10 Iconic TV Characters Only ONE Actor Could Play

James Gandolfini was BORN to play Tony Soprano.

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The best compliment you can really pay any actor is that they were born to play a role, that it's simply impossible to conceive of anybody else taking the part.

And while we often hear this about iconic movie roles, it feels even more apt in the world of TV, where actors are given seasons and seasons of material to dig deep into their character and truly make them their own.

And so, after watching an actor masterfully play a beloved TV character for 50 or 60 hours, it becomes difficult to accept the possibility of anybody else playing them.

Yet far beyond mere sentimentality, these 10 actors truly were the chosen ones - they brought a unique acting tool to the table that made them a perfect fit for their character, enough that it's impossible to imagine anybody else playing the part, and certainly not playing it nearly as well.

These actors were downright destined for these roles, and had the showrunners or network executives picked somebody else instead, there's a very strong chance the show wouldn't have succeeded at all.

Whether you believe in fate or not, these actors were always meant to play these incredible characters, and nobody else would've sufficed...

10. Michael Scott - The Office

Scott Bakula Quantum Leap

When an American remake of The Office was first announced, fans were intensely skeptical that it would be anything but a sanitised facsimile of Ricky Gervais' thorny workplace mockumentary sitcom.

Yet after a slightly iffy first season in which it hewed too closely to its British predecessor, The Office U.S. branched off to become its own terrifically entertaining beast.

This was in large part due to the phenomenal central performance from Steve Carell as Michael Scott, the buffoonish regional manager of Dunder Mifflin's Scranton office.

There's a reason why everyone winces whenever other actors considered for Michael are even mentioned - notably, Bob Odenkirk, Alan Tudyk, and Nick Offerman - because as talented as they all are, Steve Carell is Michael Scott.

The part requires an actor with the ability to delicately balance clownery against earnestness, and ensure that while we cringe at much of Michael's antics throughout the series, he also comes off as a genuinely decent - if flawed - person with his heart usually in the right place.

Though Carell never won an Emmy for his performance despite receiving six Best Actor nominations, his sublime work ensured Michael Scott entered the pantheon of all-time great TV characters regardless.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.