Top Ten TV
Top Ten TV

11 Actors You May Have Forgotten Were in Band of Brothers

Top Ten TV
Top Ten TV

HBO has an archive of award-winning material, but perhaps the crown jewel in the cable channel's mini-series program is Band of Brothers, a ten-episode special presentation that brought World War II to startling on-screen life in 2001.

Chronicling the real-life experiences of the Easy Company of the U.S. Army 101st Airborne, Brothers dove deep inside some of the most essential parts of the war, from D-Day to Market Garden to the taking of Hitler’s private holiday residence. The remarkable stories told within it were only bolstered by a massive cast of new and emerging talent. Much of Band of Brothers was filmed in the UK, resulting in the casting of a bevy of up-and-coming British actors as some of America’s finest soldiers (alongside plenty of American talent, too), and also guaranteeing that you’ve probably forgotten many of the men who made the series so great.

1. Michael Fassbender

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Though born in Germany, Michael Fassbender was raised in Ireland and got many of his big breaks in London—like his role as Sgt. Burton “Pat” Christenson in Band of Brothers. Don’t remember seeing Fassbender in the series? We can’t blame you—still an apple-cheeked newbie (the series is only his second on-screen credit), Fassbender may be present in seven episodes, but he really only stands out in two of them.

In the series’ opener, “Currahee,” Fassbender’s Christenson is just one of many whipping boys targeted by the nefarious Captain Sobel, and he’s punished for drinking from his canteen during a hilltop run with, yes, still more running. Fassbender most frequently appears in background shots for much of the series, including a memorable sequence in the wrenching “Why We Fight,” when he stands by while his unit attempts to make sense of the concentration camp they just discovered.

2. Tom Hardy

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While Tom Hardy doesn’t appear in as many episodes as Fassbender (his Pvt. John Janovec is a replacement who shows up in the final two entries in the series), he certainly shows off more than his compatriot. While Fassbender and Hardy are both known for their physical (and actually naked) roles in big films these days, it’s Hardy who leaps off the screen sans skivvies in Band of Brothers.

The first time we meet his Janovec, he’s engaging in a little R&R with a local lass, and the pair are forced to stop their amorous activities when a higher-ranking officer busts in. It was a memorable start to the actor’s career: Band of Brothers is Hardy’s first on-screen credit. He followed the series with a role in Black Hawk Down, and all that military movie training seems to have foreshadowed some of his bigger roles—like the rebel-leading baddie Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.

3. James McAvoy

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That’s right: Both Magneto and Professor X appear in Band of Brothers. Unlike Michael Fassbender, however, James McAvoy didn’t get to stick around for seven episodes; he only shows up in one.

The remarkable thing about Band of Brothers is that it manages to cover so many key events in the war while still sticking with just one company. Easy Company really was on the ground for the many events the series portrays, and when McAvoy appears as fresh-faced Pvt. James W. Miller in an episode titled “Replacements,” it’s part of a real sea change in the series. “Replacements” takes place after the events of D-Day, when Easy Company is in need of, you guessed it, replacements to fill the roles of the recently lost. McAvoy's character is roughed up a bit by the veterans who balk at the zippy attitudes of the new dudes, attitudes that won’t serve them well in their next big operation—Market Garden. You can probably guess that McAvoy’s Miller doesn’t make it out alive, but the Scottish actor manages to leave a lasting mark with his small role (only the seventh on his very long resume).

4. Ron Livingston

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Just two years after Office Space, Ron Livingston appeared as the wry, whisky-swilling Capt. Lewis Nixon in every single episode of Band of Brothers. Mainly assigned to intelligence-aimed operations, Nixon doesn’t ever see combat in the series—and that’s a good thing, because Livingston’s mix of humor (no other actor turns in as many amusing and on-point facial expressions as Livingston does in this series) and drama (Nixon goes through war with the black cloud of an impending divorce and an alcohol addiction hanging over him) proves essential to the series. Even when Nixon’s personal life is going down the tubes (during, you know, a world war), Livingston’s presence is always a welcome one. His bond with our next entry is also one of the most realistic-feeling and ultimately touching elements of the entire miniseries, too, and that’s something worth remembering.

