Richard Masur is well into his 70s now but like many others in show business he’s still doing his thing and he’s still remembered by a lot of people when the mention of him comes up since the guy has been in a large number of movies and has popped up over the years now and then in a lot of different ways. He’s usually been one of those guys that can play a very creepy or kind of gentle and almost simple kind of characters that aren’t dumb by any means but also can’t be said to be the strongest of men. In a lot of ways, Richard has usually played a role that affords him the chance to appear authoritative or has shown him to be kind of a pushover, someone that’s easy to manipulate and otherwise control. But considering that he makes people believe in his character it’s a mark of his ability to act that has been one of the greatest parts of his career for so long. It does feel as though he’s one of those that have dropped off the map every now and then since despite being around quite often he has kind of faded into the background over the years and made it clear that he’s not the big deal any longer. In fact, one could say that back in his prime he still wasn’t the big deal a lot of the time, but was there when he was needed and has been completely reliable, which makes him better than the big deal sometimes, as it makes him dependable.
He’s been in so many movies that it’s kind of hard to just pick one and go with so I’ll pick a few to mention. One movie that’s always fun to talk about is The Thing, in which Masur plays Clark, a dog keeper in the American research station where the action takes place. Clark isn’t exactly a huge presence in the movie, but he does get his time in and he is killed before he can assimilate. The story is one that a lot of people enjoy since the initial action starts when a Norwegian research team is seen firing upon a sled dog that’s making its way towards the American station, even dropping bombs from the helicopter they’re using to try and take the thing out. Obviously, the American team doesn’t know what’s going on and ends up killing the shooter before going to check out the Norwegian camp, which is completely decimated. Clark doesn’t really take on a lot of importance until the shapeshifting creature reveals itself, kills several of the sled dogs, and starts trying to assimilate everyone. He’s actually one of the only deaths that occur without assimilation being part of the process since he tries to kill MacReady, who’s already on pins and needles at that point along with everyone else.
License to Drive is another fun movie to mention since it’s something that a lot of us might relate to in one way or another since that magical time when a person gets their license, or fails the test, and wants to go out and drive right away is often derailed in a very big way for one reason or another. But Mr. Anderson, the father character in this movie, is the kind of guy that will laugh and joke and make it appear that he’s in no way trying to be the uncool dad, but his words are usually meant to be taken seriously even if he’s smiling. This is actually one of those movies that a lot of people might say couldn’t be made today because of this or that, but one thing is clear and that this kind of talk is easy to brush off since this movie is still one of the classics and definitely one of the better movies made by the two Corey’s.
You couldn’t possibly think I would forget one of the most noted performances that Masur put on, even though it was brief and didn’t feature him that much. Stan Uris was still one of his more noteworthy parts both because he was part of a Stephen King story and because his absence as an adult when Mike called everyone back to Derry was a definite low point that made things that much harder. Let’s put it this way, Stanley in the 1990 miniseries was a bit of a weak-minded individual that couldn’t stand the idea of going back to Derry because the fear of Pennywise was simply too great, while the Stan in the most recent It movies was someone that took himself off the board intentionally to give his friend a chance of surviving since he knew he couldn’t face it. Whatever the case, Stan in the 90s was a lot creepier without any doubt. But one thing is easy to say, Masur is still a great actor.