Who is That Actor: Ricky Jay
One of the reasons I love doing the, “Who is That Actor?” series is because of all the cool things I learn about the character actors I profile. Without the series, I wouldn’t have discovered that Julian McMahon was the son of former Australian prime minister or sometimes there’s a three way fight between Miguel Ferrer, Debby Boone and George Clooney for who gets to bring potato salad to the family reunion picnic.
It was a real treat to discover prolific character actor Ricky Jay is also a well-known and accomplished magician in addition to being a regular performer in the films of PT Anderson. It was Boogie Nights where I first noticed Ricky Jay as the persnickety porno cinematographer saddled with the ridiculously porntastic character name – Longjohn. Anyhoo, Jay made appearances on The X-files and a several other places – was everyone in Mamet’s Homicide (1991 film) or does it just seem that way – but my favorite role of his was in the 2001 Mamet film Heist, where Jay plays one of Hackman’s road dawgs.
One unifying element of many of Jay’s performances is the undercurrent of trickster behavior that reminds me of Orson Welles. Though it seems, based on my limited research that Jay’s probably a better charlatan than Welles, though Welles has glossier beards. Being all that as it may (or may not) be, I cannot stop watching the many clips of Jay’s magic thang!
Ricky’s amazing card trick:
Ricky Jay on Arsenio in 1988:
Ricky Jay throws some cards:
And my absolute FAVE: