Age: October 27, 1953 (age 65)
Number of Film & TV Roles: 228
Notable Roles: The Howling, Innerspace, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Legend, Loverboy, China Beach, Star Trek Voyager
Typical Role: Robot/Robotic voice, Right-Hand Man, Scientist, Doctor
Why He’s Great: Probably one of the most versatile yet often forgot about character actors of the past 30 years, Robert Picardo has been a slew of TV and movies and plays a wide array of different styles and accents in each and every role. I’ve never watched Star Trek Voyager (in which he plays a holographic doctor) is probably the most like Picardo in real life. I never met the man but I’m just assuming. Also, judging by the fact that he’s a member of the The Planetary Society helps my assertion.
But growing up, he was basically the odd-looking bald man that was in 98% of Joe Dante flicks along with Dick Miller. He always seemed like he was such a fun-loving, great natured and good-humored sport who was so talented that even just his quick cameo made impressions. And speaking of impressions, he was done a ton of voice-over work that is equally impressive. I’m sure even if you don’t know the name, you know the face and have most likely appreciated his acting abilities.
If I had to pick his best role, It would be impossible to not pick from his many short roles in a Dante feature. But trimming that decision down would be more or less easy for me because his turn as the infamous “The Cowboy” from Innerspace is legendary in my mind. He’s only in the film for a scant 8 or so minutes but steals the scenes and became a fan favorite to me and all my friends when we were young. I still garner laughs when I pronounce “The Outlaw Josey Wales? What a flick!” in that strange accent to my friends.
So here’s to you Mr. Picardo. While I haven’t seen you in something in a while, I’m holding out hope that Joe Dante makes a bigger comeback and puts in something. Because I’m 100% certain you’d knock it out of the park.