Emmy Award for Most Improved and Razzie forActor Who Got Worse

Jimmy Todd

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In the Big Four of Soapland there were many wonderful actors. However, mot all of them may have started that way. If if you ou could select an actor whose performances improved the most over his or her time on their show, who would it be?
On the flip side, and I feel a bit wicked for including this, to whom would you give a Razzle Award to for performances that went from awesome to basically just phoning it in?
 

Monzo

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In later seasons Patrick Duffy had to act more due to Pam's disappearance and April's death. I'm not sure if his acting improved or if it was always there and he never got a chance to show it in previous seasons.

Watching a soap character for a decade or longer made me tired of his/her acting I have to say. I was never a huge fan of William Devane's acting, but as Knots Landing got worse, the cast got smaller, and the remaining actors got more screen time, I got tired of him. I don't think he acted any worse, it's just the circumstances. William Devane is just an example. I felt that way with certain characters in each of the big four soaps.
 

Jimmy Todd

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In later seasons Patrick Duffy had to act more due to Pam's disappearance and April's death. I'm not sure if his acting improved or if it was always there and he never got a chance to show it in previous seasons.

Watching a soap character for a decade or longer made me tired of his/her acting I have to say. I was never a huge fan of William Devane's acting, but as Knots Landing got worse, the cast got smaller, and the remaining actors got more screen time, I got tired of him. I don't think he acted any worse, it's just the circumstances. William Devane is just an example. I felt that way with certain characters in each of the big four soaps.
I always like William Devane, but you make an interesting point. I heard someone make a comment on Jack Nicholson's acting, and I do believe he is a great actor, that there were later movies in which he was just "being Jack Nicholson." I wonder if some really talented actors can get to the point where they can skate through a role. They're top good to give a bad performance, but they're just not working as hard.
 

AndyB2008

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In later seasons Patrick Duffy had to act more due to Pam's disappearance and April's death. I'm not sure if his acting improved or if it was always there and he never got a chance to show it in previous seasons.

Watching a soap character for a decade or longer made me tired of his/her acting I have to say. I was never a huge fan of William Devane's acting, but as Knots Landing got worse, the cast got smaller, and the remaining actors got more screen time, I got tired of him. I don't think he acted any worse, it's just the circumstances. William Devane is just an example. I felt that way with certain characters in each of the big four soaps.
Ref William Devane, there was a spat he had with Gracie Films, Columbia Pictures Television and ABC ref getting equal or top billing in the opening credits for Phenom.

Hence him going uncredited for the whole run, although he was a main part of it.
 

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I always like William Devane, but you make an interesting point. I heard someone make a comment on Jack Nicholson's acting, and I do believe he is a great actor, that there were later movies in which he was just "being Jack Nicholson."
But in some cases like these, it's a chicken/egg situation because the casting agents and producers go into the process saying they want a certain actor (or a certain "type") because of their image. Maybe Jack Nicholson was there "playing Jack Nicholson" because that was what the producer wanted. Such typecasting can give a project built-in audience---people will show up at the theater just because they love Jack doing his thing. They might also show up if he was playing against type, but there would be a certain number of disappointed fans. If he gets paid regardless, why would he care? He's at a stage in his career when typecasting doesn't hurt his ability to get work.

In Devane's case, he does tend to take roles where he plays powerful, intelligent authority figures. Fans tend to expect that kind of performance from him, and he's always done well with them. If he were to take (for instance) a guest role in a sitcom where he played a dimwit, or a victim of elder abuse in a police procedural, it would be a departure from what we are accustomed to. It would still be very watchable, of course, but people would be surprised because a lot of producers don't even think to audition certain actors for roles that play against their usual work. I recall being rather amused when Donna Mills (glamorous, photogenic Donna Mills) took on the lead role in a stage production of Driving Miss Daisy wearing the white wig, wire-rim glasses and high-collared dress. She did a great job, the critics agreed, but all the buzz was about how "sex kitten" Donna Mills was playing a role made famous by Jessica Tandy.
 

James from London

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In later seasons Patrick Duffy had to act more due to Pam's disappearance and April's death. I'm not sure if his acting improved or if it was always there and he never got a chance to show it in previous seasons.
I'd say the latter. Drama is a collaborative medium - it's very hard to separate writing and acting, they're interdependent. An actor can only really be as good as the scripts they're given., Victoria Prinicipal was at her best on DALLAS when Pam was living away from Southfork because the story gave the character more space to hang out and interact naturally with her friends and family. (Her situation at the ranch was kind of artificial and so she seemed kind of artificial too. That's not even a criticism really, that artificiality is part of what made DALLAS DALLAS.)

Patrick Duffy was always good, but I don't think he was ever better than on New DALLAS where he got to be more than just the good brother or the knight in shining armour. He was the head of the family, with the weight of both the past and present lying heavily on his shoulders. I'd never seen him give such a multi-layered performance before, but he simply wasn't required to in the original series.
I wonder if some really talented actors can get to the point where they can skate through a role. They're top good to give a bad performance, but they're just not working as hard.
I think when actors are accused of "just playing themselves" that's almost the biggest compliment you can pay them. It means their acting is so authentic it doesn't even look like acting anymore. If there is strain and effort, you don't see it. That's why, famously, Oscars have often gone to actors playing someone with a disability - because all the Effort, all the Acting is up on the screen for you to see and applaud.
In Devane's case, he does tend to take roles where he plays powerful, intelligent authority figures.
Or those are the roles he gets cast in. He may not get considered for any other kind of part.
 
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Barbara Fan

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I always thought Pat D was a great actor on Dallas during its original run but in TNT Dallas especially when he was ill, he was so hammy it made me giggle and it reminded me of a hammy Jock clutching his chest during Bypass in S1.

PS I love William devane, never more so than in the Marathon Man x
 
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