I mentioned in recent entry that Basil Rathbone was ideal for the part of Sherlock Holmes. He looked and acted like the character that Arthur Conan Doyle described in his short stories and novels. He was clipped and terse in speech, abrupt, assured. The old films were not faithful to the Doyle stories however, and their portrayal of Dr. Watson was abysmal. Nigel Bruce played him as a bumbling fool that was more trouble to Holmes than a help. In the stories, Watson was a keen help to Holmes and a valuable back up carrying his huge service pistol when needed.
Then I got to wondering how many other actors fit their parts so well. Sean Connery is the only 007 who convinced me. Other Bonds are “all right”, but not as perfect as Sean was.
Johnny Weismuller was good Tarzan, riding on elephants and wrestling crocodiles, but Buster Crabbe and followers were not nearly so suited to the part. Paul Hogan was good at wrestling crocodiles, too.
Jerry Seinfeld played a character named Jerry Seinfeld so of course he looked the part, but it took some acting skill to portray such an obsessed, self-centered individual. I am sure Jerry Seinfeld the person is not the same as Jerry Seinfeld, the character. Jason Alexander makes a good George Costanza, but not so good as the characters he played in the spin off shows that followed.
Clayton Moore was perfect Lone Ranger, and Jay Silverheels was perfect Tonto. Right, Keemosabe?
Alan Alda is good in anything he does but his Hawkeye Pierce made M*A*S*H what it was. Other actors came and went, but Alda held the 4077th together for years. I wonder if he or Jimmy Smits will be the next president on West Wing.
What actors do you feel so filled their roles that you cannot think of the character without thinking of the actor?