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Brad Dourif Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (5) | Trivia (23) | Personal Quotes (24)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 18 March 1950Huntington, West Virginia, USA
Birth NameBradford Claude Dourif
Height 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Character actor Brad Dourif was born Bradford Claude Dourif on March 18, 1950 in Huntington, West Virginia. He is the son of Joan Mavis Felton (Bradford) and Jean Henri Dourif, a French-born art collector who owned and operated a dye factory. His father died when Dourif was three years old, after which his mother married Bill Campbell, a champion golfer, who helped raise Brad, his brother, and his four sisters. From 1963 to 1965, Dourif attended Aiken Preparatory School in Aiken, South Carolina, where he pursued his interests in art and acting. Although he briefly considered becoming a professional artist, he finally settled on acting as a profession, inspired by his mother's participation as an actress in community theater.

Starting in school productions, he progressed to community theater, joining up with the Huntington Community Players, while attending Marshall University of Huntington. At age 19, he quit his hometown college and headed to New York City, where he worked with the Circle Repertory Company. During the early 1970s, Dourif appeared in a number of plays, off-Broadway and at Woodstock, New York, including Milos Forman who cast him in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975). Although this film is frequently cited as his film debut, in fact, Dourif made his first big-screen appearance with a bit part in W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings (1975). Nevertheless, his portrayal of the vulnerable Billy Bibbit in Forman's film was undoubtedly his big break, earning him a Golden Globe Award for Best Acting Debut, a British Academy Film Award for Best Supporting Actor, and an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Skeptical of his instant stardom, Dourif returned to New York, where he continued in theater and taught acting and directing classes at Columbia University until 1988 when he moved to Hollywood. Despite his attempts to avoid typecasting, his intensity destined him to play demented, deranged, or disturbed characters, starting in Eyes of Laura Mars (1978), John Huston's Wise Blood (1979) (arguably his best performance to date), and Milos Forman's Ragtime (1981). Dourif then teamed up with director David Lynch for Dune (1984) and Blue Velvet (1986). His high-strung style also served him well in a number of horror films, notably as the voice of the evil doll Chucky in Child's Play (1988) and its sequels.

Dourif broke from the horror genre with roles in Fatal Beauty (1987), Mississippi Burning (1988), Hidden Agenda (1990), and London Kills Me (1991). Recent film work includes the role of Grima Wormtongue in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Since his television debut in the PBS film The Mound Builders (1976), Dourif has made sporadic appearances in a number of television series, such as The X-Files (1993), Babylon 5 (1994), Star Trek: Voyager (1995) and Ponderosa (2001) (in the recurring role of Frenchy).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Lyn Hammond

Spouse (2)

Jonina Bernice ? (? - ?) (divorced) (1 child)
Janet Stephanie ? (? - 20 June 1980) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (5)

Deep raspy ominous voice
Often plays eccentric or deranged characters
Frightening, expressive interpretations
The voice of Chucky in the Child's Play films
Gaunt features and wild blue eyes

Trivia (23)

Has heard his own movie Dune (1984) described as "science fiction's answer to Heaven's Gate (1980)" (which Dourif also starred in), and he agrees totally with this summation.
Was considered for the role of the Scarecrow in Batman Forever (1995).
Made five trips to New Zealand while the Lord of the Rings trilogy was being filmed. He had to shave his eyebrows off each time.
Has two daughters: Fiona Dourif and Kristina Dourif Tanoue.
Grandchild: Caden Kalani Kahalewai Dourif-Tanoue (born 2001).
Many of his co-stars in the Lord of the Rings trilogy were under the impression that he was actually English because of the British accent he used as Grima Wormtongue throughout filming. As a method actor, he kept the accent even when he was not filming. They were shocked to hear him speak in an American accent after filming was complete. Bernard Hill believed Dourif was speaking in the worst American accent he "had ever heard in [his] life".
Was considered for the role of Max Cady in the remake Cape Fear (1991), which went to Robert De Niro.
Has appeared with Samuel L. Jackson in four films: Ragtime (1981), The Exorcist III (1990), Jungle Fever (1991) and Amos & Andrew (1993).
Moved to New York City at age 19 and worked with the Circle Repertory Company, appearing in many off-Broadway and Woodstock, New York productions.
His father, who owned and operated a dye factory, died when Brad was three.
Attended Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia in 1969 but dropped out.
Out of all the Child's Play films - Bride of Chucky (1998) is his favorite.
Taught acting and directing classes at Columbia University in the City of New York.
Attended and graduated from Fountain Valley School in Colorado Springs, Colorado (1968).
Moved to Los Angeles, California in 1988.
His father was born in France, and was of three quarters French and one quarter English ancestry. His mother was born in New York, to parents from Virginia, who also had English ancestry (including deep colonial American roots).
Has worked with director Werner Herzog in four films: Scream of Stone (1991), The Wild Blue Yonder (2005), Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009) and My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (2009).
Has appeared in two Best Picture Academy Award winners: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003).
Parents are Jean Henri Dourif and Joan Mavis Felton.
Though Dourif had not been on stage in nearly three decades, he chose to star alongside Amanda Plummer in the Off-Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' The Two-Character Play that played to critical acclaim at the New World Stages. He explained, in a filmed interview released by the producers, why he broke his 29-year hiatus from acting in live theater: "I hated the stage, did not want to do it. And then somebody said, 'Will you do a play? It's with Amanda Plummer', and I said, 'Oh shit! No. Oh God, I'm gonna have to do this...'". It opened on June 10, 2013 and closed on September 29, 2013. The play was subject to a number of performance cancellations, one relating to Dourif's absence, due to a death in the family. Plummer refused to perform without Dourif, notwithstanding the presence of an understudy.
He played the role of Stephen in a stage production of the play "When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder". Dourif was asked to reprise the role for the film version, but turned said offer down because he didn't want to work with Marjoe Gortner. The role went to Peter Firth.
He was Michael Cimino's choice to play Steven in The Deer Hunter (1978). The role went to John Savage, though Cimino would cast Dourif in his next film, Heaven's Gate (1980).
In 1981, Vincent Canby listed Dourif as one of twelve actors to watch, calling Dourif "one of the most intense, most interesting young film actors of his generation".

