POLL SUGGESTION: All time Greatest 'Famous Characters' Actor?

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Many actors have played multiple famous characters, which is your favorite and who earns the most credit by volume and quality? https://www.imdb.com/list/ls022426421/
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Nathan Carlier

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Posted 7 months ago

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rocky-o

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i think your use of the term 'character actor' is being misused...

this list isn't a list of character actors at all, no less 'greatest'...this is a list of 'lead actors' who played different characters...that is completely something else all together....

when i read your question, my first thought was burgess meredith...he and others, like joe e. brown, elisha cook jr., etc...those are names that should be on this list... 
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Nathan Carlier

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It is totally a mistake of mine, I meant to write- All time Greatest 'Characters' Actor?
and as above- burgess meredith could be on it, as he played- Penguin x multiple and Mickey x3.
the idea was originally superhero characters, but I expanded that to famous pulp fictional characters. I appreciate your reply and all the others below, and sorry for the confusion. 
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Jeorj Euler

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Anthony Hopkins is probably the number one actor in that regard. He is Zorro, Odin, Methuselah, Van Helsing, Lecter, Titus, Bligh, Picasso, Kellogg, Heineken, JQA and other legendary (or infamous) characters, fictional or biopic.
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Jeorj Euler

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...and...

Ian McKellen is of course Magneto, Gandalf, Holmes, Copperfield, the Grim Reaper and other legendary (or infamous) characters, fictional or biopic. Never mind the Shakespearean parts, because anybody who happens to have skill and a passion for William Shakespeare's work, will play every leading part adopted/created by the playwright. Tons of actors do it, and often do it fairly decently.

(I feel myself dancing around the fact that Hopkins and McKellen portrayed Hitler.)

Patrick Steward is of course Ahab, Scrooge, Xavier, Halleck, Leondegrance, Sejanus, Seti, the Lionheart and other legendary (or infamous) characters, fictional or biopic. He is Picard too notably, but that is a role that is, so to speak, original to him rather than derivative. He is not only the first actor to portray Picard, but also the first published rendition of the character and thus far the only actor to officially regularly portray adult Picard. That counts for more, but the idea is askew from the idea of playing the other grand characters.

(In addition, Steward portrayed Lenin: not quite the same as portraying Hitler but nigh. Notably, Hopkins is Nixon, and McKellen is Tzar Nicholas II.)

Gary Oldman is of course Gordon, Black, Smith, Dracula, Pilate, Beethoven, Churchill, "Sid Vicious" and other legendary (or mostly infamous) characters, fictional or biopic. (LHO was an infamous one.) His many "non-derivative" characters, however, stand out incredibly: Stansfield, Zorg and Verger! Some of the most disgustingly evil characters the world has ever known. "Carnegie" and Korshunov perhaps deserve honorable mentions.

I intend to continue this exploration of characters, which would invariably involve mentioning actors who aren't on the PS list.
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Jeorj Euler

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Come to think of it, Verger is a derivative character, since he was in the novel before Oldman portrayed him in the film adaptation.
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Jeorj Euler

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...Rather: Oldman's portrayal of Verger is a derivative, since the screen debut of the character is in a film adaptation of the novel. (The post received a star before I had a chance to correct it.)
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don0don

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I agree with rocky-o. This list is not of character actors in the accepted sense of the term.

I also agree that Burgess Meredith should be on any list of the greatest true character actors. Three other names: Donald Pleasance, Claude Rains (who played moved between leading and character roles) and Strother Martin.
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rocky-o

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strother martin...definitely yes
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Ed Jones (XLIX)

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What We have here is failure to define character!
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Ed Jones (XLIX)

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And an Oh hell yeah for Strother!
Gimme Chill Wills too!
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Dan Dassow, Champion

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Hi Nathan Carlier (AKA nate-car),

Thank you for your poll suggestion.

1. Once someone responds to a post, only an admin can edit that post.

2. Please read:
FAQ: So You Want to Make an IMDb Poll? Here's How...
Please note: Polls are limited to a maximum of 35 choices.

3. As rocky-o, don0don and Jeorj Euler point out, the people on your list are leading actors who play multiple characters. They are not character actors. Please see this Wikipedia article for additional clarification: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Character_actor

4. For your poll suggestion to be considered, you list must link back to this thread. Please edit your list (https://www.imdb.com/list/ls022426421/) to add this text:
After voting, [link=https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topics/poll-suggestion-all-time-greatest-character-actorplease discuss here.[/link]
Once you save your edit, this will appear as:
After voting, please discuss here.
5. Other poll authors and users may offer suggestions. Please read their suggestion carefully and respond respectfully.
6. If you have questions regarding creating and suggesting polls, please post them in this thread.
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rubyfruit76, Champion

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3. As rocky-odon0don and Jeorj Euler point out, the people on your list are leading actors who play multiple characters. They are not character actors. Please see this Wikipedia article for additional clarification: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Character_actor

That's true, of course, but I think Nathan's intent was not to make a list of character actors but a list of actors who have played several famous characters. His title on his list clarifies that, I think, so could you or Peter edit the title and intro on this discussion thread so that the confusion doesn't continue? 

Thank you! :)

(Nathan, do I have this right?)
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Jeorj Euler

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I'm guessing PS would want to change the description to something like "All-time Greatest Actors of Great Characters". I'm still trying to wrap my head around the emphasis the PS places on how many times an actor has played a "great" character. I find more interesting to look at how many "great" characters have been played or how high the quality or "greatness" levels of a few "great" characters played are. Naturally I gravitate toward Anthony Hopkins' characters. It is as though he always gets the best parts.
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Stephen N Russell

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Hugh Jackman, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr,Stallone, Patrick Stewart
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don0don

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Not one of these guys is a character actor. They are all leading actors.
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Abi

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The thread starter lacks an understanding of "character actor", which is a technical term in the film industry. I think of people like Stellan Skarsgard or James Cromwell in the context of "character actor"

This is a good poll suggestion but the title and description needs revision.
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Jeorj Euler

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Hi, Abi. Do you happen to know how Glenn Morshower fits into all this?
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Ed Jones (XLIX)

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Glenn Morshower Rules!
West Wing........ Secret Service Agent!
He just Looks Military or Cop.
Too bad he's gone
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vhavnal

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reminds me of a list i created 5 years ago "The Best Multiple Franchise actor/actress in history" could use some names from there..
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Breumaster

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Similar, but not exactly the same.
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SeventhAr7

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What about Harvey Keytel?
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Nathan Carlier

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he played Satan and Elvis in pretty small forgettable roles? Val Kilmers- 'Elvis' in True Romance was better!
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Stephen N Russell

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so many guest stars from TV: Tarzan, Ironside, Wild Wild West, Peter Gunn, Mission Impossible, Gunsmoke, Rawhjide, etc