Portraying a well-known screen personality is always perilous and few actors pull it off without being seen as actors trying to portray someone they’re not. But a few years ago one actor DID IT: Michael Chiklis, who became famous playing The Shield’s brutal, corrupt main character Vic Mackey, played Jerome “Curley” Howard in a TV bio movie about the longtime screen comedy trio.
And Chiklis got Curley down perfectly: the timing, body language, facial expressions and even approximated his voice. Just look at this scene that shows Columbia Pictures’ boss Harry Cohen (who loved the Stooges) watching Stooges shorts. Just watch Chilkis give a performance that will be hard for another actor to match. It’s a cliche to say it: but he is “channeling” Curley Howard (the ill fated baby brother of dominant Stooge Moe):
Here’s Chiklis’ casting performance that won him the role of Mackey:
And singing a song to his real-life wife:
Chilkis’ image — and overall look — was quite different years ago when starred in the ABC series The Commish:
FOOTNOTE: I’m now watching the entire The Shield series via Netflix. I’m concluding it is a better series, more compelling and surprising than either The Sopranos or The Corner.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.