The Thin Man, also known as Anthony, is a recurring character in the Charlie's Angels franchise, being a major antagonist in the 2000 film Charlie's Angels and an anti-hero in its 2003 sequel, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. Portrayed by Crispin Glover, he is a mute and experienced assassin encountered by the Angels, who has a fixation with ripping out women's hair and smelling it. He is the most recurring (and the most popular) character in the films, as he has appeared more than any other villain.
The history of the man known to the Angels as "the Creepy Thin Man" is shrouded in mystery and conjecture. At the age of seven, he was brought to a Catholic orphanage run by nuns during a stormy night, having been found by police in the nearby forest, living wild off roots and berries. Though his exact origins remain murky, the Mother Superior of the order believed him to be the child of Romanian circus performers who had recently died in a terrible fire. Discovered to be mute, physical examinations determined that there was nothing physically wrong with the boy, lending credence to the Reverend Mother's theory that he had undergone a severe psychological trauma. Lacking a name, the nuns dubbed the child "Anthony", after St. Anthony of Padua, Healer of the Mute.
Despite his lack of communication, Anthony's violent tendencies were already very much in evidence; he had apparently fought with the Sheriff who brought him to the nuns' doorstep, the man sporting a black eye and the child being placed in heavy shackles.
Anthony grew attached to the orphanage and to the nuns who raised him. He lived a normal life in the orphanage but his darker side manifested again when the time came for his first haircut; a strange impulse seized the normally quiet boy upon noticing a stray lock of hair dangling from beneath the Mother Superior's habit, and he tore the hair out with a whoop of joy. This would be the beginning of a lifelong hair fetish, manifesting later in his interactions with Charlie's Angels.
Career as an assassin
Anthony grew from boyhood to young manhood under the orphanage roof, until, according to the Reverend Mother, he was discovered one day to be "simply gone". It may be assumed that he found employment as an assassin-for-hire shortly after departing the nuns' care, as the Reverend Mother claimed that he was "the sole benefactor of [our] orphanage", regularly sending "gifts" (revealed to be expensive items taken from his victims) to pay for the place's upkeep. (It is unclear whether the Mother Superior was aware that Anthony's donations originated from blood money, and - if her assessment of him as "an angel" can be taken at face value - unlikely.)
First encounter with the Angels
In 2000, Anthony accepted a contract from software giants Vivian Wood and Eric Knox, aiding them in their revenge-driven mission to find and kill Charles Townsend, whom Knox believed to be responsible for the death of his father. After helping stage Knox's kidnapping, Anthony appeared - quietly smoking in a corner - at a party at Roger Corwin's penthouse, having apparently gained employment at Red Star Industries as a cover for his assignment. Placed at Corwin's as part of a deliberate ploy to lead the Angels to Knox's location, Anthony engaged the three women in combat in a Chinatown alleyway, a fight he came dangerously close to losing before fleeing the scene.
Anthony reappeared shortly after this incident, posing as a race car driver sponsored by Red Star. (Corwin was apparently quite familiar with him by this point, exhorting him to "Make me proud".) Upon recognizing, and being recognized by, the Angels, he fled from the track with Natalie Cook in hot pursuit, the chase concluding with Anthony driving - whether accidentally or intentionally - off a bridge and into the harbor.
How Anthony survived this crash is unclear. However, upon resurfacing - with no apparent injuries - he tracked down Corwin and killed him, as per instructions from Knox and Wood. He proceeded to meet up with his employers at Knox's house, in time to witness the attempted murder of Dylan Sanders. (Interestingly, Anthony - alone of the three conspirators - appeared to realize that Dylan had not in fact been killed, but made no attempt to inform his employers of this fact. It may be surmised that his later infatuation with the Angel stemmed from this incident.)
Placed on guard duty at Knox's Carmel stronghold, Anthony engaged in fierce combat with Alex Munday, brought to a premature end when Knox appeared in a helicopter and blew the stronghold apart with a guided missile. Though Vivian Wood (who had been fighting with Natalie) may be presumed to have been killed in this blast, Anthony was later revealed to have survived - his method of doing so being, again, unclear.
