M. Emmet Walsh

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M. Emmet Walsh
M Emmet Walsh at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.jpg
Walsh at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival
Born Michael Emmet Walsh
(1935-03-22) March 22, 1935 (age 81)
Ogdensburg, New York, United States
Occupation Actor and Comedian
Years active 1969–present
Parent(s) Agnes Katharine (née Sullivan)
Harry Maurice Walsh, Sr.

Michael "M." Emmet Walsh (born March 22, 1935) is an American actor and comedian who has appeared in over 200 films and television series. He is arguably most known for his work in the Coen Brothers first film, Blood Simple. Walsh has also appeared in a number of other films including Carl Reiner's comedy The Jerk (1979), Ridley Scott's science fiction film Blade Runner (1982), and Brad Bird's animated film The Iron Giant (1999).

Early life[edit]

Walsh was born in Ogdensburg, New York, the son of Agnes Katharine (née Sullivan) and Harry Maurice Walsh, Sr., a customs agent.[1] He is of Irish descent.[2] He was raised in rural Swanton, Vermont,[3] and attended college at Clarkson University. He graduated in 1958 (B.A., Business Administration). In 1998, the Clarkson Alumni Association presented him with the Golden Knight Award.[4]


Walsh came to prominence in the 1978 crime film Straight Time, in which he played a parole officer. He also had a small but memorable role as a crazed sniper in the Steve Martin comedy The Jerk. One of his best-known roles was Bryant in Ridley Scott's cult film Blade Runner. His most acclaimed performance was arguably the double-crossing private detective in Blood Simple (1984), for which he won the 1986 Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead.

Walsh made occasional guest appearances on Home Improvement as Tim Taylor's father-in-law. In 1992, he appeared as a powerful U.S. Senator in David Winning's Killer Image. In Christmas with the Kranks, he played one of the Kranks' neighbors. He also appeared as Alex Lembeck, a motorcycle cop who appointed himself as Sandy Stockton's chaperone and protector on The Sandy Duncan Show in 1972. He appeared in an episode of the NBC drama series Gibbsville in 1976 and Little House on the Prairie in 1981.[5]

In comedy, Walsh played the cynical small town sportswriter Dickie Dunn in the iconic 1977 hockey film Slap Shot, and a college diving coach in the Rodney Dangerfield film Back to School. According to Roger Ebert's Stanton-Walsh Rule, "no movie featuring either Harry Dean Stanton or M. Emmet Walsh in a supporting role can be altogether bad". Ebert later conceded that this rule was broken by 1989's Dream a Little Dream (Stanton) and 1999's Wild Wild West (Walsh). Walsh appeared on an episode of "Frasier".



  1. ^ "M. Emmet Walsh Biography (1935-)". Filmreference.com. 
  2. ^ Jacobs, Alex (July 12, 2008). "Walsh marks 50-year reunion". Watertown Daily Times. 
  3. ^ Jacobs, Alex (2008-07-12). "Walsh marks 50-year reunion". WatertownDailyTimes.com. Retrieved 2009-03-27. 
  4. ^ "M.Emmet Walsh of Culver City, Calif. And Swanton, Vermont, Receives Clarkson University's Highest Alumni Honor". Clarkson University. 21 August 1998. Retrieved 9 August 2016. 
  5. ^ "Little House on the Prairie Season 8 Episode 8 Chicago". TV.com. Retrieved 29 July 2016. 

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