5. Damian Lewis

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Like Ron Livingston, Damian Lewis is one of the main actors in Band of Brothers. Though he might be more famous for his role in Homeland, the actor does very solid, very moving work in Band of Brothers.

As the eventual Maj. Richard D. Winters (Lewis’s character rises through the ranks throughout the series, and in a big way), the actor was tasked with playing arguably the most beloved character in the series—or, at least, the one most beloved by his men. A leader in the best and truest sense of the word, Winters consistently serves both his men and his rank, and he’s paid back in sparkling loyalty and admiration. Lewis is wonderful in the role, bringing the right amount of gravitas and bewilderment to a man who clearly deserved all the praise he received. Rooting him in reality is his bond with Livingston’s Nixon—the pair signed up for the 101st together, and their journey through the war is an unsentimental look at the power and value of friendship.

Like many of the other stars of the miniseries, Lewis is also British, and the series was one of his first big parts. He’d previously popped up for one-off roles in a few television shows and even had a big arc on the series Hearts and Bones, but Band of Brothers was his real breakthrough, and he delivered on that with a bullet.

6. David Schwimmer

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Despite its title, Band of Brothers isn’t just about a whole company of men who loved each other like kin—there are more than a few bad apples in the bunch. None, however, compare to David Schwimmer’s Captain Sobel, a villain for the ages (and a strangely understandable one, at that).

Smack in the middle of his work on Friends, Schwimmer took on the decidedly un-Ross Geller role of Sobel. As the main focus of the series’ first episode, Schwimmer’s Sobel is a hard-nosed, unrelenting, and often just plain enraging leader who works the men of Easy Company to the bone during their training exercises back in America. Sobel is never nice, never kind, and never fair (he even tussles with Winters, of all people!), and he’s rewarded for that by a series of staggering demotions and a company that hates him. That’s right, the seemingly perfect Sobel may know how to train, but once he hits the battlefield, he’s an utter disaster who is unable to even properly read a map.

7. Simon Pegg

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Well, we said Band of Brothers was outfitted with a metric ton of British actors, and who gets more British than funnyman Simon Pegg? As 1st Sgt. William Evans, Pegg appears in the first pair of episodes, mainly as Sobel’s near-silent right-hand man. He does get off one memorable line, though it only stands out because Pegg’s American accent is so well done that it might make viewers wonder if that really is the actor (it is!).

8. Jimmy Fallon

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Another funnyman filled a small but recognizable role in the series: Jimmy Fallon literally drives in and out of one sequence as 2nd Lt. George C. Rice. As the 101st prepares to enter the icy forests of Bastogne (where the Battle of the Bulge will eventually take place) in the miniseries’ fifth episode, “Crossroads,” it begins to slowly dawn on them that they are woefully unprepared for what’s before them.

As the men begin to beg, barter, and all but steal supplies from outgoing troops (from winter apparel to artillery), a single officer zips his way toward them in an Army jeep. It’s Fallon! Or, well, Rice! And he’s got supplies to share! It would, of course, be a funny appearance, if not for the fact that their creeping realization that even Rice’s contributions won’t be enough to get them through a wrenching winter ends up being upsettingly true.

9. Colin Hanks

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Band of Brothers was produced by Tom Hanks, who also helped pen the episode “Currahee” and eventually directed “Crossroads,” so it’s not totally surprising that his son would show up in a role. Colin Hanks appears in just two episodes—tough ones, too—as 2nd Lt. Henry Jones, a recent West Point grad who joins Easy Company with an officer commission and zero experience. It’s unfortunate that Jones comes on board when he does, as his lack of battlefield know-how doesn’t endear him to the company, to the point that he feels the need to volunteer for a poorly-conceived mission in order to impress them.

The part was one of Hanks’ first big roles, though he had already started his run on TV’s Roswell a couple of years before, and his solid performance easily erases any possible cries of nepotism.

