Distinctive and delightful character presence, a compact and often mangy-looking but highly amiable player of whimsical and spaced-out types. With his thinning, typically mussed hair and carefully measured line delivery, Walter has also been useful on the Western trail, both as weathered, reliable types and those who have perhaps been kicked in the head by their horses once too often. A native of Jersey City, NJ, Walter discovered acting while watching an off-Broadway play, "Scuba Duba." A stint with Jean Stapleton's Totem Pole Playhouse and acting lessons readied him for off-Broadway and spots on soap operas; he also played bits in two 1973 features, "Badge 373" and "Serpico."
Walter's feature career picked-up in 1977 with a bit in "Annie Hall" as an actor in Rob's (Tony Roberts) TV show. Westerns, road films or otherwise rural-flavored features have included "Goin' South" (1978), "Raggedy Man" (1981), "Honkytonk Man" (1982), "City Slickers" (1991), and "Something Wild" (1986). The latter film was his first for director Jonathan Demme, whose penchant for the outlandish needed Walter to play Mr. Chicken Lickin' in "Married to the Mob" (1988) and gave the actor an offbeat but incisive cameo as the librarian who hassles the HIV-positive protagonist of "Philadelphia" (1993). With his beady but bulging eyes, Walter often embodied a somewhat inscrutable but usually benign weirdness, as in "Repo Man" (1984), as the junkman who embraces the paranormal. He has played villainous as well, most notably as Bob the Goon, one of the Joker's henchmen in "Batman" (1989).
Walters has been especially prolific on TV, where the eccentricity he connotes can instantly milk laughs on any sitcom. His attempts at series (e.g. "Best of the West" 1981-82, as Frog Rothchild Jr.) have not lasted long, but Walter has been prolific in TV-movies including "Mad Bull" (1977) and "Not of This World" (1991), many guest spots, and recurring roles on "The Bronx Zoo" (1988) and "The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr." (1993).
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Made feature film debut in a bit part in "Badge 373"; also played a bit that same year in "Serpico"
Earliest feature film credits include a bit in the Woody Allen film, "Annie Hall"
First TV-movie, "Mad Bull"
Played Frog Rothchild Jr on the ABC sitcom, "Best of the West"
First film for director Jonathan Demme, "Something Wild"
Played recurring role of Wilshinsky on the NBC drama series, "The Bronx Zoo"
Played "Blinky" Watts on the short-lived (three episodes) ABC sitcom, "On the Air"
Appeared in the recurring role of Phil Swill on several episodes of the Fox comedy-adventure series, "The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr."