Monday, December 14, 2009

Movies: A Salute to Ernie Hudson

If there was ever an award for "paying your dues" in Hollywood, Ernie Hudson would win it. He went out and got the education, including an MFA from Yale University. He struggled and scrapped through live theatre and numerous bit parts on TV. Even his first big break, "Ghostbusters," was bittersweet, as he saw his character's screentime cut in half (Winston Zeddemore was originally going to be played by Eddie Murphy, a much bigger box office draw). The original Ghostbusters trailer didn't even include Hudson when it listed the cast members at the end:

(Here's a fan video rectifying this slight by scrapping together every line of dialogue Hudson has in the movie):

Even after the blockbuster success of "Ghostbusters," Hudson still found himself playing character roles in B-movies (like "Leviathan," a 1989 corker starring Peter Weller). I mean, I guess it'd be easy to be bitter if you were reduced to parodying yourself on the "Super Mario Brothers Super Show":

Through it all, though, Hudson has remained cheerful and works as an actor to this day, with successful roles in big TV hits like "Oz" and "Desperate Housewives." He's gained a fairly big following in the geek crowd, both because of his pleasant interactions with fans at conventions and his penchant for picking memorable roles in cult movies, like his scenery-chewing turn in "Congo":

Thanks, Ernie Hudson. And I hope Winston makes it into "Ghostbusters III."


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