American character actor Michael Emmet Walsh (March 22, 1935 — March 19, 2024) had the distinction of being among a special class of SAG members in Hollywood, one that critics have recognized but for which I'm not sure there's a name. He used to be in that group of "know them but not their name" actors, but he was so remarkably talented that, in my opinion, he transcended that group many decades back. Harry Dean Stanton was in this company as well, at least according to film critic Roger Ebert who came up with the "Stanton-Walsh Rule" which states that any film featuring either actor has to have some merit. Ebert later conceded that Walsh broke this rule by appearing in Wild Wild West (1999).

Born in Ogdensburg, New York just across the St. Lawrence River from greater Ottawa, Canada, Walsh was raised in rural Vermont and graduated from Clarkson University School of Business in 1958. He completed a graduate program at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1961. Walsh appeared in over 200 films and television series starting in 1969, and had a career that spanned over five decades.

What's he been in? Jeez, what hasn't he been in? I can't list all his credits, but two of his best-known roles include police captain Harry Bryant in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982) and the cold-blooded private detective Loren Visser in the Coen Brothers' first film Blood Simple (1984). Four films he appeared in were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, and two won: Midnight Cowboy (1969) and Ordinary People (1980). Frequently cast in "bellicose but harmless" roles, he's done a lot of comedy work too. His television credits include The Rockford Files, The Waltons, Baretta, Starsky and Hutch, Tales from the Crypt, The X-Files, NYPD Blue, Frasier, and dozens more. 300

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