Second encounter with the Angels and presumed death
The Thin Man and Charlie's Angels would cross paths again in 2003, when Anthony - under unknown circumstances - became aware that teenager Max Petroni, a scion of the orphanage Anthony supported, had been targeted for assassination by hitman Randy Emmers. (It is not clear whether Anthony was aware that Emmers was in the employ of former Angel Madison Lee.) Apparently feeling obligated to protect the boy, Anthony tracked both assassin and target to the Coal Bowl, where, posing as a racer, he entered the contest, intending to kill Emmers before the man's assignment could be carried out. Unbeknownst to Anthony, however, the Angels were also on Emmers' trail, and it was here that they encountered one another again - much to both parties' surprise. (It was also clear that, by this time, Anthony's attraction to Dylan had grown exponentially.)
Though the Angels briefly attempted to follow Anthony's trail - leading them to the orphanage and to the Mother Superior, who related the story of Anthony's childhood to the three women - he ultimately faded from their view as more immediate concerns relevant to the HALO Ring case came to the forefront. However, when he resurfaced at the Hollywood premiere of Maximum Extreme II - posing as a photographer - it became evident that he had been tracking them. Appearing on the rooftop of the El Capitan Theater to aid the Angels in their battle against the O'Grady Clan, he saved Dylan from certain death at the hands of her psychopathic ex-boyfriend, Seamus O'Grady. Swept up at the moment, Anthony and Dylan shared a passionate kiss - which, unfortunately, distracted Anthony long enough to allow Seamus to seize his sword and stab him from behind. Reeling, and apparently mortally wounded, Anthony staggered to the edge of the roof and plummeted to the alley below, with Dylan unable to do more than cry out in anguish.
In the theatrical cut of Full Throttle, this is the last the Angels - and the audience - ever see of the Thin Man, and a brief glimpse of his body lying prone in the alley as Seamus falls to his doom would appear to provide proof of his demise. However, in the unrated cut, it is made very clear that Anthony, though badly injured, is not dead: when Seamus lands beside him, Anthony grabs Seamus and uses him as a human shield when the 'E' (from the neon 'LOS ANGELES' sign on the rooftop above) falls on them both. It is unknown to this day whether the Thin Man survived.
Cover and style
The Thin Man is a highly skilled assassin and fighter. Using a sheathed Jian-like sword, he is an expert combatant, able for the most part to keep up with all three Angels at once. (He does not, however, appear to be proficient with firearms; during the Chinatown chase, he is shown firing wildly at the Angels, wasting bullets and widely missing his mark.) He also possesses some expertise at racing, both cars and motorcycles.
One of his most prominent eccentricities is his trichophilia, or hair fetish. Beginning in his early childhood, he is possessed by an urge to tear out women's hair and inhale its scent, typically accompanied by a piercing shriek. This sexual peculiarity appears connected to his acts of violence - in the first film, he is depicted sniffing a torn-out lock of Alex Munday's hair, in a clear state of arousal, before attempting to kill her. The second film then depicts him ripping out two locks of hair from Dylan - though when Dylan Sanders rips out a lock of his hair and sniffs it, in an attempt to please him, he seems moved by the gesture.
- Much of the Thin Man's origin story, as related in Full Throttle, stems from an unofficial "history" of the character written on the set of the first film by Crispin Glover (said by director McG to be many pages in length, and highly detailed).
- The pinstriped suit the Thin Man wears is one that had formerly been worn by Glover's father, Bruce Glover, also playing an assassin - Mr. Wint - in the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever.
- In the original Charlie's Angels screenplay, the Thin Man had lines; however, Glover did not care for his dialogue, and proposed that the character be mute instead.
- Early drafts of the sequel's screenplay depict Anthony falling in love with, and kissing, Alex Munday instead of Dylan Sanders (presumably because, of the three Angels, Alex had the most prolonged interaction with the Thin Man in the first film). Why the change was made is not known.
- Screenwriter John August claims that he and Crispin Glover at one point discussed creating a spin-off film about the Thin Man, though nothing ultimately came of these discussions.
- Thin Man makes some appearances as boss fights in the Charlie's Angels video game.
- Hodak from the 2019 film Charlie's Angels is based on him.