He wasn’t as flashy or as famous as his cousin George, but I actually knew him first. While George was bumming around in acting school and doing nothing in particular, I was one of many people who got to know and love Albert Rosenfeld. In fact, I am heartbroken and chagrined to discover that IMDb considers him better known for NCIS: Los Angeles, even though he was on that for like five years. No matter what else he did, he was Albert.
The year before he was born, the two highest grossing films of the year each featured one of his parents—his mother was in White Christmas and his father was in The Caine Mutiny. I feel as though he’s kind of been overshadowed by the family ever since. His father’s turn as Cyrano de Bergerac in 1950 led to his being the first Hispanic (he was Puerto Rican) to win an Oscar. George, of course, has been nominated eight times and won twice. And Miguel’s mother, Rosemary, managed to steal a scene from George on an episode of ER.
However, it always brought me joy to see Miguel in things. No matter what it was. He’d done the various Mandatory Crime Dramas—an NCIS, a CSI, and a Law & Order. But he was such a joy in Crossing Jordan that it saddens me how few people know the character, who is not entirely unlike Albert, albeit with a bit of the Lynch drained out. He was definitely one of the highlights of The Stand, portraying Lloyd Henreid. He plays a man who has found his place, somewhere he can actually shine, and is it really his fault that it means he’s damned?
I grant you he did tend to do really well as people who were evil, or at very least unpleasant in some way. I like Garret Macy, but it’s never really surprising when he shades the line of ethical behaviour. And much as we all love Albert, aren’t we also secretly jealous of Harry for getting to haul off and punch him? When he showed up in something, there was always that hint of wondering where the person was going to turn out to be terrible. That’s okay; if you’re good at doing that sort of thing, there’s no shame in making a career at it.
He didn’t seem destined to be a leading man. Whether it was that there was something a little sinister about his looks, the rough quality to his voice, or that flair for evil, it’s hard to say. But it also doesn’t matter. He was a damn fine actor, and we’re left in a slightly sadder world for not having him. No matter who he was playing, he was worth watching, and that’s not something you can say about just any actor.