If anyone remembers Bill Fagerbakke, and it’s a hope that they do because he’s been a great actor for much of his career, it’s likely that they’ll recall him from the show Coach in which he played the character of Dauber, a big, dumb jock that was actually one of the best characters on the show. The unfortunate part of Fagerbakke’s look is that he does kind of appear to be the typical big, dumb jock that a lot of people would characterize him as. The truth of it is that while he did play high school and college football he also has a BFA from the University of Idaho and a Master’s degree from Southern Methodist University. Some folks might want to say that degrees don’t make people smart, and that’s true, they don’t. Degrees are pieces of paper stating that a person has passed the required courses and done the work that was necessary for an institution to proclaim them as being intelligent when in truth, there are a lot of dumb folks out there with degrees that cost a lot of money but aren’t wise enough to learn how to use those degrees to their advantage. A degree isn’t a guarantee of intelligence after all, and looks can be entirely deceiving since some folks have judged others based on what they look like and how that translates in their mind. Personally, I’ve been thought to be a dullard simply for being tall and looking like I play football, kind of like Bill, but the truth is that I have a couple of degrees that came from hard work and a great deal of self-sacrifice in the pursuit of both knowledge and wisdom, much like Bill as well. But to say that he’s made a good living from playing dim characters is kind of obvious.
Another good example apart from Dauber is the character of Tom Cullen from The Stand miniseries in which he played opposite of Rob Lowe, who played the character of Nick Andros. In the miniseries, Bill played a true dullard since Tom Cullen wasn’t that bright considering that pretty much everything boiled down to being spelled M-O-O-N. And yet when one thinks about it, Tom became one of the most important characters in the story since he not only became a spy within Flagg’s camp in Las Vegas, but he was the individual that saved Stu Redman’s life near the end of the story. It’s true, his character did have a lot of help in doing pretty much anything, but he was also the type of character that was easy to see as a protagonist since the character didn’t have it in him to be anything but a decent person since he had the mind of a child more or less. The fact that Bill played this part so well was amazing since a lot of folks don’t look at a big guy and figure that he’s going to do much more than be the big bully or the big guy that just can’t function on his own without others. Tom wasn’t completely useless, but he definitely wasn’t smart, and Bill played it off perfectly in that manner since he created a very memorable character.
He even plays the voice of Patrick in Spongebob Squarepants, which is proof that he can’t really appear to get away from the dullard roles since Patrick isn’t exactly the brightest bulb in the box. It sounds as though Bill has never had a big problem with this in the past since he’s played his parts and the understanding has always been that he’s a smart guy, but it does sound as though he enjoys playing roles in which he gets to play an intelligent person as well. Very few actors would choose to be the same type of character throughout their entire career, and it does feel as though Bill would like to show people that he can play smart characters more often, but he’s certainly not complaining about the career he’s earned playing characters that are a little bit, well, soft in the head. The upside is that there are a lot of people that remember him fondly for roles such has Dauber and Tom Cullen since they weren’t characters to be pitied so much as they were characters to enjoy since Bill played them off so well that they became fond memories and integral parts of the story that couldn’t be left out without ruining the said story. Just imagine Coach without Dauber being there. Craig T. Nelson and Jerry Van Dyke were definitely funny individuals, but Bill added another element to the group that was hard if not impossible to do without. And Tom Cullen, well, he might have been easier to take out, but he was still a character that was valued after his initial entrance.
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