Fame is fleeting, but as the Kevin Bacon game has shown, six degrees of separation lasts forever thanks to That Guy. You know, that guy (or sometimes that girl), the easy-to-remember but hard-to-name character actor who’s sometimes whispering in the President’s ear, or leading the witch hunt against the hero, or providing key testimony in a murder trial. You never notice his existence until the most inopportune time -—when you see him in something and can’t for the life of you recall who he is. Fortunately for all of us, a few brave experts run websites devoted to That Guy-dom.
WHO IS THAT?
Despite cataloging only 13 actors, Dan Rocha’s Who Is That? site hits all the biggies: Vincent Schiavelli (the irate subway spook in Ghost), Stephen Tobolowsky (the toy techie of Sneakers whose elusive security phrase fuels an uncomfortable dinner with Mary McDonnell), Joanna Gleason (Dirk Diggler’s cranky mommy dearest in Boogie Nights), and Jeffrey Jones (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but you shouldn’t have to ask). Extra points for site design and ease of use, but where’s My Cousin Vinny’s grits aficionado Maury Chaykin? B+
FAMETRACKER: HEY! IT’S THAT GUY!
Fametracker, the self-described ”Farmer’s Almanac of Celebrity Worth,” also boasts simultaneously comprehensive and current write-ups of name-on-the-tip-of-your-tongue actors. Set up as a snark-happy subsection titled ”Hey! It’s That Guy!” and dedicated to the memory of (who else?) the late J.T. Walsh, it features some lesser-known (but equally recognizable) That Guys in addition to the usual suspects. And though the career analyses can be too arch by half, at least they cover the men (and women) in full. A
WHAT A CHARACTER!
Since What a Character! indexes everyone from Jane Adams to Carel Struycken, its catch-all functionality means that it doesn’t see the difference between your run-of-the-mill character actor and a thespian who has attained the elusive That Guy status — which must be the explanation for the presence of Rob Schneider. What the site lacks in discrimination, it more than makes up for with sheer numbers. Site owner David Mazor estimates that he has now cataloged more than a thousand head shots and career abstracts. A-