Monday, January 26, 2009

20... er 10 Favorite Actors

So a 20 favorite actor meme is now making the rounds, and since I'm about to head out on a business trip, I thought this would be a good way to cheer myself up.

As I did for the 20 fave actresses meme, I'm actually only listing 10. Not that there's a shortage of actors I adore. Quite the contrary, I could ramble on for hours on all my favorite men, but I'd rather keep it focused on the ones at the top, the ones who are little more special than the others. Of course, the word "favorite" can mean so many things, so what I did for this particular meme was list thirty or so actors that I really really loved, then I ranked them accordingly to how loudly I'd whoop and how widely I'd grin if they turned up unexpectedly as a guest star in a "Route 66" ep, then I picked the ten at the top. Seemed a fair enough way to figure out who was important to me. The results surprised me a little, as some I thought for sure would be on this list, when I put 'em to this particular test, I found I didn't care quite as much as I thought I would. And vice versa.


1. William Holden -- said it all already :-D

2. Lee Marvin - Yep, Lee Marvin beats out everyone else for second place. Like William Holden, I've loved him for as long as I can remember. Nobody, but nobody can play mean quite like he can, or play a good guy, or do comedy, or sing -- all while keeping that wonderful sexy swagger, and with that wonderful voice. He elevates every movie he's in, and if he's around, he always has my full attention.

3. Dana Andrews - Ah, Dana. It's hard to articulate what he means to me. There are some people who change your life, even if you haven't met them, and he's one of them. He conveys so much with those handsome eyes of his, and he has that smooth voice that never fails to melt me. He gets my full admiration and respect like no one else. More than anything in the world, I wish I could have heard him sing opera. I don't even know which opera roles he studied and sang, which opera was his favorite. His daughter told me that at the end, when he was suffering Alzheimer's and couldn't remember anything else, he was still singing opera in Italian. That makes me cry from both sadness and a strange sort of joy, that he still had that. Because love of opera is something I understand with every fiber of my being.

4. Ralph Meeker - Yeah, he's way higher on the list than I thought he might be, but man oh man, do I love him. I've seen him play pretty much all types of roles, and I like him best when he's playing morally ambivalent characters. He does Grey oh so very well, and as we well know, I'm a huge fan of Grey!

5. Sam Neill - Sam Neill was actually my first true actor crush as an adult. The first time I saw The Hunt for Red October, he completely stole my heart. There's very few movies he's made I haven't seen.

6. Ewan McGregor - He simply can play any role and make you believe in him. I can't think of any current actor I love quite as much as him.

7. Joel McCrea - four things I've learned to appreciate from watching McCrea: 1 - How well some men can wear clothes. I used to think Dana Andrews was the best dressed man in a suit. Nope, I'm afraid McCrea cleanly stole that award away. I almost never pay attention to clothes, or how well a suit or tux actually fits a guy... until McCrea made me notice without even trying. 2 - How good a guy looks after getting dunked in a river. 3 - How important romance is. 4 - And how there's nothing quite as attractive as a truly good man.

8. Aldo Ray - I think he's my all-time physical ideal. If I was ranking actors solely by how lustworthy they were, he gets top slot. Love his brawny build, love his raspy voice, love how easily he laughs, love how often filmmakers get him out of his shirt...

9. Richard Boone - I was a little surprised at first to see him beat out so many of the others to make this list, but really, it's no surprise. I've adored him since the first time I saw Big Jake. Paladin is one of the coolest characters ever put on television, but he'd be nothing if he wasn't played to perfection by Boone. Richard Boone is a great combo of intelligence, honor, swagger, and meanness (when he wants to be). He intimidates the hell out of me, but there's nobody I'd rather have at my side in a confrontation. Like all the guys on this list, I think a movie is better if he's in it.

10. Vic Morrow - A good-looking, fine actor, but more than that... from watching him in films and on television, I've learned so much about how to write a story. That sounds odd, but it's true. There's a lot of acting in writing (at least for me), and Vic Morrow is one of those actors who, for whatever reason, I feel on a visceral level, and the things I've learned about acting from studying how he says his dialog, how he physically carries himself in different roles... he taught me, more than anyone else, how to completely become (and believe in) something I'm not, and that carries into my fiction writing every single day.


  1. Oh this is wonderful, dkoren! :)

    So thoughtful, and well-written...

    Your love of Dana is especially touching. It's like you went into the mountains to find the most perfect diamond to represent him, meanwhile, I get mine from the local pawn shop. I reduce him to something cheap and tawdry. Shame on me.


    I'm actually not too familiar with some of your other choices. Like Ralph Meeker (except from your mentioning him here), Aldo Ray, and Richard Boone.

    I think Lee Marvin kinda scares me a bit...I mean, he suppose to though, right? ;)

    Often plays bad guys, I think...


