Christopher McDonald, has acted in 85 films and numerous television and theater productions. He was born in New York City, one of seven children. He actually grew up in Romulus, a small town in upstate New York, where his father was the high school principal and musical director. He first attended undergraduate school at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York, and later studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, and the Stella Adler Acting Conservatory in New York.
Chris has appeared in such films as Grease 2 (1982), Dutch (1991), Thelma & Louise (1991) and Quiz Show (1994). He is often recognized as golf pro Shooter McGavin from Happy Gilmore (1996). "Harry's Law" (2011)
Chris resides in Southern California with his wife and four children.
|Lupe Gidley||(1992 - present) 4 children|
Attended Hobart College in Geneva, New York.
His wife Lupe gave birth to their fourth child, a daughter, Ava Catherine - weight eight pounds two ounces. [September 3, 2001]
Older brother of actor Daniel McDonald
Studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and the Stella Adler Acting Conservatory in New York.
Theatre credits include the Obie Award-winning musical Nightclub Cantata, Hay Fever, Bouncers and the Los Angeles Theatre Center's productions of Hamlet, Othello and The Taming Of The Shrew.
Is friends with actress Sheryl Lee.
Son Jackson Riley McDonald (born December 22nd 1990) and Daughters Hannah Elizabeth McDonald (born October 20th 1993) and Rosie McDonald (born 1996).
Enjoys racing cars and has raced in the Long Beach Grand Prix as well as on tracks in Germany.
Is an avid pilot.
Enjoys skiing and fishing.
His favorite NFL team is the Buffalo Bills.
Actors think the grass is always greener. When you do a play, you wish you could be making easy money doing a film, because you work your butt off on the stage. Then you do your television and say, 'God, if I have to do this one more time, I'll just go crazy.' I think any actor would rather do quality work than the episodic TV which pays the rent.
If you're gonna learn how to do something, you'd better learn to do it right.
(2011, on Family Law) Boy, that was a blast. I went in to meet Paul Haggis, and I wasn't cast 'cause what happens in television-and this is why I became a film actor out of necessity-is that if you don't look a certain way, you don't get the part. I could act it, but, nope, you gotta have that twinkle and the pearly white Chiclet teeth and all that stuff. I'm, like, "That's not me, I'm sorry, I don't do that." So I went away and did a play in New York, and a phone call came in saying, "Do you remember this show called Family Law?" I went, "Yeah, I read for it during pilot season." "They're making the pilot right now, they're in Vancouver, and they're firing the guy. Would you go and do it?" "Uh...yeah, I guess so. I don't know where the script is, but, yeah, okay." They gave me a script, I got on a plane and flew to Vancouver, and there wasn't a lot to do in the pilot, anyway, so it was a no-brainer. I won't mention the actor's name, because he's a very good guy, and because it's happened to me before where I was replaced for something. So I replaced this actor, we ended up doing the show for four seasons, and there were some deliciously lovely actors that I got to work with: Kathleen Quinlan, Dixie Carter, and Julie Warner. And then I think it was in season three that they brought on Tony Danza. It was just a really crazy mix of people, but I had a lot of fun doing that, and I learned a lot, too. I was basically the gives-lawyers-a-bad-name kind of lawyer. I had my face on the bench ads, and on the buses driving by. "Need an attorney? Rex Weller got me $2.5 million!" I was an ambulance-chaser. And for the first two seasons, I was the only male voice on Family Law. When they brought on Tony, he became the alpha male, and I just kind of would do different cases on the side and stuff like that. But it was a very good experience, and it helped me buy my house. I thank Paul Haggis for helping me buy my house.
