Leonard's been on our mind lately. Or rather, Leonards.

There's this new movie, 'Treatment,' that premiered at Tribeca with Joshua Leonard (yes, the one from 'The Blair Witch Project' and 'Humpday') as a guy named Leonard. And while dwelling on all things Christopher Nolan, we couldn't help but think of 'Memento''s memory-challenged Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce).

You give your character a moniker like that and he could be a hero, a potential murderer, a sinister sidekick, the love of someone's life or just a nice, ordinary guy, even if the name is supposed to mean "lion-hearted."

What's in a name? Join us as we pay tribute to a bunch of guys we know who happen to answer to Leonard.
Leonard Vole: Tyrone Power in 'Witness for the Prosecution' (1957)
Although this is a rather Hitchcockian tale, it was actually directed by Billy Wilder. (So much for our just-born theory that Hitchcock -- see the next entry -- has a thing for Leonards.) Here Tyrone plays the vermin-esquely named Vole, who's accused of a brutal murder. He looks incredibly guilty, but is it all a frame-up?

Leonard: Martin Landau in 'North by Northwest' (1959)
This is one lucky Leonard: He gets to have his name pronounced by the silkiest-voiced actor ever, James Mason, here playing baddie Philip Vandamm. No wonder Leonard, who's perfectly perfidious in his own right, is jealous that Van Dam's so taken with Eve (Eva Marie Saint) and is happy to expose her as a double agent. Leonard makes his entrance at 1:31 in this clip.

Leonard Zelig: Woody Allen in 'Zelig' (1983)
In this underrated faux-documentary, science-defying chameleon Leonard Zelig is all the rage in the '20s for his strange ability to take on the characteristics of anyone he stands near. We'd say that in this case, the name Leonard sounds a bit nebbishy, but you've got to admit, that's a heck of a feat.

Leonard Lawrence: Vincent D'Onfrio in 'Full Metal Jacket' (1987)
He's called "Gomer Pyle" by everyone in his platoon, but, as he states his real name in this clip. His C.O. (R. Lee Ermey) says his last name "sounds like royalty." He doesn't object specifically to "Leonard," but still, this private's real name is out, along with that goofy smile on his face.

Leonard Parker: Bill Cosby in 'Leonard Part 6' (1987)
The Cos as a super spy? Hilarious! Except, not so much, in this widely panned spoof, which rightly earned its share of Razzies. But how often do the Leonards of the world get top billing?

Leonard: Damon Wayans in 'I'm Gonna Get You Sucka' (1988)
Damon plays wannabe thug Leonard in this blaxpoitation spoof, but his intimidation methods aren't as impressive as his intended shakedown target. Perhaps another name -- or a tougher partner in crime -- would inspire more respect?

Click here for a few more notable Leonards.
categories Features