Born in Chicago, Illinois, as Thomas Michael Moore, was raised along with his sister, in a working class home headed by a father who worked as a printer for The Chicago Sun-Times. After graduating Rich East High School in 1967, he attended the University of Missouri to study journalism, but tried his hand at acting on a whim because of a bet he lost. He picked "Berenger" as his professional name, after a school friend, because there was already a "Tom Moore" in the Actors' Equity Association
Berenger made his debut in a college production of Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe?" before moving on to regional theater following graduation. This move changed his career path forever.
Berenger 1st established himself in aggressive, brooding roles. He first came to the public's attention as the self-effacing Tom Selleck-like television star in Lawrence Kasdan's iconic drama,"The Big Chill"(1983). But it was his hard-edged turn as the Vietnam War-scarred Sergeant Barnes in "Platoon" (1986) that turned the relatively unknown actor into a bona fide star.
From that point on, Tom gained notice and continued appearing in unpredictable roles and cameos. He was nearly in one film or TV movie every year up until the present.
|Laura Moretti Moore||(8 September 2012 - present)|
|Patricia Alvaran||(23 January 1998 - 14 June 2011) (divorced) 1 child|
|Lisa Berenger||(29 July 1986 - 1997) (divorced) 3 children|
|Barbara Wilson||(1976 - February 1984) (divorced) 2 children|
Listed as a "Promising New Actor of 1977" in vol. 29 of John Willis' Screen World.
He has two children with first wife, Barbara Wilson: Allison (b.1977) and Patrick (b.1979). He has 3 daughters with Lisa: Chelsea (b.1986), Chloe (b.1988) and Shiloh Rory (b.1993). He also has a daughter with Patricia named Scout (b.1998).
Earned the highest rating (3 stars) from "The Bare Facts" -- a printed guide to on-screen nudity -- for eligible scenes in In Praise of Older Women (1978) and At Play in the Fields of the Lord (1991).".
Considers Flesh & Blood (1979) (TV) as one of his best films.
Graduated from the University of Missouri, where he majored in journalism.
He was offered his role in Nightmare & Dreamscapes and had 24 hours to decide if he wanted. He agreed without even getting a chance to read the script. He read it for the first time on the flight to Australia for the filming.
His father was a traveling salesman.
Is a major world history buff.
Lived in Puerto Rico for several months in his 20s.
Lives in Beaufort, South Carolina when not working on films.
Studied acting in New York at the Herbert Berghof Studios.
He claims that he had a few very bad years, from 1979 to 1981. The roles stopped coming, and he says, "I was just scraping by financially, and emotionally I was getting really defeated. I got to the point where I could hardly go on auditions anymore.".
Admitted that he hated making Sliver (1993), as it went through endless reshoots and script changes.
He is fluent in Spanish and Italian.
Was the second ill-fated Timmy Siegal on 'One Life To Live'.
Tom's great interest in Civil War history has led him to collect on and research the Civil War era in his personal life as well.
The role that seems the nearest to his heart is that of Lt. General James Longstreet, whom he portrayed in the classic Gettysburg (1992).
He picked "Berenger" as his professional name, after a school friend, because there was already a "Tom Moore" in the Actors' Equity Association.
Started "The Tom Berenger Acting Scholarship Fund" This was established in 1988 by him to award Theatre students for excellence in performance.
He studied under Uta Hagen and Herbert Berghof at HB Studio while working in off-Broadway productions.
Prior to acting, he was also a bellman at the former Alameda Plaza Hotel (now the Inter-Continental Hotel) in the Country Club Plaza section of Kansas City, Missouri.
Berenger's earlier career before he became an actor was as a flight attendant for the defunct Eastern Air Lines.
Berenger lent his likeness for Frank Jaeger, in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake.
(On playing bad guys) "I enjoy playing them. I find something human in them, with the exception of Looking for Mr. Goodbar. It was such a slimy character with no redeeming qualities. To me it was like playing Charles Manson. I had nightmares after I finished shooting it. I felt dirty. Bad guys are interesting, even if you don't like them."
(1975 quote) "I first started thinking about being an actor when I was in college at the University of Missouri. I auditioned for a television play, and the director, who has some professional New York credits, encouraged me to pursue acting. In college I had a double major--drama and film editing. I worked with 16 millimeter film upon graduating, and from Kansas City I went on to Dallas. All of this time I suppose I had an unrealized commitment to acting. But then, I guess I ran away from acting. I was afraid of the business--I still am."
Even my agents say, 'We don't know what this business is anymore.' These days, you can do a TV series for five years and all of a sudden be on top of the business. Features don't even run in theaters very long anymore before going right to television. And every other movie is one of those action things. I mean, Lost in Space (1998)? - a bunch of good actors running around shooting at special effects on a soundstage? I took my kids to see that and almost felt like I was on an acid trip. Most of what gets made now, you laugh your way through, go home and forget you've seen it.
(2002 quote) "Since the '70s I've seen myself as a poet. Sometimes I express that poetry through acting, sometimes through cooking, and sometimes just having a good chat, you know, one of them chats you have when you're stoned and the hour is getting late. I don't know what's gonna come my way, but I think Berenger's gonna be big these next couple years."
(On being famous) "I mean I've turned down magazine covers because, for one thing, I don't know if I want people sending them to me for autographs or whatever, and I don't like the idea of seeing myself on magazine racks. Another thing is I do like my privacy and I get very little of that as it is. I like to do what I want when I want, and I want to be able to walk down the street without an entourage or protection. It's bad enough for me already."
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