Steven Spielberg has said that Murray Hamilton was his first choice to play the embattled mayor (Larry Vaughn) of the coastal New England town in Jaws under attack by the Great White.
Dustin Hoffman gives one of his finest comic performances opposite the unknowingly cuckolded Hamilton (Mr. Robinson) in The Graduate.
Otto Preminger chose Hamilton as a witness (Alphonse Paquette) trying to protect rapist-murderer Barney Quill in Anatomy of a Murder and thereby acting as the perfect foil for an inspired James Stewart (defense attorney Paul Biegler).
For me Hamilton is comparable to Charles Durning and Eve Arden as character actors who usually dominate every scene in which they appear.
Jaws, The Graduate, Anatomy of a Murder: Three signature movies of their times.
Character actors shouldn’t be forgotten.
Here is Hamilton at his best.