10. Dominic Cooper

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Despite the remarkable listing of talent in Band of Brothers, only one of our entries seems impossible to find within the actual series—Dominic Cooper, who apparently appears as someone named “Allington” in the show’s first episode. That episode, “Currahee,” does serve as a flashback entry, one that depicts the training of the 101st back in America, so it seems that Cooper was tasked with playing one of many troops that populate some of the more sweeping scenes. Perhaps he was even there when Fassbender made his big debut! In any case, Band of Brothers marks only Cooper’s fifth on-screen credit.

11. Donnie Wahlberg

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Like Lewis and Livingston, Wahlberg was a mainstay of Band of Brothers. As Sgt. C. Carwood Lipton, Wahlberg appears in all 10 episodes. Like his character, he was reliable, consistent, and strong—the men may adore Winters, but they also appreciate Lipton.

Though Wahlberg was already well on his way to a respected acting career by the time he signed up for the series—The Sixth Sense, in which he has a pivotal role, hit screens in 1999—Band of Brothers added some guns and gravitas to his resume. He went on to a bevy of television work, big film franchises (Saw!), and an eventual return to the New Kids on the Block.

Primary image courtesy of Top Ten TV.

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Shout! Factory
10 Surprising Facts About Mr. Mom
Shout! Factory
Shout! Factory

John Hughes penned the script for 1983's Mr. Mom, a comedy about a family man named Jack Butler (Micheal Keaton) who loses his job. To ensure their three kids are taken care of, his wife, Caroline (Teri Garr), goes back to work—leaving Jack to fight off a vacuum cleaner and learn why it's never a good idea to feed chili to a baby.

In 1982, Keaton turned in a star-making role in Ron Howard’s Night Shift, but Mr. Mom marked the first time he headlined a movie, and it launched his career. Hughes had written National Lampoon's Vacation, which—oddly enough—was released in theaters the weekend after Mr. Mom. But Hughes himself was still a relative unknown, as it would be another year before he entered the teen flick phase of his career, which would make him iconic.

In the meantime, Mr. Mom hit home for a lot of viewers, as the economy was on the downturn and more and more women were entering (or reentering) the workforce. But some people think that the movie's ending—which sees the couple revert to traditional gender roles—sidelined the movie's message. Still, on the 35th anniversary of its release, Mr. Mom remains an ahead-of-its-time comedy classic.

1. IT'S BASED ON A TRUE STORY.

Mr. Mom producer Lauren Shuler Donner came across a funny article John Hughes had written for National Lampoon. Based on that, she contacted him and the two became friends. “One day, he was telling me that his wife had gone down to Arizona and he was in charge of the two boys and he didn’t know what he was doing,” Donner told IGN. “It was hilarious! I was on the floor laughing. He said, ‘Do you think this would make a good movie?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, this is really funny.’ So he said, ‘Well, I have about 80 pages in a drawer. Would you look at it?’ So I looked at it and I said, ‘This is great! Let’s do it!’ We kind of developed it ourselves.” In the book Movie Moguls Speak, Donner mentioned how Hughes “had never been to a grocery store, he had never operated a vacuum cleaner. John was so ignorant, that in his ignorance, he was hilarious.”

The players involved with the movie told Donner and Hughes they thought it should be a TV movie. Hughes had a TV deal with Aaron Spelling, who came aboard to executive produce. “Then the players involved were upset because John was writing out of Chicago instead of L.A.,” Donner said in Movie Moguls Speak. “They fired John and brought in a group of TV writers. In the end, John and I were muscled out. It was a good movie, but if you ever read John’s original script for Mr. Mom, it’s far better.”

2. JOHN HUGHES REJECTED THE IDEA OF DIRECTING MR. MOM.

Stan Dragoti ended up directing the film, but only after Hughes turned it down, because he preferred to make his movies in Chicago, not Hollywood. “I don’t like being around the people in the movie business,” Hughes told Roger Ebert. “In Hollywood, you spend all of your time having lunch and making deals. Everybody is trying to shoot you down. I like to get my actors out here where we can make our movies in privacy.” Hughes remained in Chicago and filmed his directorial debut, Sixteen Candles, there.