(2011, on Leave It To Beaver) I was walking in a piazza d'artista-I guess that's what it called-in Italy, and my cell phone rings, and it's from the States. And I usually don't answer it, 'cause it's gonna cost me, like, four bucks a minute, but it was a producer that I'd just done Happy Gilmore with, and he said, "We're doing Leave It To Beaver, and we want you to play Ward." I said, "Ward Cleaver...? Talk about iconic. Hugh Beaumont? Fantastic! Uh, you don't have any idea where I am, though, do you?" He goes, "Nah. What are you, in the valley?" "I'm in Italy." It was one of those phone calls you never forget. So of course I said, "Yes," got the script and worked on it with the cast. They searched the country to find a little Beaver, found him, and the kid, Cameron, was great. I just had a really great time. It was a lovely family film, and there's one scene in it, the teacup scene, which is probably one of my favorites for two reasons. One, it was the scene that had all the heart. It's where he forgave his son for screwing up-that's what happens in life-and it was a really good father-and-son talk. But most importantly, that was the day that my daughter Rosie was born. So I missed her birth to be in the teacup scene.
(2011, on Star Trek: The Next Generation and his role as "Lt. Richard Castillo") I was doing a play at the time-I was playing Biff in Death Of A Salesman in downtown Los Angeles-and they sent me over the script for a Star Trek: The Next Generation, which I occasionally watch. I was a fan. And the character came in as... I think it was, like, Roberto Castillo. And I said, "How the hell am I going to play Roberto Castillo? That's so... ethnic. I can't do that. That's a Spanish guy." But I decided I was going to go. I said, "I'm going, and I'm gonna give it my best." 'Cause it was on my favorite lot: Paramount. I went in, sat down, and everybody else in the room was, of course, Hispanic. So I waited in the waiting room, then I went in and had at it, auditioning with the director, David Carson, who later went on to a really big future with the show. And they changed the name to Richard Castillo. So, you know, it was a chance to sit in the captain's chair on the Enterprise-C and say, "Take us to warp speed!" It was definitely "pinch me" time. It was really, really great. And I think I've had more letters from that one episode, from people who are just dying for me to go and sign these very rare pictures for their collections. They're avid fans. Trekkies, I guess. But I haven't accepted a convention yet. But one day, when I have nothing else on my schedule, I'll be like, "Hey, time to go to a convention!"
(2011, on Grease 2) Goose McKenzie! That was one of the happiest times I ever had on a set, 'cause you never forget your first. This was my first biggie, and all the singing and dancing and... boy, just the five auditions to get that part! I was trying to get Johnny Nogerelli, but you couldn't wash the Irish off of my face. So by the time I got turned down on the fourth, they said, "Why don't you come in tomorrow and meet Robert Stigwood and Allan Carr and all these people? We're gonna put the T-Birds together and mix and match." And I said, "Well, I've got nothing else to do tomorrow." I was really down when I didn't get it, but then I went in as Goose McKenzie, I'd lifted all the pressure off of myself, and I was completely relaxed. And I had a brilliant time. That kind of auditioning has helped me ever since. I got the part, I had a blast. They would give us time to ride our motorcycles around, and none of the other T-Birds rode motorcycles, but I had been riding since I was 10, so it was free time for me to just ride around the school hallways. That's something you never get to do in life-especially since my father was the principal of my high school! Yeah, that never would've happened. So that was a blast. That was just a really, really fun movie. And I met a lot of lifelong friends from it. And, strangely enough, people who are now in their early 30s are going, "Oh my God, I loved you in Grease 2!" They'll see me and go, "Oh my God, it's Goose!" "What were you, 9?"
(2011, on Harry's Law) Tommy J! Now that's just one of the greatest parts. In my life-well, in any actor's life-you get five good ones. I'm gonna have to bump one off my list and put Tommy Jefferson up there as one of my top five. I love it. He's a blast, he's mercurial, he can go anywhere, he's got a heart of gold underneath all of that braggadocio. The character was initially brought on to do a quick arc, but David [E. Kelley] caught on it, got the voice, started writing it, and started tailoring it toward me, and... wow. I'm blessed. It's one of the greatest parts I've played in a long time. And to have people stop me on the street and go, "Tommy J!" It used to be when I was going through airports, they'd usually just go, "Shooter!" Now they go, "It's Tommy Jefferson! Tommy Big Boy!" Too funny.
