What’s Your Favorite Performance By An Actor in Multiple Roles?

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  • Hank Zangara

    How about Kim Novak in Vertigo?
    Or Michael Keaton in Multiplicity?

  • Lennart Grankvist

    One of my favoritactors are HENRY BRANDON ,

    a very underrated actor. I would like to have

    contact with others who like him.

  • D Rogers

    How about FREDRIC MARCH (and SPENCER TRACY too) in DR, JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE? March won the Oscar in 1931. Tracy hated his performance–thought it would end his career even–but his interpretation was wonderful as well.
    (Also, you might add A DOUBLE LIFE for Coleman. He won his Oscar and was mesmerizing in that role.)

  • Barry Lane

    Louis Hayward’s performance in Man In The Iron Mask (1939) is without question the finest dual performance up to this date.

  • Allen Hefner

    There are too many people who played multiple parts to list them all. My favorite was Tony Randall in 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, where he appeared in EIGHT parts! And of course, you missed Lindsay Lohan or Haley Mills in The Parent Trap. Visit me at http://bitactors.blogspot.com

  • Bob M

    Alec Guinness in “Kind Hearts and Coronets.”

  • Maria Towers

    how about Maria Rohm in “Venus in Furs”

  • Cynthia Dempster

    What about Bette Davis in A Stolen Life and
    Dead Ringer

  • mike jaral

    on the poll, all are very good, but as I expected, peter sellers won it hands down, and he deserves it.

  • Terry Peters

    What about Rod Steiger in “No Way To Treat a Lady”?

  • DIRK

    Anybody for Tony Randall in the tour de force of multiple roles for The 7 Faces of Doctor Lao?? Its a fun little movie anyway!!

  • David Ecklein

    Sasha Guitry played multiple star roles in “The Pearls of the Crown” (1937), a lively French historical comedy. It should also be noted that his wife, Jacqueline Delubac, costarred here also in multiple roles! Guitry wrote and directed this classic. An English-subtitled version has recently become available on DVD.

  • Rufnek

    You got Peter Sellers right but the wrong movie–he should have been cited for his multiple roles The Mouse that Roared.

    And you completely left Jack Lemmon for his two very different but equally funny roles as the dispicable Dr. Doom and the flighty and inebriated playboy prince in The Great Race, funnier IMHO than in his and Tony Curtis’ roles in Some Like It Hot. Technically Lemmon and Curtis did not play dual roles in SLIH, since their primary roles were as men on the run disguised as women. And as much as I love the film and Steiger’s performance, the same can be said of Steiger in No Way to Treat a Lady, in which he is always a serial killer who is good at disguises, thanks to his theater training.

  • Rufnek

    You’re right, Dirk, Randall’s roles in The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao were the best of all, hands down.

  • Fred Smith

    I believe Alistair Sim palying St. Trian’s headmistress Millicent Fritton and her brother Clarence in “The Belles of St. Trian’s” wins this one.

  • Ron Schneider

    Was also going to say Tony Randall for Dr. Lao, until I was reminded of Jack Lemmon as Prof. Fate & the Potsdorff Prince in The Great Race.

  • Ron Kopp

    This was a decent list of nominees, though it missed a couple of my favorites:
    –Charles Spencer Chaplin in THE GREAT DICTATOR (and THE IDLE CLASS);
    –Satn Laurel and Oliver Hardy in BRATS;
    –Michel Blanc in DEAD TIRED;
    –and of course, maybe the most brilliant of all, Mel Blanc in any of a hundred if not a thousand Warner Bros cartoons.
    By the way, I’m dying to see Lodge Kerrigan’s REBECCA H.: RETURN TO THE DOGS, which played at Cannes last year but hasn’t got a distributor yet.

