One of the best sketches from this season of Saturday Night Live is the dream game show, Dylan McDermott or Dermot Mulroney? The game featured three very confused gentlemen who were shown pictures of the two men, read facts about their careers and personal lives, and then forced to determine whether the man pictured was Dylan McDermott or Dermott Mulroney. Nobody could tell them apart (in the final round, SNL host Jamie Foxx picks someone named “Derbel McDillet”).

And that got us thinking; Could we? McDermott and Mulroney have had illustrious film and television careers that have spanned decades. Both charming, handsome, raven-haired and members of the sexy stubble club, what do these two actors have in common, and who is more successful?

Notable Television Roles

Dylan McDermott is better known for his prolific TV roles above movies. He is known to most as Bobby Donnell, the self-made lawyer and law firm head from The Practice. His role was so beloved that he won a Golden Globe in 1999 for his work, and was nominated for both an Emmy and SAG award as well. Of course people love him. Who could forget when Donnell dated Ally McBeal in that bizarre but awesome crossover stint?

More recently, McDermott played sexually frustrated therapist Ben Harmon, the man who thought it would be a great idea to move his family into a place called Murder House in the first series of American Horror Story. Harmon quickly became a fan favorite for his penchant for jaunty fedoras, tendency to cry nearly every episode, and ability to ignore the very obvious signs that his house was full of murderous ghosts. Though Harmon was offed in the season finale with every other character, McDermott returned for American Horror Story: Asylum as Johnny Morgan, the son of Lana and Bloody Face.

Dermot Mulroney does not have as much television experience, but his resume is growing. Right now, he is playing Jeff Flender on Enlightened. He had a recurring role on New Girl opposite Zooey Deschanel as Jess’ older, sophisticated boyfriend, Russell. Mulroney’s stint only lasted about half a season; the differences between rich, divorced dad Russell and young, “adorkable” Jess were too much for the relationship to work.

He had a small stint on Friends as a Rachel love interest, a coworker named Gavin Mitchell who charmed her by watching Emma while she gave a presentation at work. Their relationship quickly ended when he saw how complicated things were between her and Ross.

Winner: McDermott. While Mulroney’s TV career isn’t too shabby, McDermott has created lasting characters with huge fan bases. He’s got the award to prove it.


Film Appearances

Here is Mulroney’s prime territory. First and foremost, he is the best friend in My Best Friend’s Wedding, the object of Julia Roberts’ very misguided affections. He was Debra Messing’s handsome paid escort-turned-legitimate love interest in The Wedding Date (because bringing Dermot Mulroney as your date to a wedding is the best revenge). He played the controversial Dr. David Henry in The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, a role that earned him critical acclaim. He also recently starred in a string of successful titles, including Big Miracle, The Grey, and J. Edgar. Mulroney is slated to play Steve in the highly anticipated August: Osage County.

McDermott has fared well in film as well. In just the last year, he was in both The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Campaign, two films with great audience response. His most notable film role, and one of his first, was playing Jackson Latcherie, Shelby’s husband in Steel Magnolias. I know, it’s hard to recognize him through your sobs. He was also Chris in the campy ‘80s favorite Twister. McDermott has four films slated for next year, so be prepared to see a lot more of him.

Winner: Mulroney. You have to admit that the man is a romantic comedy staple. McDermott has had a lot of success in film, but his strength lies in building complex characters on television. Mulroney is captivating in film, and is recognized for that work.


Since Mulroney and McDermott have tied, it does not seem fair to pick one man as the overall best actor. Both have their strengths and weaknesses in film and television, and both have amazing careers ahead of them. Quite frankly, they’re on a level playing field in the looks department to boot. If there has to be a winner? My vote’s on Derbel McDillet.