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Why The Actor In Geico's Captain Ahab Commercial Looks So Familiar

Insurance company GEICO is probably best known for its Cockney-accented gecko mascot, its sponsorship of Jeopardy!, and its plethora of memorable commercials. Among the most famous ads are the "So easy a caveman can do it" series, the adventures of Maxwell the Pig, and, of course, the "Hump Day" bit with the talking camel. You'd never expect such hilarity from an insurance company of all things, but making human connections is an important part of doing good business.

One of the company's more recent ads (as of January 2021) features a character who's been around since 1851: Ahab, the one-legged whaling-ship captain of Herman Melville's literary classic Moby-Dick. Best known for his fanatical obsession with the titular marine mammal that cost him his leg, Captain Ahab's stamp on popular culture cannot be understated: the good captain's been adapted for and portrayed in just about every form of media imaginable.

GEICO's interpretation of the character is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a parody, in line with the humor often present in its commercials. Standing through the open sunroof of a car, Ahab helps a woman search for a parking spot in a crowded lot, equipped with a telescope and a sailor' lingo. Actor Steve Coulter brings on the laughs in the short time he has with the character. If he looks familiar, even under all those facial prosthetics, here's where you may have seen him before.

Coulter Conjured up a partnership with James Wan

James Wan's body of work is full of, uh... bodies, which is only natural for a horror director. He cemented himself in Hollywood legend on his directorial debut in 2004 with a little film called Saw, and has since gone on to expand his reputation as a master of frights. Among his most successful productions are those of the Conjuring franchise, which chronicle the findings of Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga), paranormal investigators and demonologists extraordinaire.

The Warrens can't do everything on their own, of course, and often seek the assistance of Coulter's Father Gordon, their go-to guy whenever they need something from the Catholic Church. Reliable though he may be, Gordon's loyalty to the Church is unshakable and he rarely does anything without the express approval of higher-ups first — namely, the Vatican. Coulter has reprised the role for two more Conjuring films and also appeared in Annabelle Comes Home (which Wan produced rather than directing), which is set immediately following the first film and is set five years prior to The Conjuring 2 and nine years in advance of The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It. It seems Gordon's partnership with the Warrens and Coulter's with Wan are both built on time and trust, and hopefully both will continue to grow.

Steve Coulter also appears in Wan's Insidious franchise

Wan directed the first Insidious film  also a story of demons and possession, but of a much different flavor — three years before The Conjuring. It wasn't until Insidious: Chapter 2, however, which came out a few months later, that the director brought Coulter on and quickly established that his character, Carl, has a history in the Insidious universe as a longtime friend of Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye/Lindsay Seim), the psychic medium and demonologist who's killed at the end of the preceding film.

Carl's no slouch in the psychic medium department himself, and is called upon to contact Elise's spirit to guide the characters onward. Later on, after he's incapacitated by the possessed Josh (Patrick Wilson/Garrett Ryan), he does more than just make contact with her spirit: he finds himself in the spiritual realm known as The Further, and actually meets Elise's and Josh's spirits. Coulter's character only makes a cameo appearance in Insidious: Chapter 3 (again produced but not directed by Wan) because it's a prequel to its predecessors. With a fifth Insidious film in the works, time will tell whether Coulter returns as Carl in some capacity or not.

Coulter fortified Alexandria on The Walking Dead

In a post-apocalyptic world like that of The Walking Dead, there's no guarantee that the skills survivors cultivated before everything turned upside-down will still be useful. Most of the exceptions fall under the practical talents umbrella, like the architectural know-how of Coulter's character, Reg Monroe. Having taught the subject, he puts his abilities to good use after he and his family are unable to return home to Ohio and are forced to retreat to Alexandria. With the help of his sons — and, later on, others who end up in Alexandria for one reason or another — he constructs a wall around the town, shielding everyone from the walkers mindlessly shambling about.

Together with his wife Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh), Reg becomes a respected member of the community for his efforts. Noah (Tyler James Williams), a member of Rick Grimes' (Andrew Lincoln) crew who comes to settle in Alexandria, even asks Reg to teach him about architecture so they can make the community safer and larger than it already is at that point.

Coulter imbues Reg with a rare sort of charismatic wisdom — a quality rarer than ever, post-apocalypse — so seeing him go out the way he does stings especially hard, even for a show on which death is a fact of life.

Coulter mastered supporting roles on film and TV

Coulter's part as Montana State University president Mel Thompson on the Kevin Costner-led drama series Yellowstone is a perfect example of what he's capable of in a guest role. Thompson's the kind of character that demands an air of authority without overstepping any boundaries, and Coulter strikes the balance perfectly. On House of Cards, he plays an authority figure of a much larger scope: Mitch Scanlon, the governor of Tennessee. It requires a different bearing than that of a university president, and Coulter nails it in the few episodes he has to do so.

Coulter may also look familiar in passing for some of his smaller roles in certain films, having appeared in a number of major productions in various genres without speaking lines. He shows up as a game center tech in the dystopian thriller The Hunger Games. Coulter also appears as a university professor in the action series closer Taken 3. And he appeared as a judge, uncredited, in the bombastic Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.