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Working Stiff Actors with Bit Parts in Popular Movies; #1–William Fichtner

April 23, 2009

Welcome to the first in a series of short articles where I (Gayle) prove my eagle-eyed ability to spot random actors I really like in the tiniest roles in some popular movies.  For the purposes of these articles, “popular” is defined in the broad sense of recognition.  For example, while there are certainly people who haven’t seen “Momento”, a lot of people know of it.  “Working stiff” is defined in the sense that there are actors out there who make a comfortable living as actors without being recognizable enough to end up on gossip blogs.

Explained?  All right.  Let’s do this.

He played a pharmacist once!

He never played a pharmacist! He was a petrochemist!*

Who: William Fichtner

Where You’ve Seen Him Before: He played Ryan Sparks, a pharmacist, who dated Brett Butler’s character Grace in “Grace Under Fire” during the 1994-1995 season.  He was Dr. Bruce Kellerman on the short-lived, “MDs” (2002) with John Hannah, and he was the Sheriff on the short-lived “Invasion” (2005).

Worst Credits: He was in both “Pearl Harbor” and “Armageddon”. Ouch.

Bit Part: He’s the bank manager in the opening heist scene in “The Dark Knight”.  You know, the one with the shotgun.  Who shot the minion in the face.

What He’s Doing Now: He’s currently playing an FBI agent named Alexander Mahone on “Prison Break”.

*With a nod to AJ for the correction.

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6 comments

  1. Correction: He was not a pharmacist in GRACE UNDER FIRE. He was a Petrochemist.

    More Fichtner info:
    http://movies.groups.yahoo.com/group/Fichtner_Firsthand/


    • You are completely right. Dave Thomas was the pharmacist; Fichtner was the mad scientist. And I thought I had imagined that due to his hair during that show.

      Thanks for the correction!


  2. He’s a great actor! Loved him in Perfect Storm, Black Hawk Down, Crash. I even cut him some slack for Armeggedon because first he has ridiculously blue eyes and second he played say that whole “Let me shake the hand of the daughter of the bravest man I ever knew” totally straight, as if it weren’t the worst line in motion picture history. That’s talent.

    Pearl Harbor, not so much; he didn’t even look good.


    • I will always cut him slack for “Armageddon”. He sold that line, and that takes a considerable amount of talent. I don’t even remember him in “Pearl Harbor”, but as I’ve never made it through that movie, I’m not counting it against him.


      • You don’t have to make it further than twenty minutes; Fichtner plays the abusive, drunk flashback-father of… Now I can’t remember if it’s Affleck or Hartnett. I think it’s Hartnett. Anyway, fake teeth and dirty overalls, he’s barely recognizable.


      • It’s almost tempting to sit through those twenty minutes just to see the look. Maybe it’s on Google images so that I don’t have to make that decision:

        Google wins!



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