17. The Smoking Man, The X-Files
Played By: William B. Davis
The nicotine-addicted antagonist of The X-Files is an inverse Forrest Gump: He was in the background of all of the worst moments in recent American history. By the time the events of The X-Files begin, the Cigarette Smoking Man has left behind his taste for run-of-the-mill political intrigue and dedicated himself to making sure that the public never learns exactly what truth is out there. He's one of the major forces keeping knowledge of extraterrestrial life from the wider world.
Not bad for a character who was originally supposed to be an extra. Producer Kim Manners once said, "Everything that was given birth [on the X-Files] was given birth because it was an accident almost." After the producers recognized something special in his work, William B. Davis went from being a guy hired to lean against a filing cabinet and smoke cigarettes to one of television's most memorable villains.