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Steven Berkoff Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (16) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (3)

Born in Stepney, London, England, UK
Birth NameLeslie Steven Berks
Height 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Highly acclaimed English actor, playwright, author and director continues to set the benchmark in stunning, intense performances on both stage and screen. Berkoff was born in Stepney, London in August 1937 and received dramatic arts training in both Paris and London and then moved on to performing with several repertory companies, before he formed the London Theatre Group in 1968. Berkoff had actually been appearing in uncredited roles in UK cinema since 1959, and started to get noticed by casting agents with his performances in Hamlet at Elsinore (1964), Nicholas and Alexandra (1971), A Clockwork Orange (1971) and Barry Lyndon (1975).

Mainstream film fans are probably most familiar with Steven Berkoff via his portrayal of a trio of ice cold villains in several big budget Hollywood productions of the 1980s. Firstly, he played a rogue general plotting to launch a war in Europe in Octopussy (1983), then a drug smuggling art dealer out to kill Detroit narcotics officer Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop (1984), and thirdly as a sadistic Russian commando officer torturing Sylvester Stallone in Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985).

Berkoff continued to contribute scintillating performances and was quite memorable as Adolf Hitler in War and Remembrance (1988), The Krays (1990) and the haunting The Tell-Tale Heart (1991). Further villainous roles followed for the steely Berkoff in Fair Game (1995) and the Jean-Claude Van Damme kick flick Legionnaire (1998). He excelled in the camp comedy 9 Dead Gay Guys (2002), played UK crime figure Charlie Richardson Snr. in Charlie (2004) and then appeared in the passionate Greek film about mail order brides simply titled, Nyfes (2004) ("Brides").

His screen performances are but one part of the brilliance of Steven Berkoff, as he has additionally built a formidable reputation for his superb craftsmanship in the theatre. Berkoff has written and performed original plays including "Decadence", "Harry's Christmas Lunch" "Brighton Beach Scumbags" and "Sink the Belgrano", as well as appearing in productions of "Hamlet", "Macbeth" and "Coriolanus" to rapturous audiences right across the globe. Furthermore, he has authored several highly entertaining books on the theatre and his life including "The Theatre of Steven Berkoff", "Coriolanus in Deutscheland", "A Prisoner in Rio", "I am Hamlet" and "Meditations on Metamorphosis".

- IMDb Mini Biography By: firehouse44@hotmail.com

Spouse (2)

Shelley Lee (August 1976 - ?) (divorced)
Alison Minto (January 1970 - ?) (divorced)

Trade Mark (1)

Plays Villains

Trivia (16)

Deported from the USA due to a "deficiency in his documentation". Berkoff violated visa regulations in 1997 by staying one day longer than he was supposed to. [June 2002]
After being deported in June 2002, Berkoff accused the US authorities of "Post September 11 hysteria". Ironically, shortly afterwards he performed a tribute about 9/11 at the Edinburgh festival fringe. He gave a solo performance entitled "Requiem For Ground Zero" at the Assembly Rooms, where his epic poem lasted for almost an hour.
Trained at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, whose alumni include Terence Stamp, Hugh Bonneville, Rupert Friend, Angela Lansbury, Matthew Goode, Sue Johnston, Minnie Driver and Julian Fellowes.
Has acted in both the Doctor Who Franchise and the Eon James Bond franchise.
He played the Florentine preacher Girolamo Savonarola in both A Season of Giants (1990) and The Borgias (2011).
Considered for the roles of Dr. Armstong and Bukovsky in Lifeforce (1985).
He is of Russian Jewish and Romanian Jewish descent.
He was considered for many guest roles in Doctor Who (1963) - Commander Vorshak in "Warriors of The Deep", Commander Lytton in "Resurrection of the Daleks", Maylin Tekker in "Timelash", and Ratcliffe in "Remembrance of the Daleks". He would later play Shakri Doctor Who: The Power of Three (2012).
He was considered to play Dick Jones in Robocop (1987).
As of 2016, has appeared in three films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: Nicholas and Alexandra (1971), A Clockwork Orange (1971) and Barry Lyndon (1975).
He was awarded the 1982 Drama Logue Award for Outstanding Direction for "Metamorphosis" at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
In 2012, Berkoff, with others, wrote in support of Israel's national theatre, Habima, performing in London.
Berkoff has stated that he accepts roles in Hollywood only to subsidise his theatre work, and that he regards many of the films in which he has appeared as lacking artistic merit.
In 1996, Berkoff won Berkoff vs. Burchill, a libel civil action that he brought against Sunday Times journalist Julie Burchill after she published comments suggesting that he was "hideously ugly". The judge ruled for Berkoff, finding that Burchill's actions "held him to ridicule and contempt.".
He was offered the role of Frank Booth in Blue Velvet (1986), but turned it down, saying "there was nothing in that part except destruction".
He was offered the role of Rostrov in Invasion U.S.A. (1985), but passed because of the violence.

Personal Quotes (2)

The great actors we had came from actor/manager theaters. Not only did they create a team, they were the generals working with the soldiers.
The BBC is meant to represent values - honesty, decency, values - ITV is not. Why should they compete? ITV does that stinking, sodding Coronation Street (1960) until you get brained out. Then the BBC comes out with that stinky, slobbing, clichéd, mindless, moronic EastEnders (1985).

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