Let’s be fair and say that you likely remember Mark Linn-Baker the best from Perfect Strangers as Cousin Larry and likely only because he and Bronson Pinchot worked so well together. Since that time he’s been acting steadily and is still listed as active though it doesn’t appear that he has anything pressing at the moment. The 65-year old actor has been around show business for a very long time now and has been underrated quite often despite his contributions but has appeared here and there throughout the years when least expected. In a way Mark is one of the many actors that might tend to disappear from the screen for a while only to come back and be instantly recognized since he’s been able to create some truly memorable characters in his career and has also been versatile enough to swing wide of the morality line when it comes to his characters as well. In other words he can play a bad guy or a good guy and make it just as believable despite looking like someone’s fun and affable uncle. There are those individuals that have that kind of charm even if a good number of people can’t always see it, and Mark has proven that he’s one of them.
If you look down the list of his accomplishments and roles you’ll see that it’s not quite as long as some but his career carries a lot of experience given that he’s been a part of many shows if only for a brief time and has lent his expertise to more than one project throughout his life. He hasn’t changed so drastically through the years that he can’t be recognized and he hasn’t really done much to tarnish the reputation that he started building so long ago, but trying to keep up with him along with everyone else in Hollywood usually results in Mark being left behind as many people won’t admit since like it he’s not quite as dynamic in his appearance or acting as many people, but he is solid and reliable and always there. In many ways he’s the kind of actor that you look to for support when he is around and to bolster a show or episode when he’s capable of doing so. As far as lead material it doesn’t feel as though he’s ever had the overall strength of character to take on this type of role without some help nearby but he has been able to offer experience and the know-how to get through a scene or episode in the most direct and efficient manner.
On a personal note one of the last times I recall seeing him was on Law & Order: Criminal Intent with Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe, playing the part of an accountant with obvious Asperger’s Syndrome. He did a bang-up job that time and didn’t appear to have lost a step throughout the years. He’s showed up in various other programs as well throughout his career and in movies but always it tends to happen that he’s been part of projects that don’t get a lot of attention or belong to a very specialized niche of fans that might recognize or not depending on their pop culture background. Perfect Strangers was a great show for its time since it was like a modern-day Odd Couple without the glaring differences in personal hygiene and cleanliness to focus on since Larry and Balki were distant cousins and weren’t separated so much by their need to keep their space clean as they were by geographical differences based on where they’d grown up. The show fan from 1986 to 1993, spanning a pretty good distance and finally petering out when it had reached its limit of usefulness. For those seven years though it was a big part of Mark’s life and a big part of why he was so famous. Thankfully he had enough of a career going into the show and was able to keep moving forward after it was done, but it’s a wonder if things have ever been quite the same and if he thinks of the show from time to time just for the sake of nostalgia.
From a working standpoint it would almost feel that Mark is bound to be the type of individual that will keep working until he has nothing else he feels he can do or until he’s no longer physically able to do the job since being remembered by some but only for a few certain roles is enough to think that he might stick behind the scenes at one point or another and not make any further appearances. Who knows though, he could be enjoying life and that $2 million net worth thoroughly at this point. Whatever happens it’s enough to know that he’s still around and still doing what he’s passionate about.
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