While we all adore and root for the stars and starlets of Tinseltown, there is a treasure-trove of good men and women who have been integral to the success of all our favorite films. Bona fide, hard working and talented people who may never star in a film or see their name on a poster hanging in the local cineplex but will never escape our minds and imaginations when it comes to some good iconic and funny roles they play. This column is a tribute to the “Oh, That Guy” types, the common actor and the B-listers. They are the…
Number of Film & TV Roles: 121
Notable Roles: Used Cars; Phantom of the Paradise; National Lampoon’s Class Reunion; TerrorVision; C.H.U.D. II – Bud the Chud; Child’s Play 2
Typical Role: Wiseass, coward, wiseass coward, undead musician
Why He’s Great: Tomorrow is Gerrit Graham’s 65th birthday! He may not have been cast in a ton of top-level stuff in his career, but he’s one of the most likable actors ever, and seeing him in something is like putting on an old comfortable shoe made of hilarity and ham. There’s no reason he shouldn’t have had an A-list comedic career. Maybe he crossed Kurt Russell.
Biography (via Wikipedia):
Gerrit Graham (born November 27, 1949) is an American actor and songwriter. He has appeared in such films as Used Cars, TerrorVision, National Lampoon’s Class Reunion and Greetings, where he worked with Brian De Palma for the first time. He would again work with De Palma on Hi, Mom and Home Movies, as well as Phantom of the Paradise, where he played flamboyant glam-rocker Beef. He has also appeared in two different roles on the Star Trek television series; as the Hunter of Tosk on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and as a member of the Q Continuum (adopting the name Quinn) in the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Death Wish”. He was also the voice of Franklin Sherman in the animated series The Critic as well as a recurring role as Dr. Norman Pankow on the sitcom Parker Lewis Can’t Lose.
Graham attended but did not graduate from Columbia University—class of 1970. He has written songs with Bob Weir of Ratdog.
He is an avid Winnebago enthusiast, and spent many hours “‘bago-izing” while not on set.
Gerrit Graham Clips:
Oh! Hey! It’s that guy from Phantom of the Paradise! 🙂 I gotta review that thing…
I love a good character actor!
Shout out to all the little guys out there, but seriously 121 roles damn! #winnebagoing
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Thanks for recognizing this unsung hero. My ex and I were among the few people south of the Canadian border who connected with “Phantom of the Paradise” during its initial 1975 release, and Graham made quite an impression on both of us, stealing every one of the 8 total minutes he was onscreen.
Over the years, we saw Graham turn up unexpectedly in a variety of projects. One Saturday in the late 1980s, for example, the weekend movie presented by Los Angeles TV horror-movie hostess Elvira was “Beware The Blob” (the low-budget 1972 sequel to the Steve McQueen classic) — which includes a party scene and a typical annoying, extroverted guy-in-a-gorilla-suit. When the “gorilla” finally removed his costume head, you guessed it — my ex and I gasped and simultaneously exclaimed, “It’s BEEF!”
Hollywood was apparently blind to Graham’s attractiveness quotient; they rarely cast him as a “romantic interest” — which is why his wonderfully understated portrayal of the pediatric heart surgeon in “My Girl 2” was particularly refreshing. For once, he played simply a Cute Guy. And he was completely charming.
Thanks again for the article. It was great to learn that other Graham fans do exist!