Today, the great character actor Jon Polito is 64 years old. I featured him last year for the birthday post, but there really is no one else I feel that I ought to talk about. It isn’t just that I admire his work. It is also that I’m extremely jealous of him. He has the kind of career that every actor ever wanted to have when they started out. Even though he’s still pretty young, he has over 200 entries on IMDb — and that doesn’t include multiple appearances on a single television show. He also has the sweet spot of fame: famous enough for it to be flattering, but not so famous that he can’t have a regular life.
Primarily, I think his is a great actor. There is depth in his performance that you just don’t find in a lot of established actors. I think it is interesting that in his scene with Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski, he dominates. And I say that even as I think Bridges is an okay actor. Anyway, someone put together this nice comedy reel of Polito’s work. Check it out:
My favorite role of his is Johnny Caspar in Miller’s Crossing. He’s the heart of the film, because as much of a psychopath as he is, he’s the only one who has a sense of justice and right and wrong. Sadly, his opening speech about ethics is not online. But here is a little bit from the very end of it:
Happy birthday Jon Polito!