An A-Z of Actors: C

Feel free to add your own favourites in the comments. I will try to focus on lesser know actors in my selections, at least most of the time.

Despite emigrating to America, British actor Ronald Colman was very much the archetypal British gentleman. He enjoyed a long career as a Hollywood star, though he started out as a stage actor after being wounded during service in WW1. He was soon appearing in silent films, and was one of those who found it easy to continue their success once sound came along. He starred in many cinema classics, including ‘A Tale Of two Cities’ (1935), ‘Lost Horizon’ (1937), and ‘The Prisoner Of Zenda’ (1937). In 1947, he won the Oscar for Best Actor, in ‘A Double Life’. His distinctive thin moustache gave his name to the style. When my Dad grew a similar one, in the 1950s, my grandmother asked him, “Who do you think you are, Ronald Coleman?”. He died in 1958, at the age of 67.

Scottish actor Brian Cox will be a familiar face, even if you are not sure you know the name. As well as working with The Royal Shakespeare Company, Cox has appeared in many film blockbusters, and was even the original Hannibal Lecter, in ‘Manhunter’ (1986). He has also appeared in two films of The Bourne Trilogy, as well as in ‘Braveheart’ (1995), and ‘Rob Roy’ (1995). Despite his Scottish roots and accent, Cox also specialises in playing Americans and Russians. He was in ‘Zodiac’ (2007), and RED (2010). Many of his roles are as villains, or authority figures, and he has played historical characters too, like Agamemnon in ‘Troy'(2004), and Churchill in the 2017 film of the same name. Although he has not always made the best choices with his roles, his talent is obvious, and the twinkle in his eye is unforgettable.

Julie Christie is an actress who seemed to epitomise the spirit of London in the 1960s, when she gained high praise for her role in ‘Darling’ (1965). Despite that, she is mainly famous for roles in costume dramas like ‘Doctor Zhivago’ (1965), ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’ (1967), and ‘The Go-Between’ (1971). In 1973, she starred opposite Donald Sutherland in the marvellous thriller, ‘Don’t Look Now’. But she seemed to shun fame, turning down numerous roles, and withdrawing from the limelight. Despite later appearances in films like ‘Troy’ (2004), and a Harry Potter film in the same year, she was little noticed again until her award winning role in ‘Away From Her’ (2006). Now 78 years old, she lives a relatively quiet life, though is active as a supporter of many charitable causes.

Although he has only been around since the 1980s, American John Cusack has been in some films that I have enjoyed a great deal, including one of my all-time favourites, ‘The Grifters’ (1990). Starting out in teen films and Disney dramas, he soon made the move to leading adult roles, including ‘True Colors’ (1991), ‘City Hall’ (1996), ‘Grosse Point Blank’ (1997), and ‘Con Air’ (1997). He has a likable, easygoing demeanour in many roles, and a natural flair for comedy too. But it is in serious films like ‘Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil’ (1997), the war film ‘The Thin Red Line'(1998), and ‘The Raven’ (2012) where his acting ability really emerges. Still just 51 years old, he is working constantly, and is a producer as well as an actor.

My last choice today is a British actor who has enjoyed a long career on stage, screen and television. Sir Tom Courtenay rose to fame when he starred in British new wave films of the 1960s, the gritty dramas that opened doors to actors with regional accents, and ordinary looks. He starred in the title role of ‘Billy Liar’ on stage, before going on to reprise that role in the 1963 film version. Highly acclaimed for ‘The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner’ (1962), that earned him roles in big-budget films such as ‘Doctor Zhivago’ (1965) and ‘The Night Of The Generals’ (1967). In the film adaptation of ‘The Dresser’ (1983), he won the Golden Globe for his portrayal of Norman. Since then, he has never stopped working, receiving more awards for ’45 Years’ (2015), and most recently starring in ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ (2018), which he made at the age of 81.