3. MICHAEL KEATON GOT THE ROLE BECAUSE OF NIGHT SHIFT.

In 1982’s Night Shift, Keaton’s character works at a morgue and starts a prostitution ring with co-worker Henry Winkler. Donner had an agent friend, Laurie Perlman, who represented the not-yet-famous actor. She contacted Donner and pitched Keaton to her. “’Look, I represent this guy who is really funny. Would you meet with him?’" Donner recalled of the conversation. "So I met with him. Usually I don’t like to do this unless we’re casting, but I met with him because she was my friend. And then she said, ‘You have to see this movie Night Shift that he’s in.’ So I went to see Night Shift, and midway through I couldn’t wait to get out of that theater to give Mr. Mom to Michael Keaton. Fortunately, he liked it."

Keaton told Grantland that he turned down one of the main roles in Splash to play Jack Butler. “I just remember at the time thinking I wanted to get away from what I’d just done on Night Shift,” he said. “I thought if I do it again, I might get myself stuck. So then Mr. Mom came along. So I said no [to Splash] so I could set up this framework right away where I could do different things.”

4. THE FILM BROKE NEW GROUND.

Teri Garr, Michael Keaton, Taliesin Jaffe, Frederick Koehler, and Martin Mull in Mr. Mom (1983)
Shout! Factory

In 1983, more women stayed at home than worked, so it was a novelty for a man to be a stay-at-home dad. Today, an estimated 1.4 million men are stay-at-home dads, and 7 million men are their children's primary caregiver. “Mr. Mom became part of the vernacular,” Donner told Newsweek. “Mr. Mom represented a segment of men who were at home dealing with the kids who, up until then, really hadn’t been heard from. That’s what really told me about the power of film, because it spoke for a lot of men. It also helped women, because I think that women sometimes, if you’re a housewife, you’re not really appreciated for what you do. This sort of made women feel better about what they did because they knew that men were understanding it.”

5. TODAY, “MR. MOM” IS CONSIDERED A PEJORATIVE TERM.

More than 30 years after the film’s release, stay-at-home dads feel the term “Mr. Mom” should die. The National At-Home Dad Network launched a campaign to terminate the phrase and instead have people refer to men as “Dad.” In 2014 Lake Superior State University voted to banish “Mr. Mom” from the lexicon.

“At least, the pop-culture image of the inept dad who wouldn’t know a diaper genie from a garbage disposal has begun to fade,” wrote The Wall Street Journal, after declaring “Mr. Mom is dead.”

6. TERI GARR DIDN’T KNOW IT WAS A MESSAGE MOVIE.

The movie redefined gender roles, but when the producers pitched the premise to Garr, they hid the plot reversal. “They just told me it was about a guy who does the work that a woman does, because it’s so easy,” she told The A.V. Club. “And I went, ‘Oh, yeah. Ha ha.’ It’s so easy. All the women I know who stay home and take care of their kids, they go, ‘Oh yeah, this is easy.’ Hmm.”

7. MARTIN MULL IMPROVISED THE “220, 221” LINE.

The quote everyone remembers from the movie comes from Jack, holding a chainsaw, standing next to Ron Richardson (Martin Mull) and discussing what kind of wiring Jack will use in renovating the house: “220, 221, whatever it takes,” Jack says.

“We’re doing the scene and it was okay,” Keaton told Esquire. “And I remember saying to the prop guy, ‘Go find me a chainsaw.’ When he comes back with it, he says, ‘You wanna wear these?’ And he holds up some goggles. I go, ‘Yeah.’ You know, they make me look crazy. And when Martin shows up, I know I should look under control, I’m not sweating it. I’m a dude. So we’re standing there, Martin pulls me aside and says, ‘You know what you ought to say? When I ask about the wiring, you oughta just deadpan: ‘220, 221.’ I died. It was perfect. I may have added ‘whatever it takes.’ But it was his.”

“That was a little ad-lib that we just threw in, but every carpenter or construction person I’ve ever worked with, they’re always quoting that line from Mr. Mom,” Mull told The A.V. Club.

