Announcement: Sixth Annual WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon

When you think about your very favorite classic movies, what makes them your favorites? The films worth watching multiple times, endlessly discussing, or just chilling out with…what makes them the cinematic equivalent of comfort food? Sure, great writing is key, but those lines are just words without the right actors delivering them. Beautiful costumes are great, but without the right actors wearing them, they’re just clothes. Stunning, authentic art direction and set design are wonderful, but empty, without the right actors inhabiting that world. And gorgeous cinematography can only hold your eye for so long, without the right actors being lit. And so on.

Chances are, it’s not just the perfect leads that win your go-to films their place in your heart — it’s their pals and sidekicks as well. The wise-cracking best friend or fellow chorine, cranky boss, sympathetic bartender, confirmed spinster secretary, intrepid cop, jealous girlfriend, second-in-command racketeer or bomber pilot, workaholic director…faces familiar from their appearances in many films over the years, their names — not so much. To take a couple obvious examples, what would Casablanca be without Dooley Wilson, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Conrad Veidt, S.Z. “Cuddles” Sakall, Madeleine LeBeau, John Qualen, and Leonid Kinskey? How about My Man Godfrey without Alice Brady, Eugene Pallette, Gail Patrick, Jean Dixon, Alan Mowbray, and Mischa Auer? Probably pretty good films, but just not the same, not as lovable, not as classic.

Thus the objective of the What A Character! Blogathon has always been to shed the spotlight on these lesser-known but equally talented thespians whose names usually appeared below the title, but who always elevated any kind of material. With all of that in mind we’re excited and honored to host this event for the sixth consecutive year and hope you’ll join us on December 15 – 17 in hopes of making this a historic tribute to the versatility and depth of supporting players.


Kellee of @IrishJayhawk66 and Outspoken & Freckled

Paula of @Paula_Guthat and Paula’s Cinema Club

Yours truly, Aurora of @CitizenScreen and this blog.

If a salute to lesser-known but essential Hollywood thespians is right up your movie alley, please review and adhere to these guidelines:

  • Let one of the hosts know which character actor is your choice.
  • Don’t take it for granted we know exactly who you are or where your blog resides – please include the title and URL of your blog, also your Twitter handle if you have one.
  • We will not accept repeats or previously published posts since there are so many greats worthy of attention, but your choices are not limited to classics. You can choose any character actor from any era and from the medium of television, which has featured talented regulars since the beginning, and continues to do so.
  • Publish your What A Character! post on either December 15, 16, or 17, 2017. Let us know if you have a date preference; otherwise, we’ll split publicizing duties equally among the three days.
  • Please include the What a Character! 2017 event banner included in this post on your blog to help us promote the event and include the banner in your What A Character! post. By the way, this year’s beautiful banner was created by Kellee and her secret artistic weapon.
  • Please send any of us the direct link to your post once you have published it. Searching on social media sites can lead to missed entries. You can enter the link in the comments section or email it to me at Citizenscreenclassic (at)
  • HAVE FUN and spread the word!

Thanks to our friends at TCM for letting us borrow the phrase What A Character!

Happy blogging,



Participating Blogs and Character Actors

(In alpha order by character – more or less)

Caftan Woman – John Alexander

Movie Movie Blog Blog – Bruce Altman

LA Explorer – Eddie Anderson

Taking Up Room – Eve Arden

The Last Drive In – Martin Balsam

Old Hollywood Films – Beulah Bondi

Silver Screen Classics – Donald Crisp

A Person in the Dark – Reginald Denny

Classic Film Obsessions – Brian Donlevy

Watching Forever – Mildred Natwick

Silver Scenes – Connie Gilchrist

Wide Screen World – Alan Hale, Sr.

Cinephiled – Fay Holden and Sara Haden

The Old Hollywood Garden – Edward Everett Horton

Blog of the Darned – Charles Lane

Prowler Needs a Jump – Patrick Magee

Real Weegie Midget Reviews – Ian McShane

In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood – Agnes Moorehead

Wolfian Classic Movies Digest – Eugene Pallette

Carole & Co. – Nat Pendleton

Critica Retro – Porky Pig

Outspoken & Freckled – ZaSu Pitts

The William Powell Site – William Powell in Silent Character Roles

The Hitless Wonder Movie Blog – Michael Ripper

Movie Mom – Thelma Ritter

The Dream Book Blog – Elizabeth Russell

A Shroud of Thoughts – William Schallert

Silver Scenes – Henry Stephenson

Jack Deth at Paula’s Cinema Club – Daniel Stern in Breaking Away

Forgotten Hollywood – Woody Strode

Thoughts All Sorts – Mark Strong

Cinematic Scribblings – Haruko Sugimura

Hometowns to Hollywood – Clinton Sundberg

Once Upon a Screen – Mary Wickes

Silver Screenings – European Character Actors in Casablanca (1942)

Paula’s Cinema Club – Supporting Cast of Romance on the High Seas (1948)

The Midnite Drive-In – Cameos in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)

86 thoughts

  1. I always enjoy this blogathon. This year, I’d like to cover Bruce Altman. You might not have heard of him, but you’ve probably see his face everywhere. Notable movies in which he has appeared are Matchstick Men and Glengarry Glen Ross.

  2. LOVE the banner, and I’m so happy you/Kellee/Paula are hosting this event again.

    If possible, I would like to do the European supporting actors in Casablanca – the ones who escaped Nazi Germany and ended up at Rick’s Café.

    1. I adore the banner. That’s all Kellee and the Pratt artistic secret weapon. 🙂 We love this event, Ruth and I’m excited you’re joining the fun. Wonderful choice too! Thank you.

  3. This is awesome! I love character actors and actresses :-).

    I’d love to do a blog post on Elizabeth Russell. Not a name most people know but if you’re a fan of the Val Lewton psychological horror films (which I am), her hauntingly beautiful face may be familiar.

    I post to my blog on Sundays so I’ll be posting on Sunday, December 17.

    Tam May
    The Dream Book Blog

  4. Hi Aurora. Could I please take Agnes Moorehead again? I was meant to do her last year, and I had half my post written out, but I had to pull out of the blogathon because my aunty was really sick with terminal cancer, and we were spending all the time with her before she died. So yes, definitely put me down for Agnes Moorehead. I’ll also write my post early, but will submit it on the day. Thanks in advance.

  5. Awww….this is so tempting but I’m really struggling to do anything but work at the moment. So, don’t want to join and then pull out. If I get my ducks lined up then I’ll let you know closer to the time.

    1. Well then…hurry up and line up the ducks!!

      Seriously, I hope you can contribute something, but understand if you can’t. There’s always next year.

  6. Hi, this is Dan from The Hitless Wonder Movie Blog ( I’d like to participate in this blogathon and my choice for a subject is Michael Ripper, who made more appearances in a Hammer horror film than any other actor.

  7. Hi, Aurora!
    I’m glad you are accepting cartoon characters as well, because I’d like to write about Porky Pig.
    Thanks for hosting once again,

  8. Aurora,
    If I am not too late, I would love to add a post, my very first to this blogathon, to any blogathon (I’m a new member of CMBA)! I’d like to add an entry to the What a Character Blogathon for December 17, 2017, and I’d like to write about Lizabeth Scott in Too Late for Tears, specifically.

  9. It took a while to decide but we thought we’d pick some actors that hadn’t been profiled in your previous What a Character blogathons…so here are the ones we decided on: Connie Gilchrist and Henry Stephenson. – Diana & Connie ( Silver Scenes )

  10. Hi, Aurora:

    Checking in from Paula’s blog.

    The sixth annual get together is off to a great start!

    Jack Deth.

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