Friendo: Was there ever an actress who graced more blockbusters but had less to show for it than Anne Archer? Adrien Lyne‘s Fatal Attraction. and Phillip Noyce‘s Patriot Games and Clear & Present Danger. Big hit movies, and she was even Oscar-nominated for her performance in Lyne’s thriller. But she never seemed to reap the appropriate benefit. Now 76, Archer was very talented, beautiful and quite likable, but was there finally just something a tad insubstantial going on?

HE to friendo: Archer was a classy and respected second-tier actress, and of course she peaked during her late ’80s to mid ’90s heyday. She’s been acting since the early ’70s, and at least she peaked during the Poppy Bush and Clinton eras! Plus she’s still with us at age 76 or thereabouts.

Archer was always a highly skilled actress, but there was always something a bit conservative and Fairfield County about her. I saw her in John Ford Noonan‘s “A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking” at a theatre across the street from the Public at Astor Place, and thought she was excellent. But she mainly seemed to play bland, nurturing wife-mothers who were married to corporate, upper-middle-class alpha-males.

Archer never played cold corporate types on her own steam or sexual dynamos or murdering bitches a la Glenn Close or action sidekicks or frosty district attorneys. Like almost every young actress of yore she performed in the requisite number of sex scenes, but nothing in the 9 1/2 Weeks realm.

Noyce and Lyne cast Archer in her most commercially successful films, but in so doing she kind of became known as the consummate classy wife. In a way these castings seemed to vaguely suppress her career. Or do I mean that she was too convincing as the classy homemaker, such that no one could see her as anything but?

Wiki excerpt: Since the 2000s, Archer has sporadically worked in acting. She appeared in the film Lullaby (2014) and made her stage debut as Mrs Robinson in the West End production of The Graduate in 2001. She played the eponymous actress in The Trial of Jane Fonda at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and had recurring roles on television shows such as Boston Public (2003), It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2006) and Ghost Whisperer (2006–2008).

Friendo to HE: Maybe JoBeth Williams is another of her ilk (and from roughly the same time period): Attractive and talented, but, as the producers and agents are fond of saying, “She’s just not a lead.” I’d love to have seen Archer playing an amoral Maddy Walker-type (i.e., Body Heat). Or someone whose warm, nurturing demeanor masked a heart of ice.