Jon Polito — The Greasy Gunman
Good grief, Jon Polito has been in everything. From Silvio the landlord in the reverse-peephole episode of “Seinfeld,” to detectives on both “Homicide: Life on the Street” (with fellow listee Zeljko Ivanek) and “Crime Story” (with listee Michael Rooker), all the way through Flags of Our Fathers, with hundreds of film and TV stops in between, Polito has been everywhere. Everywhere. But it’s his roles in a series of Coen brothers films that have been some of his most memorable character creations. Polito often plays a slimy character with vague underworld overtones, as in the stellar Miller’s Crossing, where he plays Johnny Caspar and gives a wonderful little soliloquy about “character” and “ethics.” Polito was only 40 when he took on the role of Caspar, originally written as a man in his mid-50s, but his mix of anger and self-pity turned the character into something both charismatic and vaguely unsettling. He’s strong enough to yield the spotlight to the rest of the ensemble in whatever he does, and that only makes him more watchable.
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Bonus: Did you realize that Peter Stormare was Slippery Pete in the Seinfeld Frogger episode? I didn't.