Fictional characters on our film and television screens can be as memorable as real people. Some are endlessly loveable, others impossibly quirky personalities. Some are role models and examples for everyone all. Others appeal to our own aspirations and life circumstances, or just make us laugh. The best characters are three-dimensional individuals who return to our screens like old friends. Here are ten of my favorites.
The TV series House M.D. turns on the extraordinary character of Dr. House. You can’t love him. It’s hard to relate to anyone so utterly rude and selfish. But you can’t resist his wit and sympathise with his failings.
Harold and Maude
The title characters of this 1971 cult film have garnered millions of fans. The relationship between unhappy teenager, Harold, and his first love, eccentric Holocaust survivor, Maude (aged 79) is a timeless treat.
Sugar Kane Kow
I always thought Marilyn Monroe was just a beautiful bimbo till I saw her in this role as the ditzy blonde object of Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon’s desire. Sugar Kane is classic comedy genius.
Special Agent Dale Cooper
Another quirky character who breaks the mould, in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks – arguably one of the most innovative TV series ever. Cherry pie, anyone?
The pompous, officious little bank manager from the classic British sitcom Dad’s Army. With his troop of elderly incompetents, Captain Mainwaring’s efforts to defend England against possible Nazi invasion are more comedy gold.
Apparently one of the most hated TV characters ever, the waitress from Cheers, overflowing with pretensions and affectations, was unique and always hilarious to watch.
The creepiest character I’ve ever seen on film, the psycho killer in Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train. His persecution of tennis pro Guy Haines and his plot for them to ‘exchange murders’ is clever, chilling and a landmark in film noir.
Bart is just a brat.
As this cold beauty, Sharon Stone redefined the femme fatale in Basic Instinct. Not my favorite film but one of the most memorable screen characters of recent times.
Who can resist Mrs. D., aka Daniel Hillard, or fail to feel for his plight when his cold ex-wife deprives him of access to his kids, forcing him into a double life?