I love character actors. They are the supporting structure of virtually every good movie with a cast of more than a couple of actors (which is pretty much every movie of worth ever made). You can't name a great film without these smaller, character roles that give a film depth, tension, laughter, heartache etc etc. These are my acting heroes. James Gammon is a character actor of the finest kind. James Gammon is one of my favorite actors of all time.
The first thing you notice about Gammon is his voice. It's a wonderful blend of gravel and drawl. Gammon is not a handsome guy but his everyman looks have allowed him to play every sort of character in a career that dates back to the mid-1960s. Gammon, like all great character actors, makes a film better even though you might not realize just who he is. He can help make good films great and the dreck he has to do sometimes to pay the bills is always more watchable because of his presence.
Gammon is perfectly suited for westerns. If I was making a western, since Warren Oates is dead, the first person I'd call would be James Gammon and I'd ask him to grow a powerful mustache. No one tops Oates! I wouldn't make the film if Gammon wasn't in the cast. Gammon has been in westerns such as Silverado, Wyatt Earp and Cold Mountain. He can also do comedy as his gruff exterior offers great straight man possibilities--he's hilarious in the ribald baseball comedy Major League. Cast him in crime genres and he'll go to town in those as well.
James Gammon is just a great actor in anything, period. Every time I see his name in the credits or see his face pop up on screen I get a little thrill something good is about to come my way. He's the glue, an honest, hardworking character actor. And that's a compliment.