8. MR. MOM OUTGROSSED HUGHES’S OTHER 1983 SUMMER MOVIE—VACATION.

Mr. Mom only opened on 126 screens on July 22, 1983, but managed to gross $947,197 during its opening weekend. Once the film went wide a month later to 1235 screens, it hit number one at the box office and spent five weeks at the top. By the end of its run, the film had grossed just shy of $65 million, making it the ninth highest-grossing film of 1983 (just between Staying Alive and Risky Business). National Lampoon’s Vacation, Hughes’s other film that summer, came out July 29 and ended its theatrical run with $61,399,552 (at its height, it showed on 1248 screens). Vacation finished the year in 11th place.

9. THE MOVIE LED TO HUGHES BEING CALLED “A PURVEYOR OF HORNY SEX COMEDIES.”

During a 1986 interview with Seventeen magazine, Molly Ringwald asked the writer-director why he never showed teen sex in Sixteen Candles or The Breakfast Club. “In Sixteen Candles, I figured it would only be gratuitous to show Samantha and Jake in anything more than a kiss,” he said. “The kiss is the most beautiful moment. I was really amused when someone once called me a ‘purveyor of horny sex comedies.’ He listed The Breakfast Club and Mr. Mom in parentheses. I thought, ‘What kind of sex?’ Yes, in Mr. Mom there’s a baby in a bathtub and you see its bare butt.”

10. MR. MOM WAS MADE INTO A TV MOVIE AFTER ALL.

In the beginning, producers wanted Mr. Mom to be a TV movie, not a feature film. But a year after the film came out in theaters, ABC produced a TV movie called Mr. Mom, with the same characters and premise. Barry Van Dyke played Jack and Rebecca York played Caroline. A People magazine review of the movie stated: “They and their three kids are immediately likable … But it goes downhill from there as the script lobotomizes all its characters. Here’s a textbook case in how TV takes a cute idea—and a script that does have some good lines—and leeches the wit out of it.”

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Ernest Hemingway’s Guide to Life, In 20 Quotes
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Central Press/Getty Images

Though he made his living as a writer, Ernest Hemingway was just as famous for his lust for adventure. Whether he was running with the bulls in Pamplona, fishing for marlin in Bimini, throwing back rum cocktails in Havana, or hanging out with his six-toed cats in Key West, the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author never did anything halfway. And he used his adventures as fodder for the unparalleled collection of novels, short stories, and nonfiction books he left behind, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, Death in the Afternoon, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea among them.

On what would be his 119th birthday—he was born in Oak Park, Illinois on July 21, 1899—here are 20 memorable quotes that offer a keen perspective into Hemingway’s way of life.

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF LISTENING

"I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen."

ON TRUST

"The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them."

ON DECIDING WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT

"I never had to choose a subject—my subject rather chose me."

ON TRAVEL

"Never go on trips with anyone you do not love."


Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. [1], Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INTELLIGENCE AND HAPPINESS

"Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know."

ON TRUTH

"There's no one thing that is true. They're all true."

ON THE DOWNSIDE OF PEOPLE

"The only thing that could spoil a day was people. People were always the limiters of happiness, except for the very few that were as good as spring itself."

ON SUFFERING FOR YOUR ART

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."

ON TAKING ACTION

"Never mistake motion for action."

ON GETTING WORDS OUT

"I wake up in the morning and my mind starts making sentences, and I have to get rid of them fast—talk them or write them down."


Photograph by Mary Hemingway, in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston., Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON THE BENEFITS OF SLEEP

"I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?"

ON FINDING STRENGTH 

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places."

ON THE TRUE NATURE OF WICKEDNESS

"All things truly wicked start from innocence."

ON WRITING WHAT YOU KNOW

"If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water."

ON THE DEFINITION OF COURAGE

"Courage is grace under pressure."

ON THE PAINFULNESS OF BEING FUNNY

"A man's got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book."


By Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. - JFK Library, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON KEEPING PROMISES

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."

ON GOOD VS. EVIL

"About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after."

ON REACHING FOR THE UNATTAINABLE

"For a true writer, each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed."

ON HAPPY ENDINGS

"There is no lonelier man in death, except the suicide, than that man who has lived many years with a good wife and then outlived her. If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it."

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