Character Actor: Conrad Dunn

Watching Conrad Dunn as Saul Panzer in Timothy Hutton's Nero Wolfe series is one of my delights.

Conrad Dunn is one of those working actors I admire so much. However, I rarely watch any of the other shows he appears in, so I have to check Nero Wolfe out of the library if I want my Chaykin-Hutton-Dunn fix. (In comparison, the actor who plays Fred Durkin, Fulvio Cecere, shows up in lots of the shows that I watch, including Elementary. Yup, he played a mafia guy in Season 3!)

Conrad Dunn has one of those mobile faces that I love to watch think or smile; so much of the action takes place in the eyes and mouth. Dunn also utilizes an economy of movement in his gestures. As Saul Panzer, he conveys absolute confidence in himself at the same time that he is absolutely willing to fade into the background if necessary. He is far more respectful of Nero than Archie; he is also  plausibly good friends with Archie. These characterizations correspond to the book-Panzer (for the purists). Conrad Dunn gives Panzer his own extra dose of charisma.
Kari Matchett proves that casting is often about
actors' vibes. Timothy Hutton obviously prefers
and plays well opposite European-looking women.

In fact, I adore a number of Nero Wolfe alumni from Kari Matchett to Beau Starr (the latter is a major reason I love to watch Due South).

1 comment:

FreeLiveFree said...

I often think are the real talents in the industry. Tom Cruise's abilities are actually pretty limited. Yet, people with more ability goes completely unnoticed.

I remember when I was young, my remarked that Seinfeld always had really good actors in minor parts. There are tons of actors around that have great ability that don't get the recognition they deserve.