With his three scenes as the "dickless" EPA agent in Ghostbusters, William Atherton imprinted himself into the consciousness of moviegoers as one of the all-time greatest scumbags of modern cinema. The role typecast him for the rest of the '80s, despite a prior decade full of varied, significant parts in films including The Day of the Locust, The Sugarland Express and Looking for Mr. Goodbar, as he was cast as a sleazy science professor in Real Genius and a sleazy television reporter in Die Hard(reprised in Die Hard 2). Now he's best remembered for these three scene-stealing assholes.

Of these three characters, Jerry Hathaway from Real Genius is the one that might be considered too large a role to really be scene-stealing, but the film's protagonist, played by Gabe Jarret, is so dull that its biggest supporting actors, Val Kilmer, who chews so much scenery that it is easy to forget he isn't the lead, and Atherton, become very memorable parts in a movie that would otherwise be forgotten. A million actors could have played Hathaway as written, but it is Atherton's prominent face and voice combined with his unique manner of speech that make the character really stand out.
categories Features, Cinematical