  • StevenWells

    Some honorable mentions:

    THE DARK MIRROR – Olivia de Havilland
    THE BLACK ROOM – Boris Karloff

    And speaking of Karloff films, two others contained dual roles for lesser-known actors who stole the pictures right out from under the leads:
    BLACK FRIDAY – Stanley Ridges

    And of course:
    BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN – Elsa Lanchester

  • DeMeio

    How about Tony Perkins in PSYCHO. Mother was a “scream”.
    Or how about either Julie Andrews or Robert Preston in VICTOR, VICTORIA?
    Or the Mauch twins in PRINCE AND THE PAUPER?
    But, in the end, Sir Alec played the whole doggoned family. That should count for something.

  • Kae Upton

    What about Jerry Lewis in the Nutty Professor or in Cinderfella?? And I have to agree also with the fact that Tony Randall should have been on the list too! Both of these guys have given much better performances than half the people on the poll list.

  • Trish

    Ewan McGregor in the Island
    Haley Mills in The Parent Trap

  • Mario Brescio

    I voted for Peter Sellers, but I loved Lee Marvin in Cat Ballou, however my heart has to agree with the person who mentioned Bette Davis for A Stolen Life and Dead Ringer

  • Tom Thomson

    How about Kirk Douglas in “The List of Adrian Messenger”.

  • Brenda

    How about Dustin Hoffman in “Tootsie”? Thank you to someone who mentioned “Dark Mirror” I love that movie and wish it would be released on DVD.

  • John Robert Davis

    My vote goes to Anne Carlisle for her role as Margaret/Jimmy in 1983′s Liquid Sky. I remember seeing that film in the theater and being astounded as the credits rolled that Margaret and Jimmy were played by the same actor.

  • Walter

    Walter Brennan in The Gnome Mobile

  • Ray Drescher

    I enjoyed Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall in
    “Coming To America”. Both played several roles.

  • Da Rock

    What…no Eddie Murphy for the Nutty Professor. I know it was a comedy, but that was serious heavy-lifting on his part.

  • terry mosdell

    Peter Sellers also played multiple roles in the movie Soft beds, Hard battles. His portrayal of the French General was superb

  • Vern

    Ian Holm in The Emperor’s New Clothes (2002). His two characters are so different at the start you can’t tell it is the same actor. Then half way through the film you can’t tell them apart.

  • Barbara Lamb

    Not “high-brow” cinema, but Eddy Murphy in Coming to America was genius!

  • J Kellams

    My first thought was Peter Sellers but…
    How about Richard Pryor in Which Way is Up?

  • KarenG

    How about George Hamilton in Zorro, the Gay Blade?

    My favorite though is Lee Marvin in Cat Ballou.

  • Ken A

    Absolutely right!…Peter Sellers 1st, Lee Marvin 2nd. I’m inclined to agree with DeMeio that Tony Perkins was worth a mention…

  • fuhrtops

    Meryl Streep “The French Lt’s Woman”

  • johnalan

    Tony Randall in The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao is a good choice, but what about WOODY ALLEN in ZELIG???

  • DIRK

    SPOILER ALERT: does Shirley MacLaine count in Two Mules for Sister Sara? I didn’t see that ending coming. Are we talking strictly two roles or do just disguises/personalities count here?

  • Charles H

    I agree with Hank Z. concerning Michael Keaton in “Multiplicity”. Sadly, Keaton is an under-appreciated and over-looked actor. He’s proven that he can play any type of character, and do so with so much ease and style, that you forget he’s acting. And, laugh if you want, but Brendan Fraser in “Bedazzled” also played multiple characters (eventhough they were all “him”) convincingly.

  • BWilliams

    I consider “multiple roles” to mean each role corresponds to a distinct character – a genetically distinct being, if you will, as opposed to one character using multiple disguises (leaving out such movies as “Tootsie”). I am inclined to include psychological multiplicities, in which case Joanne Woodward in “The Three Faces of Eve” and Sally Field in “Sybil” rise up towards the top of the list. And, I have to give a nod to Jerry Lewis in “The Family Jewels” – 7 roles in that, I believe.

  • Pat

    Michael Keaton in “Multiplicity” – what a romp! A much overlooked movie. Tony Curtis in “Some Like It Hot”. I also agree about Fredrick March and Spencer Tracy in “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. I agree with Charles H about Brandon Frazer in “Bedazzled”.

