Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ned Beatty

Let's take a quick look at Ned Beatty (b. 1937) who is a supporting actor, Bit Actor, and almost a star.

Beatty got his movie start in Deliverance (1972) and he now has 159 titles on IMDb in movies and on TV.  That was the beginning of seven films with his friend, Burt Reynolds (b. 1936). 

He made quite a few decent movies in the 1970s, working with some important actors, actresses and directors.  He has a series of big movies in the later half of that decade.

All the President's Men (1976) with Dustin Hoffman (b. 1937), Robert Redford (b. 1936), and an all star cast
Network (1976) with Faye Dunaway (b. 1941) and William Holden (1918 - 1981)
Silver Streak (1976) with Gene Wilder (b. 1933)
Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) with Richard Burton (1925 - 1984)
Gray Lady Down (1978) with Charlton Heston (1923 - 2008)
Superman (1978) and also Superman II in 1980
1941 (1979) directed by Steven Spielberg (1946)

So that must have been his finest work.

In 1982 he is in The Toy with Jackie Gleason (1916 - 1987) and Richard Pryor (1940 - 2005).  Not all of his movies were big hits.  Purple People Eater (1988), Chattahoochee (1989) and Big Bad John (1990) come to mind...or rather don't come to mind. 

In 1993 he plays the father of Rudy, in a very good film by the same name, and then he takes a role the same year in Ed and His Dead Mother!  Maybe Beatty got caught up in taking anything to make a buck, but in 2002 he was in Thunderpants, which is obviously a movie for young kids.  Here is the description from IMDb.  "An 11-year-old boy's amazing ability to break wind leads him first to fame and then to death row, before it helps him to fulfill his ambition of becoming an astronaut."

During all of those movie contracts, Ned also was in quite a few TV shows and TV movies.  I am sure his best work is divided evenly between the large and small screens.

Ned Beatty was only nominated once for an Oscar, as Best Supporting Actor in Network.  So I will classify him as a great Bit Actor, and continue to enjoy his work.


  1. Ned Beatty was phenomenol in Network and completely deserved his Oscar nod. That monologue he delivered to Peter Finch in the empty boardroom was one of those bravura moments. I have always loved his side-kick turn as "Otis" in the Superman movies (to Gene Hackman's "Lex Luthor"). What a comedic pair those two were! Beatty was also part of the ensemble cast in TV's "Homicide: Life on the Street" for its first couple of seasons and, as always, added much depth to the show.

  2. He was really great in Toy Story 3, and deserves some sort of voice-over award. I would love to see him in more movies.

  3. Thanks for the comments, Tom. Ned Beatty has 150 titles listed on IMDb. You may want to get some of them on your Netflix queue. I suggest you start with his early work and gradually watch his newer offerings. You can really watch the development of style that way.

  4. A good comment, Eve. It shows how much a great Bit Actor brings to a movie. Then, you look at the variety of roles Ned played and you get an idea of what he can really do.


Please add your thoughts, but they will be monitored so keep it on topic.