Character actor Richard Jenkins scores the lead


Most of the time when people recognize him on the street, they ask if he was their high school classmate. No, he politely responds in his distinctive, gravelly baritone. Richard Jenkins is an actor — one you did not go to high school with, unless you happen to be from DeKalb, Ill., but have probably seen a dozen times on screens big and small. Try to place exactly where you saw him, though, and you might find yourself at a loss.

He has played characters created by John Updike and the Coen brothers. He was the psychiatrist in “There’s Something About Mary” who pretended to listen as Ben Stiller’s character droned on about his romantic problems. In “Flirting With Disaster” he was the gay federal agent who ran through the desert in his underwear after inadvertently eating a meal laced with drugs. He’s been the ghost of an undertaker who gets pulverized by a bus in “Six Feet Under” and Woody Allen’s doctor in “Hannah and Her Sisters.”

But now, after playing supporting roles for the better part of three decades, he is finally getting his shot at being the leading man.

(New York Times)


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