The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Entertainment

June 5, 2014

Tinseltown Talks: The Many Faces of M. Emmet Walsh

As one of Hollywood’s most recognizable character actors over the past four decades, M. Emmet Walsh says he enjoys roles with variety, having portrayed cops, crooks, colonels, coaches, and various screwball characters with equal conviction.
“I don’t want to play the same type of character ten times,” Walsh said. “I want to be a garbage collector in one film and a governor in the next.”
Raised near the Vermont/Montreal border, Walsh graduated from Clarkson College, but not in dramatics.
“I got a degree in business administration and marketing,” he said. “That background taught me to live modestly when you’re working so you can survive on your savings when things aren’t going so well. I’ve had actor friends who made ten times the money I did, but they have nothing now. I knew what to do with a dollar.”
Against his mother’s wishes, Walsh made his way to New York in 1959 to study acting. “I knew nothing when I arrived.  I didn’t speak well and was deaf in one ear, but I didn’t want to look back when I was 40 and wonder whether I should have given acting a try.”
So he became an audience fixture in theaters around town, watching and learning from the best in the city, eventually returning to school and graduating from New York’s Academy of Dramatic Arts.
“No one falls off a turnip truck and does Hamlet,” said Walsh. “You’ve got to learn this stuff and it takes time.”
A decade later, after several years of regional theater in New England, Walsh found his way to television and film in 1969.
Since then, his career has taken him around the world for shooting assignments, including trips to the Philippines in 1984 to costar with Chuck Norris in “Missing in Action” and to Africa for “Red Scorpion” (1988) and “Racing Stripes” (2005).

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