Underrated Actors, Part Three: Mary Woronov

Possibly one of the coolest actors alive, Mary Woronov’s deep voice and stern disposition make her one of the most underrated actors in movie history. She often appears in movies as a vicious female presence. Even though a stern female actor is often hard to come by, Woronov is far from a one trick pony. She started in Andy Warhol pictures such as Milk, Hedy and Superboy. Woronov has also been a stand out in many a cult classic. She was a contender in the hard driving Rodger Corman classic Death Race 2000. She is regularly able to turn her stern disposition to comedic purposes as seen along with Paul Bartel as a fledgling dominatrix in Eating Rauol or as the intimidating stage hand in Get Crazy. She is widely known to cult movie junkies as Miss. Togar in the Ramones vehicle Rock ‘n Roll High School. Woronov’s filmography is massive. She rarely appears for more than a few minutes in movies much anymore, but when she does, her authority shoots off the screen. Woronov is a gem trapped in the dirge of Hollywood’s inability to recognize a positive female lead.


Underrated Actors, Part Two: Greg HollimanColbert, Dinello, Sedaris. The entire cast of Strangers With Candy was one of the best ensemble casts ever to be on television. There was not one weak link. Even the most incidental extra on the show brought something to the table. The casting for the show was absolutely perfect. One actor who stood out from the rest was Greg Holliman.The first time I saw Greg Holliman, I was unaware of it. Holliman played the roller skating orderly in the not very good movie from TV adaptation of The Fugitive. He played a scene with a then unknown Julianne Moore. He didn’t really stand out except for the fact that he was wearing roller skates. But then the movie didn’t stand out either. Holliman eventually went on to play the role of Principal Blackman on Strangers With Candy. Holliman’s portayal of a principal who is less concerned with the goings on at his school as with his various vices and strange habits was a highlight of the show. At times, his dead pan delivery of street wise sensibilities dominated the other characters. At other times, his inability to cope being a principal gave the character a demented vulnerability that was unlike any character on television. It was a unique role played by a unique actor. All that and he can dance too.The same praise should be given to all the actors on the show. But where is Holliman? He seems to be doing an endless string of low budget, Stella Got her Groove Back type movies. There is nothing wrong with that per se, but what a waste that he is not more in the public eye. We need more Hollimans in the world. Holliman has an irreverent sense of humor. Recently i saw him as an uncredited extra on Mad TV. Not ‘the great Greg Holliman is on Mad TV this week.’ Just an extra. He played a security guard in an audience scene.Why does that bother me? Because right now there is a show featuring those fucking dumb ass Geico cavemen on TV. And Greg Holliman is an extra in a Mad TV audience.You might say an actor who has had only one great role should not go on an underrated list. Think again. Greg Holliman is a national treasure. Somebody please get him back out there.


 Underrated Actors, Part One: Griffin DunnThis is the first post in my underrated actor series. I am starting this list because I have said for years that Don Cheadle is underrated and should get better roles. Suddenly, he is hot shit and who remembers that I have been talking him up? Nobody, that’s who. Mostly because nobody cares what i think, but I gotta use this website for something.My favorite underrated actor is Griffin Dunne.Dunne played the lead role in Martin Scorcese’s After Hours. After Hours is one of my all time favorite movies. His high strung portrayal of a character on the edge of a breakdown due to his inability to get home from a mismatched date is pure acting genius. His timing and delivery travel from reasonable to completely disheveled in a slow burn that is on par with a solid Peter Sellers straight role or a Terri Garr cracking up tirade. (Garr also appears in After Hours.)Dunne also played a mangled ghost in John Landis’ American Werewolf in London. He was great as a specter haunting his friend who mangled him during an episode as a werewolf. Dunne gives a wonderful straight delivery in the body of a man who had recently been torn apart.Dunne also had a role in the schticky Johnny Dangerously. That was a good bit of fun. He didn’t necessarily stand out, but he held is own next to giants like Joe Piscapo… come to think about it, I am just gong to stop that right there.So he was sort of hot in the 80’s. He has acted in a long list of movies including the short film collection Amazon Women on the Moon, Robert Redford’s Quiz Show and the early 80’s stalker classic The Fan. Recently, he appears to be acting as producer in some pretty serious stuff. He was named in the credits of the dark documentary Capturing the Friedmans. He was also named as a producer in the compelling documentary Crazy Love.So he is out there still. His subtle performances of reserved frustration make Hours and Werewolf worth watching again and again. I miss his acting in cultish type movies, but I am always psyched to see Griffin Dunne’s name go by on some quality documentaries. At least he hasn’t shown up on the screen next to the Rock.