Rarely garnering a lead role, M. Emmet Walsh has become one of the busiest character actors in Hollywood, using his ruddy, seedy appearance to embody countless low-life strangers with unsavory agendas. In his rare sympathetic roles, he's also capable of generating genuine pathos for the put upon plight of struggling small-timers. His effortless portrayals have made him a welcome addition to numerous ensembles, even if many viewers can't match a name to his recognizable mug. In fact, his work is so well thought of that critic Roger Ebert created the Stanton-Walsh Rule, which states that no film featuring either Walsh or Harry Dean Stanton can be altogether bad.
Contrary to his frequent casting as a Southerner, Walsh is a native New Yorker, born on March 22, 1935, in Ogdensburg, NY. As a youth he attended the prestigious Tilton School in New Hampshire, and went on to share a college dorm room with actor William Devane. He graduated from the Clarkson University School of Business, but it was not until his thirties that he discovered his true calling: acting. He first popped up in Midnight Cowboy (1969), and has worked steadily ever since, some years appearing in as many as eight motion pictures, other years focusing more on TV movies.