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May 6, 2008

Familiar Face - Unknown Name #5 - Richard Jenkins

Call them what you want - character actors, "That Guy(s)," scene stealers - I don't care. This is a regular feature where I spotlight one performer, whether they be longtime veterans like J.K. Simmons or Barry Corbin, or a fresher face just making their way up the stardom ranks. For previous FF-UNs, click here.

Today's Familiar Face-Unknown Name:

Richard Jenkins

Where You've Seen Him (high profile): Over the course of a 34 year career in film and TV, the Rhode Island resident has appeared in films by the Coen brothers, the Farrelly borthers, Clint Eastwood and David O. Russell, amongst others. His most visible role, however, was as the patriarch (and deceased) Nathaniel Fisher on HBO's Six Feet Under.

Lately, his career appears to have taken off somewhat, with a starring role (his first) in the current release The Visitor, along with a co-starring role as the father in this summer's Step Brothers. He was also featured in 2007's The Kingdom.

Where You've Seen Him (not-so-high profile): Though he's become a favorite of many of the directors mentioned above, he's only been featured in bit parts throughout, with roles in Me, Myself and Irene, I Heart Huckabees, Intolerable Cruelty, The Man Who Wasn't There, and Flirting with Disaster. Earlier in his career, he was featured on many TV cop shows, from Spenser: For Hire to Kojak to a role in the famous "Smuggler's Blues" episode of Miami Vice.

Character Specialties: Cops, judges and quirky dads seem to be the role of choice designated for Jenkins, as his resume is littered with titles such as "Detective," "Sheriff," "Agent," and "FBI."

My favorite role (new to this feature): Though I haven't mentioned the film by name, the still you see above is from an uncredited bit part he had in There's Something About Mary, where he played Ben Stiller's psychiatrist early in the movie. As Stiller's Ted drones on about his high school shenanigans with Mary, Jenkins oh-so-quietly sneaks back into his office, fresh from lunch and complete with a napkin tucked into his shirt. After Ted mentions a rest area in passing, Jenkins' psychiatrist, seeing an opportunity to offer some analysis, tells him "you know, highway rest areas are homosexual hangouts...they're the bathhouses of the 90s."

"Oop - time, she's up." The full scene can be viewed here.

Little Known Facts: I don't really have anything great that can't be found below, but here's an interview/piece that the New York Times did recently.


5 people have chosen wisely: on "Familiar Face - Unknown Name #5 - Richard Jenkins"

Joseph said...

Good pick. I know Jenkins more from the Coens, naturally, but also from The Kingdom. He's a great supporting actor.

Pat said...

I love Richard Jenkins. He was fantastic in "Flirting with Disaster" and "Six Feet Under." I'm seeing him in "The Visitor" tonight and I'm looking foward to it. Good choice!

Daniel G. said...

Haha, I totally forgot about that scene from Mary. He is absolutely phenomenal in that!

Matt said...

When I saw that picture I immediately thought "There's Something About Mary." I've been guilty of quoting that bathhouse line way too many times.

Fletch said...

You know, Mary (and to some extent, Dumb and Dumber) is a movie that I kind of forget about until I catch it on HBO (it's currently in HEAVY rotation there) and am reminded how good it is. I think Kingpin and D&D probably hold up better over time, but Mary's still pretty damn good, specifically as it pertains to a few of the characters (Healey, Warren, Norm).

The scene with Jenkins is one of my favorites in the movie, as is the one with the bad guy from Kindergarten Cop where he's interrogating Ted.