Co-hosts, Kellee of Outspoken & Freckled, Paula of Paula’s Cinema Club and Aurora (me) of Once Upon a Screen announced this year’s WHAT A CHARACTER! blogathon on September 10th.  And now – it’s over!  Over forty bloggers submitted entries on some of the most beloved character actors in classic film – a truly impressive list of actors that represent all genre of film.


I’d be remiss not to mention once again that this event was conceived from the phrase used by our home of the classics, Turner Classic Movies (TCM).  WHAT A CHARACTER! the blogathon proved a smash hit in 2012 and, as you can see from the following list, 2013 followed suit.  We simply love our CHARACTER ACTORS!  I hope you enjoy reading about these talents as much I have.

The entries

by Cinematic Catharsis – Dick Miller – Roger Corman’s greatest discovery, “Cult Icon”

by The Girl with the White Parasol –  Edward Arnold – The most interesting “fat cat” around

by Critica Retro – Hank Worden – “The Poor Devil in a Rocking Chair”

by Classic Film and TV Cafe –  James Robertson Justice – “Seven Things to Know about James Robertson Justice.”

by Pam on Once Upon a Screen –  Jane Darwell – “The Many Faces of Jane Darwell”

by Sittin’ On a Backyard Fence –  Sterling Holloway – “An interesting face (and some talent) go a long way”

by Speakeasy –  Irving Bacon – “Oh yeah, THAT guy!”

by The Bogie Film BlogJoe Sawyer – an independent contractor who made 6 films with Bogie.

by Silver Scenes – Lionel Jeffries – brought his characters to “comic humanity”

by You Gotta Get a Critic –  Martin Balsam – “The Detective Next Door”

by Comet Over Hollywood –  Nat Pendleton – “The Affable Brute”

by TV’s Fault –   Peter Lorre – “The Aggressive Mimicry of his Defining Roles”

by A Shroud of Thoughts –  Sheldon Leonard – Not just a heavy!

by Movies, Silently –  Tully Marshall – and the 1929 Silent “Redskin”

by Carole & Co. – Walter Connolly – in his own way he has come to symbolize 1930s movies

by I Humbly Suggest –  Edward Everett Horton – “don’t expect a Macbeth or a Vanya” but his was quite the talent!

by Portraits by Jenni – Eric Blore – Just to look at him “and the laughs ensue”

by Silver Screenings – Ernest Borgnine in Marty – “an unremarkable butcher touchingly portrayed”

by Paula’s Cinema Club – Frank McHugh – His most important role.

by Shadows and Satin – Jeff Corey – His versatility made him one of the greats.

By Maegan on Once Upon a Screen – Jessie Royce Landis – She should have caught the Thief!

by Wide Screen World – Joe E. Brown – the “Old Dude who flirts with Jack Lemmon”

by The Draconic Verses – Kenji Sahara – “A hero who flexed his dark side”

by Silver Scenes – Dame May Whitty – “One-take Whitty and the first acting Dame!”

by Classic Movie Hub – Roscoe Karns – “Believe You Me, Roscoe Karns is quite a Character!

by The Great Katharine Hepburn – Sara Haden – Memorable beyond Aunt Milly

by Family Friendly Reviews – Thelma Ritter – “She reminds me of my Aunt Margie”

by A Person in the Dark – Tony Randall – Tony over Rock

by Movie Star Makeover – Agnes Moorehead – “Who are you today, Agnes?”

by Kerry on Paula’s Cinema Club – Bruce Dern – “The Guy You Love to Hate”

by Christy’s Inkwells – Florence Bates – “It’s a Grand Feeling” (Interview with Bates’ Granddaughter and Great-Granddaughter)

by Spoilers – Gail Patrick – “She was one of the original ‘mean girls'”

by The Lady Eve’s Reel Life – Gladys Cooper – “…long considered the most beautiful woman in England” and an actress with power.

by Once Upon a Screen – Harry Davenport – Everyone’s wild about Harry!

