Character Actor Spotlight: Remembering Charles Hallahan and Wayne Robson

This is a series of articles I will be writing to spotlight those character actors that never really got the limelight and ultimate house hold name stardom that they deserved. These are actors that act in many roles, a secondary character or side-lined actors. Actors that you know their face, but you might not know their name. Character Actors are pivotal actors and those that truly shine and are worthy to rememember. 

First articles of the series will detail two wonderful actors. 

First Charles Hallahan and then Wayne Robson. 


Charles is sadly no longer with us he passed away in 1997 but left a vast array of cinema both great and small. From TV to feature film, he gave it his all and he truly is one of those personas that stood out. He was always able to capture his character he was playing no matter how small or large the part was. He was truly a priceless performer, and I am happy to be able to showcase this flawless character actor.

All one must do is look at his many important roles in acting. Many will know him right off the bat as character Vance Norris in the sci-fi/horror masterpiece John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982). I personally remember him from something else. I grew up a TV kid. One of my favorite shows of all time was Hunter. A perfect Detective show that ran from 1986 to 1991. Charles Hallahan played Captain Charles Devane on the series to a priceless reality. So, I grew up watching him in the small screen reality and later in life I would pick up on his ability behind the big screen of feature films. Yes, it would be The Thing that I would also pin point him in. Started acting in 1974 and did so all the way to his untimely death at the very young age of 54 years. A true shame. I feel he would have went on to continue to act in wonderful roles. One of his last films I remember him from was the character Paul Dreyfus in the 1997 destruction film Dante’s Peak. In his many TV roles, he played a Captain of the police or a police officer or some sort of military set up. He had that ultimate persona about him that captured that reality so well on screen. He also played in the Sci-fi classic 1983’s Twilight Zone the Movie in the segment called: Time Out, playing the character of Ray. Another priceless example of his mastery to capture a performance to remember.

He starred in one of my all time favorite films. A movie I watch often for it’s true story and most of all brilliant acting throughout the film. That movie is 1983’s very underrated Drama film Silkwood. He plays the character of Earl Lapin in this role. Silkwood is a film that is a mastery in itself. A dramatic and tear jerking reality of a film. He then played in Clint Eastwood’s 1985 classic Pale Rider as the character of McGill, yet again another priceless role. He starred in one of my favorite crime drama films 1989’s True Believer alongside Robert Downey Jr and James Wood, starring as the character Vincent Dennehy. I also love him in lower budget Drive-In style cinema in the 1993 B-movie classic Warlock: Armageddon, playing the character Ethan Larson. Loved him in one of my all time favorite Mini-series. The amazing 1993’s Wild Palms. Many childhood fans or animated fans will ultimately recognize his voice in the popular Disney animated cartoon classic series Gargoyles playing the characters of Travis Marshall, Mr. Jaffe and Macduff.

If you look at his many TV roles you can see a strong actor taking on roles that shine or fit for his reality. From The Rockford Files, Hawaii-Five-O, Dallas, All in the Family, The Paper Chase, The Walton’s, Hart to Hart, MASH, Hill Street Blues, Hunter, In the Heat of the Night, Picket Fences, Law & Order, among many others.

Born in 1943 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He graduated with his master’s degree in the fine arts at Temple University. He also served in the US Navy in the 1960’s. He never gave up on his acting wonderment. Worked all the way up to his death. He died of a heart attack on his way to an acting performance. His memory and love affair with acting will always shine.

He acted his butt off throughout his career. Never really getting the stardom and limelight, he deserved. Diehard movie lovers always watch and catch performers that return to smaller parts, or pivotal side characters in cinema. Diehard movie lover’s like myself always honor and praise the character actors of cinema, and Charles Hallahan is a prime example of that reality.


Next up is an equally important character actor. A flawless performer that graced the cinema world both great and small in Feature Length Films to TV cinema. Wayne Robson performed in over 150 performances in his long career. He to sadly is no longer with us passing at the young age on 64. Always a true treat of performance. A character actor that graced the cinema world with countless examples of characters that stood out and shined.

Born in Vancouver British Columbia Canada in April of 1946. Started acting in 1971 and did so up to his untimely death in 2011. From character acting or sidelined parts, a face you recognized. He was a character actor with a Golden Ticket of perfection and performance. 

From parts in 1980’s Popeye, 1987’s Dead of Winter, 1995’s Dolores Claiborne, 1997’s Affliction, 2003’s Wrong Turn, 2003 Cold Creek Manor, 2004’s Welcome to Mooseport, Wrong Turn 2 in 2007, 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, 2009’s Survival of the Dead, to many, upon many others. Many will know him for his awesome role in 1997’s Cube as the character Rennes.  He also did many voice talents in animated features such as the one and only original cartoon series Babar in 1989, to playing the character of Frank in the Disney classic 1990’s The Rescuers Down Under. The Adventures of Tintin in 1991 to 1992 as character Professor Calculus. Voicing the characters of Asklepios, Glen and O’Keefe in the animated series Highlander. The animated series of The Country Mouse and the City Mouse Adventures. Anne of Green Gables the Animated Series. To voicing the character of Mr. Heron in the wonderful animated series Franklin. 

Many people will remember him on the long running TV series The Red Green Show playing the character of Mike Hamer from 1994 to 2006. Also being a horror movie lover who can forget him as the Old Man in Wrong Turn and Wrong Turn 2. He played a perfect character as a Backwoods, run down hillbilly style character in both these movies. He would be one of only 2 actors to be in more than one Wrong Turn movie. The only other character was Three Fingers who was played by 5 different actors in the 6 part series, but was performed by Borislav Iliev twice in Wrong Turn 3 and Wrong Turn 5. 

"Spoiler" Whats so important about Wayne Robson's character in Wrong Turn 1 and 2 is that he is a pivotal plot in the series. In part 1 he is just a side character on the side of the road, but in part 2 you learn that he happens to be the inbreeds daddy. End of Spoiler. 

He started in stage acting. I suppose you could say the acting bug took over and the reality was born to perform on stage and in front of the camera. He started not only on stage but was a constant performer in Canadian commercials. Now on an interesting note is it would be the film 1984’s The Grey Fox that people started noticing him in. He played the character Shorty and was nominated for a Genie Award for Best Supporting Actor. His talent really shined in this film. It’s a perfect acted part in a film.

His beauty and importance in acting shines every time I see him perform looking back on his many acting roles. He also died doing what he loved to do. He was on stage during rehearsals for play The Grapes of Wrath at the Stratford Festival in Ontario Canada on April 4th, 2011 when he had a heart attack and died. It’s a true shame, at least he died doing what he loved best and that is performing.

Looking back at his amazing career. 100 Canadian productions and over 120 television performances, not counting his amazing various film career performances. He truly was a one of kind character actor that shinned no matter how small or big the part was. He gave it his all and made you remember. 


Remembering The Character Actors of Cinema