Last month I bought Quinlan's Illustrated Directory of Film Character Actors at a used bookstore up in Oslo. It has proved a delight, inspiring this drawing. I won't mention who these guys are--I hope film buffs (especially B movie lovers) will recognize some of their mugs. I will hint that two are in the land of the living, both 74 years old now.
Quinlan's has a British style of clinical mercilessness, which makes for an entertaining read. He has a knack for hyphenated adjectives, honing in subtly on particular qualities that a said actor displays in his specific roles. "fair-haired, blue-eyed actor...with carved lips, Frankenstein Eyebrows..."; or "Tall, spare, permanently-wizened, beak-nosed, small-eyed, bald, parrot-like..."
Though arranged alphabetically, the book is designed for thumbing through, with good photos of thousands of actors. It's a different mentality than we seem to have landed in recently, what with the IMDB, which requires that one knows the name of the actor first off, before researching. I do love web surfing, but it's also nice to have good reference books like this on hand. The book seems to be out of print, another internet casualty.