Personal Quotes (24)

[on if he prefers to play edgier twisted characters] Well, I've been cast as them... and I like to work, so I take those roles. You know, you try to be diverse, and try to have fun and round things out.
I'm formally trained, I don't know what classically trained really means. I've worked with Sanford Meisner. And I've worked at Circle Rep with Marshall W. Mason and Lanford Wilson and some really good people. I was lucky. I had a lot of really good influences.
I prefer film to the stage. I always like the rehearsal better than I like performing.
I'm a whore. If they have a check and camera and a script and stuff for me to say, I am mostly there, unless I just can't take it. No, really, I do like to work. It just depends on whether there is a whole lot of stuff for me to choose from, because if there is I am choosy. If there's not a lot of work, then I try to find some redeeming value in the parts being offered. If it is awful, then, of course, I can't do it. But I have to say, I am pretty lucky in that there are usually things coming in. That said, sometimes it is slow.
I am good when there is something central about the character. There is always a human theme I attach myself to. I am really looking for something that is moving or enlightening or something with depth as an actor. I look for these kinds of roles.
I am the type of person that once I make a decision, I must execute. Maybe I am a perfectionist in this way.
There is nothing wrong with horror films. Their existence has definitely had an impact on me. It is important to have scary demons in our world on film. We have them in the world. That is why we are afraid, it is nice to have a visual and to have a confrontation with it.
[To Michael Cimino during post production in Heaven's Gate (1980)] I told Michael, you know man... This thing better be good, because if it isn't, they're gonna kill ya!
I couldn't sit through a scary movie myself to save my life. When I was young, I really loved Halloween and I loved to tell spooky stories, but that didn't last.
(on working with John Huston in Wise Blood (1979)) I was very scared and uncomfortable. I was the lead. I was insecure. I didn't think I could act my way out of a paper bag, you know. Oddly enough, he was the one who left me alone the most.
When I take a role, the criteria is feeding my family. That comes first. I have to work with what's available, like everybody else.
Being a character actor is a very insecure life. You don't always get to do what you want. I guess the reason I've held on is because I love it.
(on his acting style) Normally, the way I work is I try to learn everything kind of mechanically, without any feeling, and I let that come as it goes along. That's the way I was taught. After a certain amount of time, you get better and better and better and then it just comes. What you can do unconsciously, when it's an accident and you don't mean to do it, is the best stuff. All (acting) technique is based on when it's not working.
(on filming Fatal Beauty (1987)) (Director) Tom (Holland) and Whoopi (Goldberg) hated each other, it was a tense set. I've never seen two people hate each other more. I don't think she liked him from the get-go, and second of all Whoopi wanted to do an anti-drug film and that's not what the film was.
(on the difference working on big budget and low budget films) Well, when I'm working well, there's no difference at all, because I don't care. Except, you know, the place you go to after and in between is nicer, a lot of times. Independents can be the best experience of them all, because you know the crew better, you know the cinematographer better, everybody's a lot less pretentious... You have less time, because independents don't have any money, so they shoot very fast. It used to be different, independents used to have nice, long shooting schedules. It was very common; 13 or 14 weeks was a very common shooting schedule. Now six weeks is pretty average, and that's very fast to make a movie.
(on getting involved in acting) Well, my mother was an actress. She married my father and moved to West Virginia where my grandfather had built a factory, and that was the end of her career. When I was young, she used to read to us all. She read Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer and King Arthur, and a bunch of really good books. She would always become all the characters; I just remember everything was very alive. I really felt I was wherever she said I was; she was very talented. She was in a play, and I went to a rehearsal and I watched her rehearse, she was doing Anastasia. She was incredible, and it just made me want to learn how to act.
I am good when there is something central about the character. There is always a human theme I attach myself to. I am really looking for something that is moving or enlightening or something with depth as an actor. I look for these kinds of roles.
We all have an edge. We all are floating our psyche on top with a great ocean underneath.
You know, you try to be diverse, and try to have fun and round things out.
If it's stage, the two most important artists are the actor and the playwright. If it's film, THE most important person is the director. The director says where the camera goes.
If it wasn't for the devil, we wouldn't be here, would we?
Gee, I certainly hope I'm not a scary person in real life. It's not like people run from me when they see me. People are usually pretty nice when they meet me. If they're scared, they keep their shuddering to themselves.
The universe is dynamic. When we are creative, we are the most alive and in touch with it.
Of course, I would like to play the guy next door, but nobody's going to hire me for that kind of role.

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