(2011, on Thelma And Louise) That's what started the whole bad-guy thing. Darryl was, yeah, he was a pretty bad guy. But, I mean, I know a lot of guys like that. You see governors and other politicians who are, like, "Yeah, we're a happy family, everything's great... and this is my call girl, and this is me getting caught with my call girl!" That kind of stuff. I'm sure Darryl was doing that kind of stuff on the side. Ultimately, he loved Thelma, but at the same time, the movie says the girls go, "I've got a choice: go back to my husband, or we drive off a cliff together." "Hey, why not?" So you figure the guy's got to be pretty bad. Opening week, the movie's out, it's getting a lot of buzz, and I'm driving my dad's Cadillac that he'd lent me for a while. The top's down, I'm feeling pretty good about myself, it's been a pretty good week, and these two girls pull up next to me. The one in the passenger seat says, "Oh, my God, it's the guy from Thelma And Louise!" The driver looks over at me, and all she says is, "Shoot him." True story. Oh, my God, that made me laugh. But I was not very likable, that's for sure. But I had a really, really fun time doing it. Ridley Scott was a tremendous director and a tremendous audience. He gave me the confidence to keep going, so I kept going, and he loved it. It was a lot of fun. That's what really blew a lot of doors open in Hollywood for me. I think my biggest film in Hollywood before that was Chances Are, which was a year or two before. So it was a big thrill to work with these great actors and actresses, and the wonderful visual brilliance of Ridley Scott and Adrian Biddle, the cinematographer. Beautiful locations, great music, and the cover of Time. Who knew? Also, there was some guy in it. Pitt. I wanna say Bruce Pitt...? [Laughs.] Yeah, that guy. He was in it, too. He wasn't supposed to be, though. It was supposed to be Billy Baldwin. But he pulled out at the last minute because he wanted to go work with Ron Howard on Backdraft. So Brad Pitt came in, and out of nowhere he just became the ab king. I mean, he was very good in the movie. He was great. But what most people remember is that scene with Geena [Davis] in the bedroom where he's telling her how to rob a store. He flashes his abs, and all of the girls melted. I mean, what the hell? I've got an ab, too, you know!
(2011, on Requiem For A Dream) Yeah, that was a very interesting movie. Talk about great filmmakers, Darren Aronofsky is arguably in a league of his own. He's terrific. It's an insane movie. The first time I saw the movie, it was in Cannes with the whole group-we'd rented a house together-and it was the midnight screening. Everybody's in tuxes, we go in, and it was an eight-minute standing ovation afterwards. I looked over at Darren Aronofsky at one point in the film-he's two seats away-and I'm going, "Are you kidding me?" He goes, "Oh, no, it gets better!" Or worse, however you look at it. It's a dark movie with a very, very strong anti-drug message. It had more edits in it than any film before or after. They just went to town on it. Beautifully shot by Matty Libatique. Just very groundbreaking. I did all my stuff in New York in about six days, maybe four days. A lot of my stuff was ad-libbed. I met Darren Aronofsky in his little walk-up apartment in Hell's Kitchen, and we shot these interviews up on the roof, and we'd shoot interviews of me walking down the street talking, and people would recognize me from one of my past films, and I'd go right into Tappy Tibbons. He had three things: no meat, no sugar, and the third one you never really know. But he started a website, and people were gonna go in and be like, "What's the third one?" I think it's "no orgasms," personally. Makes sense, right? So, yeah, that was a great experience. I still see Darren from time to time. He's just getting better and better and better. The Wrestler was absolutely spectacular, and Black Swan? Come on. Just great stuff.
