Spoilers ahead for The Walking Dead!
The Walking Dead isn’t just about the undead — fans, and even those with a peripheral understanding of the series know that by now. It’s as much about the people trying desperately to survive as it is about the creatures they are running from. In its seven seasons on the air, it’s offered up so many characters for us to become invested in that it’s felt, at times, overwhelming. Ultimately, though, it’s also given us a chance to get to know some of the most fascinating characters in television history. Heroes, villains, and those that fall somewhere in between — the characters on TWD are truly what make it something special.
It should go without saying then, that one of The Walking Dead‘s strengths as a series is that it’s found a way to cast some of the most interesting and talented actors working today. These men and women, young and old, often deliver nuanced, layered, and gripping performances. They create characters that feel real, even when they’re up against, you know, zombies.
While every actor in the ensemble has had at least one moment to shine, there are some that have proven, time and again, how truly gifted they are at bringing their characters to life. Some of these stars are still around, helping to keep the story going even at a time where the series is faltering. Others have left us, but still remain an essential part of the show’s legacy. Here are the 10 best actors on The Walking Dead.
1. Tovah Feldshuh
The Walking Dead‘s creators had a unique challenge when they introduced us to Deanna Monroe at the end of Season 5. In the Alexandria Safe Zone, she was an established and beloved leader, but to us, the viewers, she was a brand new character who could either be a savior or a threat.
Tovah Feldshuh managed to do what few others before her could accomplish, though — she infused Deanna with both an authority and an authenticity that made us feel like we’d known her forever. Deanna was far more complicated than she initially let on; while she presented an air of total calm and leadership, she questioned her ability to keep Alexandria thriving. Her grief over losing both her son and her husband in quick succession added another layer of doubt.
Through all of these changes, Feldshuh never wavered in her portrayal of the former congresswoman. In her final moments alive, despite the fact that she was slipping away, Deanna rallied and did her best to take out as many walkers as she could. The primal scream she emitted as she charged to her death was simultaneously triumphant and chilling, and a true mark of Feldshuh’s unique and admirable talent.