They are there. Perhaps they have a lead role in an episode of a TV series, perhaps they are there as comic relief, perhaps they are even cast as a lead in a TV movie or a low-budget feature film, but they are there, and you know them by face. Rarely do you know them by name, though – most of the times, you just refer to them as “that guy who played X in series Y” – and the one you talk to immediately recognizes them by this much information. They are the nameless faces of Hollywood, recognized by most but unknown to many – here are some of the greatest “whatshisname” actors from Hollywood.
William H. Macy
William H. Macy is the archetype of Hollywood’s “whatshisname” – he even describes himself as an “everyman“. His filmography is impressive – he appeared in more than 130 movies and TV series, including one of the five greatest gambling movies ever, he wrote TV movies and episodes, he sang, he directed, he produced, he was even nominated for an Oscar, five Golden Globes, and ten Primetime Emmys – he even won one in 2003, for the role of Bill Porter in the 2002 TV movie “Door to Door”.
Another actor with an incredibly recognizable face and voice yet people seem never to remember his name. At home, we refer to him as “Lev”, in reference to his role in the 1998 blockbuster “Armageddon” – he screamed “This is how we fix problem in the Russian space station!” while beating the equipment with a tool.
Peter Stormare has a long and impressive filmography with more than 180 movies and TV shows that he played in, but he tried his hand at writing, directing, producing, and singing as well.
William Sadler had quite a few iconic roles, ranging from the one of the Grim Reaper in “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey” (which brought him a Saturn Award) to the one of Heywood in “The Shawshank Redemption”. He played in a total of almost 170 productions, either as an actor or a voice actor, he had recurring roles in series ranging from “Hawaii Five-O” to “Homeland” and “Roswell”, and he had a pretty memorable part in the iconic science fiction series “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”.
One might expect for the actor who played the villain in the cult classic “Highlander” that has pushed Christopher Lambert into the spotlight to have more lead roles in his filmography. Instead, Clancy Brown has become one of the best-known Hollywood “whatshisname” actors, showing up in more than 270 productions – many of them voicework that made great use of his deep, resonant voice, including the role of Mr Krabs in SpongeBob Squarepants.
Last but not least, let us mention a face that is as recognizable as it gets thanks to his piercing blue eyes: Udo Kier. With a confessed love for horror movies, especially those involving vampires, Kier is often seen portraying one. He has more than 260 roles in his filmography, including titles ranging from the 1977 classic horror masterpiece “Suspiria”, 1998’s “Blade”, 1999’s “End of Days”, and the 2012 indie science fiction flick “Iron Sky”.