M. Emmet Walsh

M. Emmet Walsh

Mar. 22nd, 1935
Born in
Ogdensburg, New York, USA
5' 10"

M. Emmet Walsh's Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
The Mind of the Married Man TV Show
The Mind of the Married Man
The Don Rickles Show TV Show
The Don Rickles Show
The Sandy Duncan Show TV Show
The Sandy Duncan Show
Dear Detective TV Show
Dear Detective

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


Wonderfully talented, heavyset character actor (from New York, but regularly playing Southerners) M. Emmet Walsh has made a solid career of playing corrupt cops, deadly crooks, and zany comedic roles since the early 1970s. First appeared in a few fairly forgettable roles both on TV and onscreen before cropping up in several well remembered films, including a courtroom police officer in What's Up, Doc? (1972), as the weird Dickie Dunn in Slap Shot (1977), and as a loony sniper hunting Steve Martin (I) in The Jerk (1979). On-screen demand heated up for him in the early 1980s with attention-grabbing work in key hits, including Brubaker (1980), Reds (1981), and as Harrison Ford (I)'s police chief in the futuristic thriller Blade Runner (1982). Walsh then turned in a stellar performance as the sleazy, double-crossing private detective in the Joel Cohen (I) and Ethan Coen film noir Blood Simple. (1984), and showed up again for the Coens as a loud-mouthed sheet-metal worker bugging Nicolas Cage in the hilarious Raising Arizona (1987). As Walsh moved into his fifties and beyond, Hollywood continued to offer him plenty of work, and he has appeared in over 50 movies since passing the half-century mark. His consistent ability to turn out highly entertaining portrayals led film critic Roger Ebert to coin the "Stanton-Walsh Rule," which states that any film starring Walsh or Harry Dean Stanton has to have some merit. And the "M" stands for Michael!

  • Has been deaf in his left ear since age three.
  • Keeps a home in rural West Swanton, Vermont.
  • Attended Tilton School in Tilton, N.H.
  • Was roommates with actor 'William Devane' (qv) in college.
  • Appeared in the pilot episode of _"The Bob Newhart Show" (1972)_ (qv).
  • Graduated from the Clarkson University School of Business.
  • Critic 'Roger Ebert' (qv) so admires him that he created the "Stanton-Walsh Rule," which states that "no movie featuring either 'Harry Dean Stanton' (qv) or M. Emmet Walsh in a supporting role can be altogether bad." Ebert later admitted this rule was broken by _Wild Wild West (1999)_ (qv), in which Walsh appeared.
  • In _Christmas with the Kranks (2004)_ (qv), he plays a neighbor of 'Tim Allen (I)' (qv). He played Allen's father-in-law on _"Home Improvement" (1991)_ (qv).

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