(2011, on Into Thin Air: Death On Everest) Done by one of my favorite directors, Bob Markowitz, who I'd worked with before. One of the nicest, most brilliant men. He really fought for me to play this part. It was on ABC, it was topical, and I don't look a damned thing like Jon Krakauer. I started growing a beard immediately when I knew I was on the hunt for it. I got to meet Jon, I read the book and the screenplay, and I said, "Okay, I'm the man!" Now, we're working at a base camp at 10,000 feet in Austria, and we got up to 16,000 feet. We'd take this things we called rat tracks-they looked like Caterpillars, but they were people-movers-and they moved the whole crew up to the mountain to shoot. The wind was blowing, and when it wasn't blowing enough, these Russians-well, it was an international crew-had big riggers up there, and they would throw ice chips in front of the fan that would shoot right at you. And you couldn't wear your goggles, because then the audience wouldn't know who you were as a character. So I was, like, "I'm gonna go blind doing In Thin Air!" But it worked out okay. My biggest concern was well, of course, telling the story the right way, and working with a director that I was very comfortable with, I think I did some really good work in it. And I would not complain once. Yes, it was cold. Yes, it was late. Yes, we shot at night, and, yes, it was bitter. Two people went home 'cause they couldn't cut it, so they had to recast in Europe. Actually, I think maybe one girl came from New York. But you had to be tough. I mean, this was mountain-climbing! And I loved it. You know, I live at 6,000 feet, so I was already a little bit acclimatized, but when you're shooting at 16,000 feet, you take three steps and you're huffing and puffing and going, "Where's the oxygen?" So I basically led the way with a very good cast, and I think we told the story really well. Jon Krakauer came and was fascinated with the filmmaking, and we were fascinated by his story. It was a great experience. I've been back to the area since then to see the people there. I mean, we stayed in that hotel for eight weeks. So I brought my family there, too. It was really nice.
(2011, on Happy Gilmore) I turned that movie down twice. I had seen Adam [Sandler] in a movie called Billy Madison, and I'd seen him on Saturday Night Live, and I thought he was funny. Opera Man wasn't exactly my favorite. "I am Opera Man! I think this is funny!" But I turned it down because I was really tired. I'd just done two movies back-to-back in Vancouver. But they said, "They'd really like for you to play this Shooter McGavin guy." And I'm, like, "Ugh, it's another bad guy. I don't wanna do that." "Yeah, but at least it's a funny movie." And it did look pretty funny. So that weekend, I played a golf tournament in Seattle, and I won. And I thought, "You know, it would be fun to do that golf movie, maybe." So I drove back up to Vancouver when I heard that they were still looking, and I said, "I want to meet Adam." And within 15 minutes, I knew I had to do this movie, 'cause this man was absolutely sick and funny and very smart-very, very smart. And that's when I decided it would be a really good idea to do it. I haven't worked with him since, though. I don't know what that means. No, I'm kidding, I have. He's hired me for a couple of little giveaway parts. But I'm, like, "Adam, you're always hiring your boys to play the big parts." And he goes, "Oh, McDonald, you're working all the time, anyway. But still, you're always gonna be Shooter." I'm, like, "Yeah, but I can do a hundred different...oh, whatever." But I had a lot of fun doing that part as a villain who was in on the joke. I liked that part about it, that I could play it that way, and they let me do it. Also, my golf game got sick. I was playing golf five hours a day for six days a week. It was nutty. I was pretty good at that time. And now I basically get to play golf for free for the rest of my life, which is pretty good, too.
(2011, on You've Reached The Elliott's) That was a pretty funny pilot that didn't get picked up, unfortunately. It was the Chris Elliott show, basically. It was about his family, and he had a beautiful daughter, a sister, and his sister was married to Phil. And Phil was the brother-in-law nobody likes to have. He was the quintessential blowhard, basically. He was a know-it-all, and he would just at every opportunity try to bring Chris down. We got huge laughs from the thing, but you know how it is with pilot season. They just go, "Ah, well, you didn't get picked up." But it was at the same network, CBS, where I did Family Law, so I saw some old pals when we made it. I really wanted it to go, because that's probably the easiest job in show business, sitcoms. Like, we're working right now next to Two And A Half Men, and I swear to God, they get there at 10 in the morning on Monday and they're out of there at 11:30. Tuesday they're there from 10 'til about 1:30, but right after lunch, it's, "Bye-bye, see ya!" Wednesday, it's kind of the same thing, and then one day they put on make-up, they do two shows, they have a party, and then they start again on Monday. Pretty easy, right? Whereas we're putting in 60, 70-hour weeks, we're getting up at 5:30 for our first call and leaving sometimes at 7:30, 8:30 at night. And we're doing legalese on top of it! But when you look back at the quality of the work? I'm delighted to have that.
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