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That Guy Who Was In That Thing That One Time -- A Retrospective

The death after a short illness of That Guy Who Was In That Thing That Time brings to a premature end one of the most paradoxical careers in silver screen history. That Guy, known fondly to his friends as "Thingy", was Hollywood's most prolific screen actor and yet one of the least well-known of his generation. In a career spanning almost 30 years, That Guy appeared in 87 motion pictures.

From the very beginning of his career, acting in stage repertory in Boston, his unconventionally handsome looks led him to be cast in supporting roles. Legend has it that his screen career began almost accidentally when Steven Spielberg, mistaking him for Dennis Weaver, cast him in That Film Where They Think The Germans Are Invading (as "Nasty Officer").

The role that truly launched him to minor celebrity was not to come until two years later, with his semi-regular appearances as Maurice, the unpleasant lodger, on That Show With Those Two Ladies.

The late 70s brought a flurry of minor roles, including several appearances in Disney live-action features, of which the most fondly remembered is probably his performance as Major Dittmeyer in That One Movie Where The Kid Is A Robot (1978-ish). The pressure of the public's vague familiarity with him proved difficult for That Guy to handle, and in 1980 he took a year off to tackle his semi-dependence on NyQuil. The support of his family allowed him to return to work the following year. During the 80s and early 90s he appeared in a variety of comedy-thrillers opposite stars such as Steve Guttenburg, Whoopi Goldberg, Gene Wilder and Chevy Chase, invariably as a corrupt CIA agent. It is undoubtedly these roles which made him vaguely familiar to millions.

In more recent years, he specialised in indiscriminately taking parts in everything he was offered. He showed his darker side as the unscrupulous vice-president of the sinister Corporation in That Weird Thing Where They Mess With The Guy's Mind (about 1995). In a sly tribute to his earlier successes, he appeared as corrupt FBI agent Maurice Dittmeyer in That Paranormal Show, before completing his most recent motion picture, That One With The Monkey, last year.

He never forgot his theatrical roots, however. His final project was a triumphant Broadway production of 'Hamlet', in which he played Rosencrantz.

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