The hardest working actors in showbiz |


The hardest working actors in showbiz

We interview a slew of under-appreciated actors, including John Slattery from ''Mad Men'' and ''Desperate Housewives'' and Tina Majorino from ''Napoleon Dynamite'' and ''Big Love''

Hollywood’s underrated players talk about being recognized on the street (at least some of the time), which other actors they admire, and the roles that got away.

Bob Balaban, 63
Best Known for: Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Seinfeld, the Christopher Guest mockumentaries
The Role That Got Away: American Graffiti. ”I remember saying to my agent, ‘Oh, I just played a bunch of teenagers, and I’m already 25 years old. I shouldn’t really try to be a teenager anymore.”’
First Movie Role: Midnight Cowboy, the lone X-rated Best Picture Oscar winner. ”I was the gay kid who picks up Jon Voight on 42nd Street and gets sick in the bathroom afterward. So I was the X rating!”

Bobby Cannavale, 37
Best Known for: Third Watch, Will & Grace, The Station Agent
An Actor He Admires: ”John Turturro. He’s very close to my heart because I saw him on stage when I was a teenager. I was blown away by his forwardness. There’s nothing that’s not engaging you all the time.”
The Role That Got Away: ”Family Guy may be my all-time favorite show. And I met Seth MacFarlane, and he said, ‘You gotta come on and do a voice!’ And then he never called me.”

Lynn Cohen
Best Known for: Sex and the City, Law & Order, Munich
Most Recognized for: Her role as Miranda’s no-nonsense cleaning lady, Magda, on SATC. ”People come up and hug me. It’s a wonderful thing! I met an 85-year-old woman on the street the other day who said, ‘Oh, I’m obsessed with Sex and the City. I watch it every single day.’ She relates to Magda — she has the answer to all the problems in the world if you just listen to her.”

Kim Dickens, 43
Best Known for: Hollow Man, Deadwood, Lost
Her Favorite Role: Sherry in Things Behind the Sun. ”She was struggling with addictions, she was a rape survivor, she was a rock star. And we shot it in, like, three weeks on a very indie budget in Cocoa Beach, Florida. It was an all-around great experience. My close second would have to be Joanie Stubbs on Deadwood, because that was like walking around in a novel. Fans feel sort of affectionate toward those Deadwood characters.”

Anne Dudek, 33
Best Known for: House, Big Love, Mad Men
Most Recognized for: ”If I’m in Starbucks, it’s White Chicks.” Outside the coffee mecca? ”House. People feel awkward because my character’s known as ‘Cutthroat Bitch.’ They don’t want to say that to me.”
What She Loves About Her Career: ”When I came home from this shoot, my husband said, ‘Annie, I’m so proud that people care about what you’re doing.’ It’s such a rewarding feeling to think, ‘Oh, wow, someone likes what I’ve done!”’

Frances Fisher, 56
Best Known for: Unforgiven, Titanic, Lucy & Desi: Before the Laughter
The Role That Got Away: ”I was cast in the Home Improvement pilot as Tim Allen’s wife. There’s a technique to doing sitcoms, and I didn’t know it at the time. I was a fish out of water, so they fired me. They chalked it up to ‘lack of chemistry.’ That was humiliating and disappointing. I remember running into Patty [Richardson] one time. I said, ‘Oh, you’re so rich!’ And she said, ‘Yes, but you got to do Unforgiven!”’

Beth Grant, 59
Best Known for: Donnie Darko, Little Miss Sunshine, No Country for Old Men, The Office
Best Advice Ever? ”I started out wanting to be a movie star, like Joan Crawford and Marilyn Monroe. I kept trying to do all these glamorous roles. But I had this great acting teacher who said, ‘Why do you keep trying to be a Rolex watch? You’re the salt of the earth!’ Once I embraced myself as a character actress, I never looked back.”