by Outspoken & Freckled – Hattie McDaniel – a “Pioneer Character”

by Immortal Ephemera – Hugh Herbert – “Biographical corrections” and a compelling story!

by Jack on Paula’s Cinema Club – James Cromwell – in L. A. Confidential, “A masterfully delivered dose of quiet mystery.”

by The Last Drive-In – Jeanette Nolan – “The unique…drew you into the film’s” orbit”

by Caftan Woman – Joyce Grenfell – “…combined her observant nature, understanding and talent for mimicry to create real characters that came to life.”

by She Blogged by Night – Regis Toomey – In a five-decade-long career… brought a professionalism, a calm and solid presence to every production.

by Tales of the Easily Distracted – Sam Levene – “He couldn’t sing a note, but he could break your heart…and make you laugh”

by Joel’s Classic Film Passion – Thomas Mitchell – a video commentary on four essentials in a most impressive career.

by Furious Cinema – Timothy Carey – “integrity, creativity and…flatulence”

by Cinematically InsaneCharles Durning – His best role…War Hero.

by The “Semi” Daily MaineEdna Mae Oliver – “No Flibberty-Gibbet”

And there you have it!  What a list on What a Character!  Fantastic talent represented by both bloggers and actors on the list – and we cannot thank everyone enough for taking part!


wac gold

The faces on the banner: Row 1: (L-R) Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, Margaret Dumont, Edward Arnold, Albert Dekker, Ann Miller, Leon Errol Row 2: (L-R) Dan Duryea, Eugene Palette, Aline MacMahon, Charles Coburn, Lee J. Cobb, Billie Burke Row 3: (L-R) Spring Byington, Walter Brennan, Hattie McDaniel, Gene Lockhart, Margaret O’Brien, Edgar Kennedy Row 4: (L-R) Eric Blore, Franklin Pangborn, Frank Morgan, Guy Kibbee, Gloria Grahame, Jane Darwell Row 5: (L-R) Judith Anderson, Edward Everett Horton, Eve Arden, S.Z. “Cuddles” Sakall, Thelma Ritter, Louis Calhern Row 6: (L-R) Charles Lane, Kim Hunter, David Wayne, Louise Beavers, Cecil Kellaway, Shemp Howard


This blogathon is just one of the many exciting classic movie “happenings” this fall and winter.  For a comprehensive list of events, including classic film screenings throughout the country, visit the Classic Movie Hub events calendar.

33 thoughts

  1. Hi, Aurora:

    Great piece of networking here! Along with some great and sadly forgotten names.

    Looking forward to critiques of Lionel Jefferies, Thelma Ritter, Elisha Cook, Jr. and Timothy Carey!

    1. Thanks much, Jack. But I think the fabulous characters are the ones who got the big turn out!! I can’t wait till this goes into full swing to read about all of them


  2. Great blogathon and mine on Eric Blore has been up since 8:45 am cst…http://portraitsbyjenni@wordpress.com…no nice blue lettering to show my blog is up on your site, or Paula’s or Kelly’s. I did send Kelly a comment to this effect…can you please make the letters blue? Thanks! P.S. Sorry if I didn’t do the notification right, a horrible headcold has me in it’s grip, and it hurts to think!

    1. The letters will be blue in one second! Since I’m not hosting today not everyone notifies me but I’ll email kellee just in case. But she’ll be promoting them all day so no worries.

      Thanks so much!! Cannot wait to read it.

  3. Do you think we can add another post for Monday? My sister and I interviewed Sara and Cynthia Brideson, authors of Also Starring: Forty Biographical Essays on the Greatest Character Actors, and would like to feature this interview for the event on our Silver Scenes blog. ( I sent you an email with a little more detail. )

    1. Oh my goodness. Thank YOU!! You added considerable class to the event – AND I’m lucky to have you as one of the entries on my own hosting day!

      I am working on the master blog list now and will promote them individually on twitter later this afternoon.


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