    Anyway, be safe on your business trip. I hope you have fun! :)

    I really enjoyed reading this. I was gonna post mine yesterday, and then tag you...but now I might do it this morning, and I can link you instead. :)

  2. Hiya, just a quick note. I'll respond better when I'm a little more rested and over this cold. Yeah, came down with a bad cold the day I flew out, doesn't it figure? After just finally getting over the sore throat/coughing thing. Got delayed getting home due to plane malfunctions until yesterday, and I've been sleeping ever since...

    But I am home, trip went well otherwise, and I'll respond properly tomorrow after work! Hope all is well with you!

  3. Okay, still feel like I need to sleep for about 48 hours, but doing somewhat better.

    Thanks for the neat comments, and wow, thanks for linking to me! Didn't expect that at all.

    The three actors you mention you're not familiar don't really start making pictures until the 1950s, though Richard Boone started in the late 40's. So I tend to think of them as slightly past your main movie-watching era. :-D But TCM plays their movies quite a bit. I'd recommend Jeopardy with Barbara Stanwyck, and Kiss Me Deadly for Ralph Meeker. You can't go wrong with We're No Angels with Humphrey Bogart and Peter Ustinov for some good Aldo Ray viewing. And Richard Boone? Hmmm. "Have Gun-Will Travel" is my favorite, but I'm not sure any channel actually shows that series, though I've seen some eps online.

  4. Wow -- no Russell Crowe? I'm shocked! Though I can't think of anyone on your list that I'd have expected you to leave off in his place.

  5. Hee! Honestly, I'm not quite sure yet if he even makes the 11-20 list. But I had such a hard time figuring out the top ten, I couldn't bring myself to try and order the next set.

  6. You'd be awful proud of me, dkoren...not only did I finally watched SWAMP WATER, and my first official Joel McCrea film (official, because I think I may have seen him in something before, but I can't remember where), but I've also started watching more William Holden movies! :)

    I've always kinda liked Holden, but was never just wild about him, but since you and I both love Dana and Van, I figured I should give Holden another far, I've watched BORN YESTERDAY, ARIZONA, and GOLDEN BOY. I swear, I couldn't even hardly recognize him in those last two!! I had never seen Holden in a 1940s film. He was a lot cuter than I thought! :)


    I hope you're doing well. :)

  7. Oooh! Swamp Water!! Sigh, hope you enjoyed it, and hope you'll blog about it soon! Dana is so adorable in that one I almost can't stand it.

    Which McCrea movie did you watch? The More the Merrier, perhaps? Since you're on a Jean Arthur kick? :-D I love her in Arizona with William Holden. That was a fun movie, wasn't it? And William Holden sings! And yeah, he is nearly unrecognizable when he's so young like that. But very lunchable.

  8. It was THE MORE THE MERRIER! :)

    Gosh, that kiss on the steps between Joel and Jean is one of the best make-out scene I've ever watched!


    As for SWAMP WATER: I did like it! :)

    Dana and Ann Baxter make a great couple. Plus it was fun to see Dana playing someone kind of childish and temperamental. Like when he was making out with his girl, and fighting with his father.


    Yeah, ARIZONA was fun...kinda long, but worth it, for the sake of the romantic storyline.

    Holden looked so cute and scruffy!

    And the singing -- I actually meant to ask you if he sang in real life, or in any other movies -- I thought he sounded great! :)

    Of course he had such an interesting voice, anyway.

    Was that actually him playing the violin in GOLDEN BOY?

  9. Gosh, that kiss on the steps between Joel and Jean is one of the best make-out scene I've ever watched!

    Oh man, yes! Melt and melt again. I love how she keeps losing her train of thought (I don't think I could have even got out any coherent sentences with that kind of attention from Joel), and then how she kisses him back at the end. Yowsa!!


    Glad you enjoyed Swamp Water. It is so very different from anything else he ever did, isn't he? Thinks he's clever but he's always talking too much and at the wrong times and he gets himself in trouble. That Mabel, though... grrrr.


    Holden sings in "Texas" too, same kind of average joe kinda singing, but I dig it muchly. Very natural. I prefer "Texas" to "Arizona" (what is with him and State-named movies? ROFL!). "Texas" isn't as long, and has a super young almost-unrecognizable Glenn Ford in it, along with Claire Trevor. She's got the best sassy dialogue, and Ford and Holden make a great team.

    No, the sound of the violin wasn't his, but he sure did a first rate job of looking like he was playing!

  10. Hi dkoren!

    I was wondering if you might have a picture of Joel McCrea, preferably from the early to mid 1940s, either while sleeping or wearing a fedora...or better yet! Sleeping WHILE wearing a fedora. :)

    It's for a post I'm working on, so hence my hiding this in your archives -- in case any of our shared readers might see it, and guess what it is I'm up to...not that it matters, of course, but for the fun of it, anyway...

    I'm sure, though, you've already figured it out. ;)


    I hope you're well. :)

    And thanks, in advance, if you can help.