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.