53 thoughts on “An A-Z of Actors: C

  1. Oh, all great actors are mentiond.
    I Add Tim Curry – I love him in the Rocky Horror Picture Show, that was a crazy rock music film. I saw it in 1981! ๐Ÿ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a tricky English name. It’s Courtenay. (Probably of French origin though)
      I thought ‘Manhunter’ was a better film than the other Hannibal ones, though I do have a lot of time for Hopkins, especially in ‘The Remains Of The Day’, and ‘Shadowlands’.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I admire everyone on your list today, Pete. I never tire of Michael Caine or even the melodramatic Nicholas Cage. James Cagney, James Coburn, Gary Cooper, Kevin Costner, and last but not least, your favorite actor to hate, Tom Cruise. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I would have bet my house you would mention Tiny Tom, Cindy. And you didn’t let me down. ๐Ÿ™‚
      I have written about Michael Caine before, and he is one of my favourite ‘London’ actors, (I like him less when he tries to play Americans), but was sure that many would feature him.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jean-Pierre Cassel just for “The Elusive Corporal” alone, but for so much more. Rosalind Cash, an ideal last woman on Earth in an otherwise iffy “The Omega Man”. Hume Cronyn on stage or sceen. In anything. John Cassavetes, who always seemed to be smoldering inside. Dianna Maria Canale, my favorite undead in “I vampiri”. Claudia Cardinale, ’nuff said. Great picks especially with Brian Cox, who was particularly memorable in an episode of “Hammer House of Horror” episode “The Silent Scream, co-starring Peter Cushing (and there’s another one, though my favorite film of his was not a horror vehicle but the Christmas pic “Cash on Demand”.

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        1. I had a ‘thing’ for her in Zhivago. I could see why he preferred her to the soulless Geraldine Chaplin. Chandler is the ‘go-to’ man for anything to do with cinema. He is like a human dictionary of film, and I count myself lucky if I ever mention a film he hasn’t seen.
          Best wishes, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. An academic selection indeed, Chandler. I had Cassavetes written down, (never forgot him in ‘The Killers, which I watched in my early teens) but as I am featuring Gena Rowlands under ‘R’, I decided to leave him off.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your choices, Kim. I think you meant Jamie Lee Curtis, and I nearly picked her myself. ๐Ÿ™‚
      I think she’s great. She looks good,, and always takes her roles very seriously indeed.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. I’m also a big fan of John Cusack, and love “The Grifters” (I’ve also read the book).

    With respect to actresses, I’d like to mention Jill Clayburgh, who stars in one of my favorite films, “Silver Streak,” along with a great cast, and Jennifer Connelly, who stars in “The Hot Spot” and several other films on my shelf.

    There are many male actors I could choose to honor. I’ll go with Joseph Cotten, Ronny Cox, and James Cromwell. But,. just for fun, I’ll mention two icons of campy horror: Bruce Campbell and Jeffrey Combs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your own selections, David. I remember Jill Clayburgh in ‘An Unmarried Woman’ (1978), and she was very good. As for Cromwell, he was great as the farmer in ‘Babe’ (1995) and powerful in ‘L.A. Confidential’ (1997).
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent choices, all of them. I especially like John Cusack and Brian Cox. I really like the latter in a comedy for example “The Sure Thing”, and the latter – well, I really like his support for Russian cinema, and more recently really enjoyed him in “The Autopsy of Jane Doe”.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great choices Pete, glad you mentioned John Cusack, who has mostly avoided the “big budget” spotlight and made great films like “Grosse Point Blank” and “High Fidelity”. I will add the late John Cazale, who hold the record for acting in five films, all of which were nominated for Best Picture – three of them won – his girlfriend at the time of his tragic death was Meryl Streep –

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He was very good in ‘The Deer Hunter’, ‘Dog Day Afternoon’, and as Fredo in The Godfather films too.
      And let’s not forget he was also in the wonderful film ‘The Conversation’, with Gene Hackman.
      Good call, John. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

          1. Thanks Pete – this A-Z of acting is another great idea – so interesting to see what everyone posts…I have a few unique choices to share along the way, I can promise you that!

            Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for adding Cagney, GP. I was sure someone would, so left him out. I love ‘Yankee Doodle dandy’, and ‘White Heat’. Everyone forgets he started out as a song and dance man. ๐Ÿ™‚
      I expected a lot of shouts for Cooper, but just you, so far.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. So happy to see Julie Christie, Brian Cox and Ronald Colman on the list. Three quality actors and all are great favourites of mine.

    Some other favourites of mine include: Veronica Cartwright, Joan Chen, Glenn Close, Cyd Charisse, Patricia Clarkson, Joan Crawford, Wendy Crewson and Peggy Cummins.

    Liked by 2 people

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