Wrinkled Genius: the 5 Funniest Old Man Actors

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“You know, that hilarious old guy, from that one thing?” Odds are, if you’ve ever said those words you were talking about one of the men on this list. Just to be clear, we aren’t talking about famous actors who continue to be funny in old age. We’re talking about guys you know only as “that hilarious old guy.” They may have had success when they were young, but they hit their prime in old age.
These are the top five funniest old man actors.

5 William Hickey

You’ve seen William Hickey play the old guy in everything, and he was seemingly old forever. He was in “My Blue Heaven,” “The Adventures of Pete & Pete,” and played the ancient mafia don in “Prizzi’s Honor,” but you’ll no doubt remember him best for his role as Uncle Lewis in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Raspy-voiced and frustrated with his wife’s senility, Uncle Lewis is constantly berating Aunt Bethany, at least when he’s not yelling at Clarke to get his “stogey.” He eventually burns down the Griswold’s prized Christmas tree in one of the film’s most memorable scenes, then misses another one entirely as he sleeps through the squirrel fiasco.

4 Edmund Lyndeck

This guy is obscure, but you know him, and you love him. Edmund Lyndeck is a former professor and primarily a stage actor, but we’re thankful every time he shows up on the big screen. You’ll remember him as Jack Manilow, Tom Green’s grandfather in “Road Trip” who walks around in his pajama pants sporting a massive erection, and smokes weed with his dog. He also killed it in “Big Daddy” as Mr. Herlihy, the local drunk who continually prods Adam Sandler into fighting him; even while on the witness stand at a custody trial, he professes that Sandler “Fights like a girl.”

3 Jerry Van Dyke

The younger brother of Dick Van Dyke, Jerry spent most of his career playing second fiddle in his brother’s comedic shadow. In his later years, though, Jerry has proved to be absolutely hilarious in everything he’s in. He’s probably most well known for his role as Luther Van Damme, the dim Assistant Coach to Craig T. Nelson in the ‘90s sitcom “Coach.” But if you want to see him at his comedic best, check out the clips of him as Big Jimmy, father to Mike O’Malley on CBS’s early 2000s comedy, “Yes, Dear.” Every word that comes out of Big Jimmy’s mouth is comedy gold.

2 Burgess Meredith

Everybody knows Burgess Meredith. You may not recognize his name, but you know exactly who he is. Most of you will remember him as the crotchety old boxing trainer, Mickey, in the “Rocky” films. Mickey was a particularly great character because his primary method of motivating was to continually tell Rocky how futile it all was; “It’s ova’ Rock!” But if you want to see Burgess at his funniest, watch the “Grumpy Old Men” movies. Burgess plays the beer swilling, cigarette smoking, bacon eating, unfathomably raunchy pervert, Grandpa Gustafson, and steals every single scene he’s in.

1 Jerry Stiller

Known mostly as Frank Costanza, George’s perpetually screaming father on “Seinfeld,” Jerry Stiller played an integral part in many of the most memorable storylines in the show’s history, including: co-inventing the first ever bra for men, falling ass-first onto fusilli Jerry, and of course, founding Festivus, “A holiday, for the rest of us.” After “Seinfeld” wrapped, Stiller enjoyed another long TV run as Arthur, Kevin James’ live-in father-in-law in “King of Queens.” And while he’s stuck mostly with TV, he’s done some movies here and there, including a hilarious turn as Maury Ballstein, manager and owner of “Balls Models” in “Zoolander.”

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