  • Jack Warford

    As a nember of Screen Actor’s Guild, for the performance where it actually looks like different actors and not different faces of the same person, I vote number one for Peter Sellers in Strangelove and to for Michael Caine in Sleuth

  • Joseph Imhoff

    I was disappointed that Tony Randall was not listed for ‘Dr. Lao’.
    I didn’t vote!

  • DeMeio

    We seem to have overlooked Marlene Dietrich in WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION and Danny Kaye in ON THE RIVIERA.

  • Ron Black

    How about Jean Marais in Jean Cocteau’s “Beauty and The Beast” playing The Beast/The Prince/Avenant.

  • Elizabeth

    What about Peter Sellers in Lolita? Well, he’s actually playing someone masquerading as various people, but still, he was great … Of course his multiple roles in Strangelove were fabulous. I agree about Michael Keaton in Multiplicity–I’ve watched it several times for that reason. I love Tony Randall, so will have to catch that Dr. Lao film. So many great candidates.

  • Elizabeth

    P.S. I agree too that Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor was a scream, in a pretty scary way, when he changed into Buddy Love.

  • Elizabeth

    P.P.S. It’s a Showtime series, not a film, but don’t miss United States of Tara. Toni Collette is amazing in her multiple personalities.

  • tom clark

    Dustin Hoffman in “Little Big Man” then Petter Selleras in Mouse that Roared….

  • DIRK

    OMG ! We have overlooked the marvelous Madeline Kahn in Neil Simon’s The Cheap Detective 1978 and ALL her disparate disguises — even if it was the same character you wouldn’t know it — to say its just costume changes is to belittle her perfected presence & performance!!

  • Christine Harrison

    What about the performance of Jean Arless as Emily/Warren in William Castle’s “Homicidal”? It’s so outrageous, it’s fun!

  • Stephen Farris

    How about Elvis Presley in his roles as Josh and Jody in “Kissin’ Cousins”.

  • wolfy

    I agree with Tony Randall in “The Seven Faces of Dr. Lo,” which for the time was an amazing film and the special effects were great, but why has no one mentioned Bette Davis in “A Stolen Life?” She was amazing as the twins, Peggy and Patsy, who both fell for the painter, played by Glen Ford…

  • David in LA

    The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, starring Tony Randall, is one of my all time favorite movies. I understand that director George Pal really wanted Peter Sellers for the character(s). I voted for David Carradine in Circle of Iron, another favorite film. Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove is my next choice.

  • Francine Sobec

    Jack Lemmon in ” The Great Race ”
    A highly underated movie – it’s a gem of a spoof
    and Jack Lemmon is brilliant as Professor Fate and
    Prince Hopnick.

  • version

    Sutherland ans Wilder in “don’t start the revolution w
    ithout me “

  • Nancy

    Often overlooked 1991 murder mystery “Dead Again”. Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson each play two roles. Ken directs, too.

  • Charlie Ray

    You left off what may be the greatest 1-actor, multiple character performance of all-time. Sam Rockwell in Moon.

    A recent film, and one that didn’t get a lot of attention — but a jaw-dropping performance!


    Three Faces Of Eve(1957)


    Errol Flynn in Cry Wolf(1947)

  • dementia13

    Naomi Watts in “Mulholland Dr.”

  • Chris

    I actually wanted to vote for Peter Sellers for his roles in LOLITA. But ill be glad to vote for Dr.Strangelove….

  • cleo

    I think the movie maybe called The Family Jewels with Jerry Lewis:He has to pick a father for a pretty little girl when her father dies. He plays the uncles its very funny, very good & well done.The Nutty proffesor Jerry Lewis.
    James Cagney Mid Summers Nights dream he turns into a Donkey it Wonderful. Tootsi,Coming to Amerca & Don Knotts as Mr. Limpet.

  • cleo

    I forgot to give a nod to the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz. Frank Morgan had many roles in oz and was excellent. Also the lion , tin man , scare crow & wicked witch played two parts & did a great job.

  • Antone

    Alec Guinness playing an entire family of serial murder victims in Kind Hearts and Coronets.