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Thursday, October 29, 2015

An Up Close And Personal Chicken & Egg

Pretend you're a casting agent. Which actor or actress would most challenge you with respect to typecasting? That is, which role is so clearly tied to a specific acting performance in your mind that you have trouble seeing the actor playing anything else?

This inconsequential dilemma began when my wife and I happened to see Henry Winkler interviewed in a recent documentary about Robin Williams. Our subsequent conversation about typecasting - can anyone see Henry Winkler as anything but the Fonz? - sent me into a chicken/egg loop, movie geek version. As I briefly pondered Winkler's post-Fonz fate, I reflected. Did that iconic role forever typecast Winkler? Or, were his skills as an actor not able to transcend the role? Which comes first? And, not insignificantly, how much do the people handling the careers of actors have to do with this trap that can ensnare otherwise talented people? Like say, Anthony Perkins?

When I hit the final question in this particular chicken/egg deal, the reflection was no longer inconsequential; now it was personal. My daughter is an actress.  


  1. This is why many child stars crash and burn. Other than children, think the entire cast of Seinfeld, the entire cast of Friends, Elizabeth Montgomery, Barbara Eden, entire cast of Gilligan's Island, and a host of other TV stars. To a lesser extent actors in repeat roles, such as Sean Connery. Hard to know what else they might have been good at.

  2. No matter the role your daughter lands, she will always be typecast, to you, as your daughter. Would look at this not as a trap, but as a blessing. And fyi, I see Henry Winkler often at the Farmer's market taking pictures of his grandson petting animals. I can only see him as a doting grandfather now!

    1. Anonymous; Thanks for the comment. Although I'm struggling to see how my daughter being typecast could be a blessing when it restricts the range of auditions she is offered by her agents, you're right that she will always be my daughter. And oh yeah- say hello to the Fonz for me!