As the body counts rise and the FBI opens new X-Files, few figures have emerged from the shadows to claim a permanent place beside Agents Mulder and Scully. Consider the fate of Deep Throat (Jerry Hardin), Mulder’s high-level government informant, who was gunned down in the first season’s finale. But here are seven X-Files actors whose lively performances transformed one-shot gigs and small roles into crucial supporting parts — characters who have managed to keep one step ahead of liver-eating psychopaths, fat-sucking cannibals, and giant, sewer-dwelling Flukemen. For now.
MITCH PILEGGI, 43, FBI assistant director Walter Skinner.
Background: Born in Portland, Ore., raised in L.A., Austin, Tex., and Turkey, Pileggi first toiled as an overseas military contractor, surviving two coups in Turkey and travels through the Middle East. ”Iran was fun until the revolution — that will always put a damper on things.” Began acting in 1980; roles have included Pontius Pilate in a production of Jesus Christ Superstar, guest spots on TV’s Dallas and Models Inc., and psychotic killer Horace Pinker in Wes Craven’s movie Shocker. ”After playing so many bad guys, I like playing the guy who has moral values.”
Inspiration for Skinner: His father, Vito, a defense contractor. ”It wasn’t something I did intentionally. My family pointed it out.”
How he’s like Skinner: ”I can get grumpy.”
How he’s not: ”I laugh a lot more. People usually comment, ‘You’re really a nice guy!’ I tell them, ‘Skinner’s a nice guy too, he’s just got a tough job.”’
Startling revelation: According to set regulars, Pileggi, not Duchovny, is the sex symbol off camera. Indeed, Pileggi has to worry about the lipstick traces left by female fans who want to kiss the top of his bald head.
Favorite episode: ”Paper Clip,” in which Skinner tells Cigarette Smoking Man to ”Kiss my ass.”
Off duty: The divorced and unattached Pileggi plays guitar, in-line skates, and golfs with Nicholas Lea (Krycek).
Is the truth out there? ”I believe in aliens, but I don’t think they’re among us.”
What he’d like for Skinner: ”Sex!”
NICHOLAS LEA, 33, Agent Alex Krycek, onetime double-agent partner of Mulder (Internet nickname: Ratboy).
Background: The native of Vancouver had a recurring role as ”a cop with a bad attitude” on The Commish. Appeared as the hospitalized victim of a sex-changing killer in the early X-Files episode ”Genderbender.”
Inspiration for Krycek: Books on the FBI and double agents.
How he’s like Krycek: ”I want to be good at what I do.” How he’s not: ”Hopefully, I have a little more heart.” And, in real life, he dated actress Melinda McGraw, who played Scully’s sister Melissa; on the show he helped kill her.
Startling revelation: Was the lead singer in an alternative rock band called Beau Monde for five years.
Favorite episode: ”Duane Barry” (about a man who claims to have been abducted by aliens), even though, says Lea, ”my tie was in the episode more than I was.”
Off duty: Draws, runs, practices guitar.
Is the truth out there?
”Definitely. But finding it is the most interesting part. I don’t know how I feel about werewolves or vampires.”
What he’d like for Krycek: ”Beautiful women. And I’d like to [learn] why he does what he does. I’d like to see some revealing of his heart.”