Hey, It’s That Guy, Sam Anderson!


It’s not often that a network sends a guest star out to do media for a single episode, particularly when the guest is a character actor rather than an actual star. But TNT appears to have done that with Sam Anderson for his guest stint on tonight’s episode of Leverage, and I couldn’t be happier to see him doing some interviews; the man has been constantly on TV for the last 30 years. You’ve seen him on Lost, on Angel, on Growing Pains and Everybody Loves Raymond (where he was a brilliant last-minute substitute for another actor in the guest role of the FBI guy who turns Robert down for a job). You’ve seen him on NBC’s hit show ER, starring George Clooney, and you didn’t see him on CBS’s flop show E/R, also starring George Clooney. He’s one of those actors who is the modern equivalent of those great movie character actors in the ’30s and ’40s: he can play many different types of roles on many different types of shows, and can always be counted upon to steal a scene without unbalancing the episode. Stephen Root is another actor with that ability.

Here’s 411mania.com’s interview with Anderson;

Here’s IF magazine’s interview with Anderson, same day.

Anderson and Stephen Root are two guys I’m always happy to see in a guest role, because I feel no matter what the quality of the episode or the show, they will do everything they can to make it better. Another actor like that is Wendy Schaal (The Burbs, American Dad). No matter how bad an episode is, Wendy Schaal can improve it with her off-kilter, off-center sexiness.

So, question: which actors make you go not only “hey, it’s him/her!” but “oh, good, it’s him/her?”

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Hey, It’s That Guy, Sam Anderson!

  1. The two you mentioned are both terrific examples of that. And while his constant high-quality has made it cliche to say so, Fred Willard remains another fine example.

    Gary Cole and the late Herbie Faye also spring to mind instantly. I’m sure I’ll think of several others later.

  2. And I would be a bad State Citizen if I didn’t point out that Sam Anderson, like myself, grew up in North Dakota.

    He’s one of the few we’ve got!

  3. I’d nominate Richard Jenkins, and, if the question had been asked 6-7 years ago, I would have suggested John C. Reilly.

  4. But off the top of my head… Ellen Dubin. JR Bourne. John Saint Ryan.

    I had my TiVo set to scan for Christina Cox before Blood Ties, and would have had it for Torri Higginson if I’d had a TiVo before SGA.

    I know there are more, darnit, but of course part of this effect is that I don’t think about it until they’re in front of me and I go “oh, hey, it’s…!” I’m sure I’ll have a “D’oh” moment sometime in the next day or two.

  5. Glynn Turman adds instant gravitas and credibility to any scene, no matter how strange the show.

    Also, as a fan of A&E’s production of Nero Wolfe, I’ve always watched for Kari Matchett, and rarely been disappointed with her work.

  6. Also, I’m not sure if Tom Wilkinson is too big a name for this exercise, but it’s always nice when he makes one of his relatively rare TV appearances.

  7. Rick Hoffman, and William Fichtner both bring a smile to my face. I liked them so much I found out their damn last names!

  8. Oh yeah, William Fichtner is terrific, even if I do sometimes think he’s Alan Colmes.