Great Character Actors of Today #4

July 15, 2011

Name: Margo Martindale.

Distinguishing Features: A rotund figure and a rich Texas accent that can come out warm or mean.

A Holdout: She eschewed television for stage and film roles until joining the ensemble of Sidney Lumet’s 100 Centre Street in 2000.

On the Big Screen: Supporting roles in Lorenzo’s Oil, The Firm, Robert Benton’s Nobody’s Fool and Twilight, and last year’s Secretariat.  Hilary Swank’s mother in Million Dollar Baby, and a lead role in Alexander Payne’s segment of Paris, Je t’aime that he wrote for her.

I Wish I Had Seen: Her Tony-nominated turn as Big Mama in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, opposite Ned Beatty.

A recent patron: Dmitry Lipkin, creator of The Riches and co-creator of Hung, middling shows with good supporting parts for character players.  Martindale did her best work in years as a stifled, pill-popping McMansionite with a closeted husband on The Riches, then swung through Hung once as a timid client of the male prostitute protagonist.

The Life of the Working Actor: “I’ve worked ever since I started acting, but I’ve been very poor a major part of my career.  And it didn’t discourage me.  I just kept going.  And today it’s pretty good.  Pretty good.  I might even could buy a house soon.”

Upcoming: I haven’t seen Justified yet but Martindale just snagged an Emmy nomination for a meaty role as a villain.  Reason enough to move that Blu-ray to the top of the stack.


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