jack Warden, George C. Scott, Burgess Meredith, Jack Elam, Clu Gulager, and, of course, Robert Z’Dar.
    This could be a very long list. I think “character actor” is basically synonymous with “normal-looking dude.”

    • Good call on Cazale

      I guess I had more than character actors in mind when creating this question, more leading or supporting characters but sometimes character actors seem like the hardest working people on the screen.

  2. I’m a fan of Joe Pesci and Christoph Waltz although they aren’t exactly newcomers. I don’t know whether you’d class Fassbender as ‘normal looking’ but I wouldn’t put him in the classically good looking category either. Maybe others would!

  3. Steve Buscemi is incredible. I think he does amazingly well as Nucky Thompson in Boardwalk Empire. Off the top of my head I also have to say I love James Gandolfini – he was superb in Killing Them Softly recently and really stole the show. In many ways I wish he had the whole movie to himself. Another of my favourites is Alan Rickman. He has done some very diverse movies but impresses me every time. I’m sure I will think of plenty more as the day goes on – this is verey good question!

  4. Michael Shannon, Christopher Walken, John Turturro, Emily Watson, Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand, Harvey Keitel…okay this list could go on forever! I think just about every single one of my favourite living actors/actresses are “regular-looking”.

  5. I would have to say Tom Hanks, Timothy Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken, David Arquette, Jon Favreau, John Lithgow….my list could go on. Great topic!!

  6. I don’t know if I’d consider Steve Buscemi to be normal looking. The thing is, male actors can get away with having average looks, or being downright ugly. Women tend to all look alike in movies–young and pretty with similar body types. It’s so refreshing when a “normal” woman shows up on screen, such as in “Paranormal Activity.” The female leads in that series always seemed like regular people and not movie stars pretending to be average.

    But to answer your question, Tom Hanks always seemed like a normal guy to me, and that everyman appearance serves him well in pretty much every movie he makes. I also liked Richard Dreyfuss, whose normalcy led Spielberg to put him in three different roles.

    • You bring up an excellent point and it has been mostly reinforced with people’s choices here: female actors are usually gorgeous and there aren’t as many “average” looking ones that get big roles.

  7. Steve Buscemi for sure. He was great in Reservoir Dogs, Fargo and I found him pretty hilarious in Mr. Deeds. Simon Pegg is also pretty amazing.

    I would also bring up modern day Bruce Willis. I think it’s the lack of hair and wrinkles that make him believable in playing an everyday guy, AKA John McClane. 😛

  8. Some of these guys may be good-looking, but I like them for their talent; Johnny Dept, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith and Benedict Cumberbatch. They’re all amazing!

  9. John Goodman is a TOP choice. I fully agree with you – he’s excellent.

    But after I read that, I couldn’t think of one!!! All I could think of was attractive actors & actresses!!

    Though probably – ah, what’s his name?…. The chubby & very funny guy who was in the remake of Starsky & Hutch – you know, he looked like a chubby Eminem. He’s great, I really love all his movies. I’d vote him. (& shame on me forgetting his name!)

  10. Does ‘actor’ mean either male or female or are you using it in the strictly literal sense. If the former then I would say Dame Maggie Smith or Dame Judi Dench for me! Otherwise John Candy….only he can be very irritating too!

  11. I’m a little late to the party for the Friday question this week, but had to add my two cents. Three words: Philip. Seymour. Hoffman.

    And John Goodman rocks – I just saw Argo this weekend and he was great in it.

  12. I went through the entire comments and I don’t think anyone mentioned Walter Matthau, or Jack Lemmon, but they would fit for sure. On the ladies side I would say Anne Bancroft and Geraldine Page.

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