An actor or actress not known for being a leading man or woman, or star, but makes a career out of playing henchmen, sidekicks, villains, molls, grandmothers, scatter-brains, clerks, mad scientists, neighbors. Their faces become recognizable, but most people can't recall their names.

Many actors end up in these roles because they aren't handsome or they get old. (In Hollywood, women especially have this problem. Old Clint Eastwood can still star in movies, but when did you last see Lauren Bacall?) In film, they are often unrecognized until a significant body of work is behind them, and a good role may lead to an Academy Award nomination, usually in the Best Supporting Actor or Best Supporting Actress category.