Celebrated playwright, graduate of Harvard and Oxford, and that guy who says, "Inconceivable!" over and over in The Princess Bride: Wallace Shawn is all of these things. But above all that, Shawn is a testament to the power of the human spirit. Despite standing at a rather rotund 5'2", sporting a prominent toilet-bowl haircut, and slobbering through syllables with an oppressively nasal lisp, Shawn has managed to secure a position as one of the world's most belovedly butt-ugly character actors. In honor of his voiceover work in this week's Happily N'Ever After, here's a look back at some of the little troll man's finer acting gigs.
• Manhattan (1979)—One of the regular groundskeepers in Woody Allen's stable of actors (with appearances in Radio Days, Melinda and Melinda, and Shadows and Fog, among others), Shawn made his perfectly suited motion picture debut in Allen's masterpiece: a brief role as Diane Keaton's brilliant and supposedly virile "homunculus" of an ex-husband. And the rest is history.
• My Dinner with Andre (1981)—Though this film's been used as a punchline more times than it's actually been viewed (see Waiting for Guffman, My Breakfast with Blassie, etc.), Shawn co-wrote this arthouse hit with theater director Andre Gregory. The thickest slice of Wallace you'd ever want to take a bite out of, Andre consists of little more than Gregory and Shawn (who play themselves) trippin' the light pretentious over a ceaselessly lengthy dinner. If, like me, you can contentedly listen as the spittle rises to Wallace's little duck-billed lips for hours on end, Andre is the film for you.
• Canadian Bacon (1995)—The only non-documentary film to Michael Moore's credit (he shamefully wrote and directed this gem, which, incidentally, was John Candy's final role), Canadian Bacon is a regular smorgasbord of ugly—with a cast that includes the likes of Rhea Perlman, Rip Torn, Steven Wright, Jim Belushi, Kevin Pollak, and Moore himself. And the icing on this ugly cake? Our man Wallace—appropriately playing the prime minister of Canada, North America's ugliest country.