Action’s Villainous Sidekicks: Ed O’Ross

This week’s recurring henchman is Ed O’Ross, a character actor that has appeared in many movies and TV series, especially action films, since 1979. His first role was in the TV series Ryan’s Hope, where he portrayed a thug in a few episodes. He went on to have roles in other TV series like The Edge of Night, As The World Turns, Moonlighting, and The Scarecrow and Mrs. King.

His first big roll was in the 1987 blockbuster Full Metal Jacket. The Stanley Kubrick film was a huge success and O’Ross’ portrayal of Lt. Touchdown is memorable. But in a movie featuring show-stealing performances by R. Lee Emery and Vincent D’Onofrio, much of the rest of the cast is overlooked. That same year, O’Ross was cast in Lethal Weapon, as Mendez, one of the many villainous characters in the great action movie. Working with the villains Joshua (Gary Busey) and The General (Mitchell Ryan), O’Ross was a sidekick villain that was as memorable as Al Leong.

The very next year he portrayed the villainous Viktor Rostavili in Red Heat. The movie, starring action icon Arnold Schwarzenegger and comedian James Belushi, was a great mix and action and comedy and featured O’Ross as a big bad guy in Russia. That same year O’Ross also starred in Action Jackson as Frank Stringer. He followed these two roles up with other similar roles in Another 48 Hours, Dick Tracy, Universal Soldier, and Hoodlum.

O’Ross continues to work in the movie industry to this day, mostly doing work in television and low budget films. I last saw him appear in an episode of NCIS, playing yet again a villainous henchman. But he also has narrated a movie and has more smaller roles in the works. O’Ross may have never been a big star in Hollywood, but he carved a niche and left a mark in the industry that action fans around the world are sure to remember.

Daryl Karpinski, Jr.