Dabbs Greer, who died recently, gave a wonderful quote to the Albany Times Union in 2000, much repeated with news of his passing, “Every character actor in their own little sphere, is the lead.”
With over 100 roles to his credit as a character actor, divided between film and mostly television, Mr. Greer joined the ranks of those actors we always recognize but do not always know their names. His final feature film role in 1999 was in “The Green Mile” playing the elder Tom Hanks role of Paul Edgecomb.
He started out as the cop, the cab driver, the clerk, the reporter. Later on in television, he became our uncle, our friend, our neighbor. From shopkeeper to minister, he was a good character actor. One does not work as many decades as he did without being good at his job, and the great thing about character actors is they are allowed to age. Stars are seldom forgiven for aging, but it’s an okay thing for a character actor to do. Character actors are everymen. They are like us, and perhaps that is why we recognize them so well. We are all the leads in our own stories. So was Dabbs Greer.