Thursday, December 2, 2010

Actors Who Remind Me of My Father

A while back Raquelle did a post on actors who remind her of her father. I hope Raquelle does not mind me swiping her idea, but given today is my father's birthday (he would have been 93 years old), I thought a similar post about my father would be fitting.

Indeed, much of the reason I probably love classic film is due to my father. Even if local television stations weren't still airing films made in the Thirties and Forties, I would have probably loved them simply because of my dad. My father was a child of the Depression and was alive when many of these films were released. And my father had fairly diverse tastes when it came to movies. His favourites were generally Westerns, although he also enjoyed everything from musicals to dramas. Indeed, it was my father, instead of my mother, who introduced me to musicals (probably his second favourite genre of film). My Fair Lady (1964) was on the telly one night and, being a typical boy, I did not particularly want to watch it. My father convinced me otherwise by telling me I would probably like it, which I did. To a degree, then, my father is to blame for my decades old crush on Audrey Hepburn....

Above is a photo of my mum and dad taken not long after they were married around 1938. Outside of the hairstyle (mine is obviously more modern) and the size of my father's ears, I resemble him a good deal. Of course, here I must point out a curious fact about my father's family--all of the men look alike. Anyhow, I cannot say that I believe too many actors look like my father or any other man in our family. When a particular actor reminds me of my father, it is generally because the personality of a character that actor played greatly resembled that of my father.

Of all the actors who remind me of my father, it is Andy Griffith in his role of Andy Taylor from The Andy Griffith Show that reminds me of my father the most. Oh, my father was a farmer rather than a sheriff, but they did have a lot in common. Like Sheriff Andy Taylor, my father had a mischievous side. Like Sheriff Taylor, he had a fondness for jokes and for ribbing people. Like Sheriff Taylor, my dad was also quite skilled at telling stories. Even though my father never attended high school, I then suspect much of the reason I became a writer was because of his influence. Most of all, like Sheriff Taylor, my father was very grounded with common sense, and tended to be a source of folksy wisdom. Of course, I guess I do not need to point out that both Andy Taylor and my father were Southerners! I do think my father resembled Andy Griffith to a small degree, at least when they were both younger!

Jimmy Stewart also reminds me of my father to a degree, at least in his most famous role, that of George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life (1946). Both were hard working men who were devoted to their families. And both were constantly helping people. Like George Bailey, my dad had so much impact on others' lives that I think if my father had never existed he would have "left an awful hole." Of course, my father also differed a good deal from George Bailey. Unlike George Bailey, he had no desire to see the world. He was happy simply raising animals and crops (we had cattle, horses, and swine). While my father did have a temper, he also lacked the anger George Bailey so often displayed, probably because George never got to fulfil his dreams, while my father had (he had bought two substantial pieces of land in his lifetime).

Okay, strictly speaking Johnny Cash was not an actor--he was a folk singer--but I do think my father physically resembled him to a small degree, at least when they were both younger. And they had a few character traits in common. Johnny Cash had a bit of a mischievous side, as shown in his appearances on TV shows and his many novelty songs. He was also a deeply spiritual man, much in the same way my father was. They were both philosophers of a sort born in the South. Of course, unlike Mr. Cash my father never drank, let alone did drugs. My grandfather had been an alcoholic, so my father avoided alcohol for his entire life.

Lastly, I do think my father looked a bit like Jack Palance, at least when they were both younger. That having been said, none of Mr. Palance's characters remind me of my father (except maybe Curly from City Slickers to a small degree).


Raquel Stecher said...

Oh how wonderful! Thank you so much for doing your own version of my post. It would make for a great meme and I hope others will jump on the bandwagon and do the same.

It seems like more abstract things associated with these actors (and one singer) remind you of your dad. That's pretty cool. Mine is almost exclusively visual.

Thanks again for doing this!

QUB English Society said...

These posts are just brilliant-they're really interesting!

Terence Towles Canote said...

Thanks, Raquelle and Niamhy! I think it would make a great meme. Maybe we can talk others into doing their own similar posts?