Great Character Actor: Jerry Hardin

I have always had a fond place in my heart for the working actor, writer, artist, musician--not the BIG, FAMOUS, ON THE COVER OF PEOPLE celebrity but the actor with the consistent, long-ranging career. For example, one of my all-time favorite actors is Gary Jones who played Sgt. Walter Harriman on Stargate SG-1. He had about 1-2 lines per episode (in one commentary, he mentions that he was reading a book when the camera started rolling, but it worked into the episode). See, that's the kind of career I would want in Hollywood--a consistent, fun job that earned me a decent income while letting me do a little bit of what I loved (while I was reading).

Jerry Hardin (1929 - ) is way at the top of my list. He has this raspy voice with a Southern accent. He plays villains, sweetie-pies, and odd-balls, all with charm and a dry manner. He was Deep Throat on X-Files (several episodes), the next-door farmer in Lois & Clark (one episode). Famously, he was Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) in Star Trek: TNG's "Time's Arrow" (in which Brent Spiner and Hardin steal practically every scene). I first became aware of him in Star Trek: TNG, then backtracked some of his earlier performances. He shows up in Scarecrow & Mrs. King, JAG,  The Golden Girls, Murder She Wrote, Star Trek: Voyager. Basically, if it has been on television, he's done it. (But not Columbo or Stargate SG-1 unfortunately.)

I think I like him best in X-Files (it's hard to choose!). As Deep Throat, he employs his special brand of ultra-dryness more than in his other roles--in which roles he acts more riled and clueless (but always, always, always charming). As Deep Throat, he conveys the perfect mix of ambiguity, amusement, detachment, and fear that fits Carter's direction; he also plays well opposite Duchovny and William B. Davis (Cigarette Smoking Man).

Not to mention, the character's name is perfect: after all, that voice! Hardin definitely earns the term: unforgettable character actor.

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