Great Character Actors of Today #14

June 19, 2013


Name: Dennis Boutsikaris.

Specialty: Edgy, hyperverbal intellectuals, either kindly (like the SAT policeman-turned-academic-mentor he plays on Shameless) or sarcastic (like the arrogant surgeon he recurred as on John Wells’s earlier ER).

Impersonations: He played Woody Allen, opposite Patsy Kensit’s Mia Farrow, in a low-rent 1996 TV movie, and comb-wielding Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz in Oliver Stone’s W.

Enduring Claim to Fame: As the de facto leading man, in the hilarious, maligned, Green Acres-obsessed sitcom The Jackie Thomas Show.  The straight man of the show, Boutsikaris played the fledgling writer whose horrified reactions were often funnier than the punchlines delivered by putative star Tom Arnold, riffing on his own rep as a narcissistic TV star. Boutsikaris and his female lead, the equally underappreciated Alison LaPlaca, were carryovers from an earlier sitcom, Stat.

Where Else You’ve Seen Him: In recurring roles on 100 Center Street, Law & Order, Six Degrees, and many others, and on the New York stage (replacing John Pankow as Mozart in Amadeus, and more recently in the revival of Brighton Beach Memoirs).

Second Career: A prolific narrator of audio books, Boutsikaris is the winner of seven Golden Earphone Awards.  I do so hope those are in fact shaped like earphones, and made out of gold.


8 Responses to “Great Character Actors of Today #14”

  1. Tom Nawrocki Says:

    I really liked “The Jackie Thomas Show,” an unfairly maligned and too-soon-dismissed sitcom. Tom Arnold was really good playing a self-absorbed jackass.

  2. Stephen Bowie Says:

    Yes, I’m a member of that tiny cult, too. That’s really what made me notice Boutsikaris in the first place, and why I’m always glad to see him pop up, even though the parts are usually too small.

  3. Rob Sinclair Says:

    I first remember seeing him as the next-door neighbor in the (filmed in New York) 1981 Michael Learned series “Nurse”.

  4. He went to my high school (long before I did), but was still recalled as a leading actor in the high school musicals.

  5. Carthy Says:

    I’ve watched him in everything I could, like Jackie Thomas, The Dream Team (which has been on one of the digital subchannel networks lately), batteries not included , plus lots of TV guest appearances. He’s a terrific actor, but mainly I think he’s cute, especially with the beard. He reminds me of a cat.

  6. Dack Says:

    I’ve always liked him, but he always struck me as the “We need an Al Pacino-type, and Ron Silver is booked solid!” guy.

  7. Mark Says:

    Sorry to place this comment in Dennis’ space, but I just don’t know where else to place it. I’d like to nominate Stephen Root as Character Actor #15. With almost 200 credits on, he is one of the most prolific actors today. And whether he’s playing Milton in Office Space, a gay vampire being held captive for his blood on True Blood, a businessman in the Coen Brothers’ No Country for Old Men, the blind record producer in the Coens’ O Brother, Where Art Thou?, a new age guru on the Sarah Silverman Program, or an assassin on 24, he completely disappears into each of the characters he creates. He’s one of the all-time greats.

  8. D.Boutsikaris Says:

    Thanks Guys and gals. I hope, as years have gone by, you’ve enjoyed Better Call Saul!

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