Jack Warden received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Lester Karpf in Shampoo.
Jack Warden portrays Lester a wealthy man who is the husband of one of George's lovers, and is well having an affair with another. He is hapless in that he does not suspect George is having an affair with either of them because he believes George to be gay. This actually is not too much of a role for Warden and it is a pretty standard rich man duped by those around him. He usually is a bit confused, or a bit annoyed, by those around him. This really is quite the stock role for Warden in this film, but I will say though since Warden is always a competent character, he still is fine in the role even if it is simple.
Warden certainly fulfills the role and is believable as the rich man who really does not know very much about those around him even if he thinks he does. His reactions at the various situations are humorous enough while not going over the top making it so when he finally does realize what is going on it is believable that he would. There really is just not much to be said about his performance here, because the role really is quite simple, but whatever he does do in the role Warden does do well. It is not particularly spectacular work, but Warden as usual knows how to portray the part.
Lester could have been an extremely unlikable character due to his behavior in many scenes, but I will credit to Warden for having a certain natural charm to keep Lester from being completely despicable. In fact in a few of the later scenes Warden carefully but effectively shows a bit of a nicer side to Lester. In the end though there just is not a lot to the character, so there really is not much to his performance. Warden though successfully plays the part, he does what is required not much more, but certainly no less. This is not a great performance but it is fine work from a fine character actor.