I was raised a movie buff.
Both my mom and dad loved movies and loved to know the names of actors and spot and follow them from film to film. I have picked up the same tendency and love of the sport. But even a movie buff can be stumped by a character actor who appears in so many roles and is so good in them, that you forget the name of the actor (if you ever knew it in the first place).
Whenever one of these actors would pop up in an old black and white film my parents were watching, they would say, “Look, it’s Gooseberry!” Gooseberry was their name for four or five actors who were similar in looks and manner and roles, but whose real names eluded them. I have since confirmed that one of their Gooseberries was Donald Meek – he looks like a Gooseberry, doesn’t he?, but I’m no longer sure who the others were.
The other night as some friends and I were watching Emma Thompson’s Sense and Sensibility, we had a Gooseberry moment. We all recognized a supporting actor in the piece and could name various other programs or movies that he had been in that we had seen, but no one had a clue as to his name.
After checking out the cast on IMDb, I think the actor we were talking about was Robert Hardy. He looks familiar, doesn’t he? When you read his extensive list of roles you will recognize him from many films (Fudge in the Harry Potter films, Frankenstein, etc.) and televison series (Agatha Christie Marple: The Sittaford Mystery, Foyle’s War,Shackleton, Midsomer Murders, etc.), but excuse me if I continue to refer to him as Gooseberry.