Hollywood is full of great actors, but it's the ones that slip under the radar in all of our favorite films and TV series that go unnoticed and make an understated impact. Walton Goggins is one such actor, a chameleon of sorts who changes color with every role he steps into. Chances are Goggins has starred in at least two of your favorite TV series or films and you don't even know it. He's the classic "I've seen that guy in something before but I can't remember what!" actor.
Walton Goggins has been working in Hollywood for nearly 30 years after moving to LA at 19 years old. He's appeared in tons of popular TV shows in the last few decades and has played everything from a trans woman to a slave owner. Walton has also been nominated for Emmy Awards, worked with Quentin Tarantino on three occasions, and starred in Oscar-winning films.
His latest role is as an elite United States Navy SEAL in the new History Channel drama #Six, which has been gathering a lot of deserved attention. Goggins and his co-stars went through rigorous simulated Navy SEAL training before filming, but believe it or not, being trained as a Navy SEAL isn't his wildest role yet.
So what might you recognize Walton Goggins from that you just can't put a finger on? When in doubt, just put him in a cowboy hat and your memory should come flooding back. See if you can keep track.
'Major League: Back To The Minors'
Character: Billy "Downtown" Anderson
Major League: Back to the Minors is a comedy that follows a former MLB player who takes on being the team manager for the Minnesota Twins' minor league team, the Buzz. The team is full of misfit ball players, including Walton Goggins as Billy "Downtown" Anderson, the home run hitter. Billy leads the Buzz to victory over the Twins after a bet. A cult comedy, Goggins sets himself up as a comedic actor with serious chops.
'The Bourne Identity'
Character: Research Tech
Walton had a small little role in Matt Damon's big franchise debut, The Bourne Identity, as a research tech searching for clues to Jason Bourne and his whereabouts. The movie follows Jason Bourne as he seeks to regain his memory while running from assassins trying to kill him. Walton only appeared in the first film of the franchise.
Goggins gets his face in EVERYTHING without audiences knowing, and this is proof.
Character: Shane Vendrell
The Shield is about dirty police officer Vic (Michael Chiklis) in charge of an experimental anti-gang unit of the Los Angeles PD called the Strike Team. Walton plays Shane, a Police Detective on Vic's team and also Vic's on and off best friend. The team goes through various situations that challenges their alliances to each other and the dirty business they run.
The Shield won both Emmy and Golden Globe awards during its seven seasons. This role is a huge reason why Goggins can transcend audience demos and appeal to viewers beyond age 49 — the cut off for the key demo in TV ratings.
Go, Go, Goggins!
'Cowboys And Aliens'
Cowboys and Aliens starred Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde about a spaceship arriving to Earth in 1873 during the wild, wild west. It's the ultimate showdown of technology and tumbleweeds. Walton's character Hunt was a cowboy and a fairly small role, but definitely sticks with the theme of Walton and cowboys hats in the roles he plays.
Character: Clay Hawkins
Lincoln is an Oscar-winning film based on the influential presidency of Abraham Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg. Walton Goggins plays a fictional Democratic congressman that is bribed in order to sway his vote in favor of ending slavery. Lincoln went on to win many awards including Oscars, Golden Globes, and SAG.
Character: Billy Crash
Django is one of Quentin Tarantino's most highly acclaimed films starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, and Leonardo DiCaprio. The film follows a freed slave as he sets out to rescue his wife from a rich and evil slave owner. Goggins' character Billy Crash trains male slaves to fight to the death on the Candyland plantation. Django won many awards and is the first of three films Quentin would cast Goggins in.
Character: Mr. Stone
Walton Goggins guest starred in Community Season 5 Episode 4 "Cooperative Calligraphy." He played a mysterious character named Mr. Stone who shows up after Pierce Hawthorne's death to carry out his last wishes. He puts the entire Community clan through a polygraph test that hilariously reveals some dark secrets about them. Goggins really revealed his comedic skills in the role ad became a guest star favorite.
BTW — raise your hand if you still aren't over Community being canceled.
'Sons Of Anarchy'
Character: Venus Van Dam
Sons of Anarchy was a hit TV series on FX about an outlaw motorcycle club as one of its core members struggles to balance family and his allegiance to the gang. Walton Goggins played a transgender woman who works with the SOA gang and eventually gets into a relationship with one of the members, Tig.
She also enlists the gang to help retrieve her son born out of her past before she had converted. Sons Of Anarchy was a widely acclaimed show with Goggins minor role as a stand-out and career highlight.
Character: Boyd Crowder
Justified stars Timothy Olyphant as U.S. Marshall Raylen Givens with some old-school tendencies in upholding the law. He is reassigned to Kentucky where he presides over his hometown. Goggins plays Boyd Crowder, a childhood acquaintance of Givens that is smarter than he lets on but is more than enough trouble for the law as a supposed white supremacist.
He and Givens are explained as "two-sides of the same coin" throughout the series. Justified was a critical success for both the creators and actors. The show has a passionate fan-base and is one of FX's most successful series.
Oh Boyd Crowder, you are the definition of a love/hate relationship.
'The Hateful Eight'
Character: Sheriff Chris Mannix
Tarantino's Hateful Eight is about eight strangers who find shelter from a blizzard in the same cabin together sometime after the Civil War. Goggins plays one of the eight strangers stranded, and though he is labeled a Sheriff, by the end of the film many speculated he was never sheriff at all. Hateful Eight won many awards and Goggins received a lot of acclaim for portrayal as the supposed loud mouthed sheriff in the film.
Character: Lee Russel
Vice Principals is an HBO comedy starring Danny McBride and Walton Goggins. McBride is a High School VP anticipating the retirement of the principal so that he can take over. He and Lee Russell, his co-VP, conspire to snag the position while unknowingly self-destructing. Critics and viewers were mixed on reviews of the show, with Goggins and McBride's comedic chemistry being the highlight.
The amount of reaction GIFs from this show alone should label it a masterpiece.
Character: Robert "Rip" Taggart
Six is a TV series on the History Channel about the United States SEAL Team Six, which is a real elite anti-terrorism unit in the U.S. Navy. Goggins plays Taggart, the leader of the Six unit until he makes questionable decisions that see him disbanded. When he is captured by terrorists in Nigeria, his SEAL Team Six members waste no time in bringing their brother home.
Goggins went through real Navy SEAL training for this role, which he was cast in after actor Joe Magliano dropped out. Six is currently airing on the History Channel on Wednesdays at 10/9c.
While Walton is currently starring in Six, the show has only aired one episode and there is no word yet of a second season. His next listed role on IMDb is in the Tomb Raider reboot as "Father Mathias."
Goggins is a rare actor that can jump from TV to film without audiences blinking an eye. Most actors don't have that luxury — but they also don't have Goggins' talent. As said before, he is a chameleon in Hollywood, changing with the industry and finding a space for himself in TV and films both audiences and industry insiders would never have pegged him for.
He may not be on the cover of tabloids every week, but his talent has taken him further than many who are, and something tells me Walton wouldn't have it any other way.
Where the cowboy hat goes, nobody knows.
Walton Goggins Stars in Six on the History Channel Wednesdays at 10/9c.