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- Created 2012-02-26
supporting acting role
with at least one line of dialogue (a supporting role with no dialogue is called a
television, bit parts are referred to as
(fewer than six spoken lines). An actor who regularly performs in bit roles, either as a
or to earn a living, is referred to as a
, a term also used to describe an aspiring actor who has not yet broken into major supporting or leading roles.
, who do not speak any lines at all, actors in bit parts are typically listed in the
. An exception to this practice is the
, wherein a well-known actor (or other celebrity) appears in a bit part; it is common for such appearances to be uncredited. Another exception occurred in
's 1951 screen version of the famed musical
, in which the role of the cook Queenie (Frances E. Williams) has been reduced from a significant supporting role in the stage version to literally a bit part in the film. Ms. Williams, whose appearance was not intended as a
, was not listed at all in the credits. On the other hand,
, whose role as Joe, Queenie's husband, was also drastically shortened in the film from the stage original, did receive screen credit because he sang
Ol' Man River
Bit parts are often significant in the story line, sometimes pivotal, as in
's role as a postal worker in the 1947
Miracle on 34th Street
. Some characters with bit parts become well remembered. A good example is
, with very few lines in
The Empire Strikes Back
and none (except a scream) in
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
famously remarked that "there are no small parts, only small actors".
, a famous bit actor, once said, "Every character actor, in their own little sphere, is the lead. "
from Wikipedia (last updated: 20 May), licensed under
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