"The very best character actors are made of equal parts discipline and madness, and the fact that our faces are more familiar than our names is not our curse, but our blessing. The character actor's goal, after all, is not to earn the adulation of the public; it is to give lives to a hundred nameless spirits who make us laugh or cry, who are both familiar and new, who show us that their journey is our journey, and who, like everyone in the audience, never get to kiss Renée Zellweger."
Stephen Harold Tobolowsky is an incredibly prolific character actor and the undisputed patron saint of Hey, It's That Guy!
, having appeared in over 200 movies and TV episodes. In fact, once in a hotel room he flipped through channels to find himself on every channel at various ages.
Stephen is perhaps best known for playing Ned Ryerson in the Bill Murray
classic Groundhog Day
. Although a versatile actor, he has a tendency to play jerks, incompetent villains, annoying suits or other Obstructive Bureaucrat
types. A case of Mean Character, Nice Actor
, in reality Stephen is a witty and affable fellow with a self-deprecating sense of humour.
He's also a highly gifted storyteller, and has a storytelling Podcast
called The Tobolowsky Files
where he regales us with tales of life, love and the entertainment industry. These podcasts detail his emotional journeys through every aspect of Hollywood, while also recounting his personal relationships with friends, girlfriends, family and faith. They are often hilarious, heartwarming and tearjerking. You have been warned.
- Actor Allusion: Sandy Ryerson's last name is also that of Ned from Groundhog Day. This was intentional.
- Bald of Awesome: He went bald at a young age.
"Swing Shift (1984) was the first movie where I had a make-up person start to draw in hair on my head because I looked too bald. I had no idea what she was doing, and she said, "Honey, I can see your skull". And that's when it dawned on me that I was going to end up being one of those bald character actors"
- Butt Monkey: Poor guy has had some pretty rotten stuff happen to him. Some of the more unusual and prominent situations he's been pulled into include being held hostage at gunpoint, being almost murdered twice, and breaking his neck in five places in Iceland.
- Deadpan Snarker: Very much so. When asked about the fact that he was almost murdered twice, he simply responded, "That's unusual."
- Hey, It's That Guy!
- Jewish and Nerdy
- Mean Character, Nice Actor
- Punch Spin Gape: In the DVD commentary for Groundhog Day, the director claims that all he had planned for the scene in which Bill Murray (playing Phil Conners) punches Tobolowski (playing Ned Ryerson) was just a simple faked punch. Toblowski, who admits he can be a Large Ham sometimes, turned it into a full-on spin-and-stare-directly-into-the-camera-then-fall maneuver in reaction to the punch. And did so on every single take they tried. Eventually, the director just threw it in.
- Took a Level in Badass: Remaining outwardly calm with a gun to his head in a grocery store and keeping the crazed gunman talking long enough for a SWAT team to swoop in for the rescue.