Born in Niskayuna (Schenectady county), New York, Eric Thal attended Haverford Preparatory School in Haverford, Pennsylvania in 1983 were he was Student Council President. He then moved on to attend Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania where he majored in engineering. With the encouragement of his acting teacher Richard Bruer he left school after one year to pursue acting. At The Neighbourhood Playhouse Theatre he studied with Richard Pinter and studied classical theatre with Ada Brown Mather.
After working in commercials and as a magician in New York City, he auditioned for a small role in Sidney Lumet's film A Stranger Among Us (1992). Lumet was so impressed by the young actor, the director invited back to audition for the leading role. Although he had virtually no professional credits, Thal landed the role of an Hasidic scholar who becomes involved with an undercover police officer (Melanie Griffith).
While the film failed to impress critics or the public, Thal's carefully measured intensity and equanimity were praised. He subsequently played a police officer (and the anti-heroine's husband) in the farcical The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag (1992) and followed up with a small role in Six Degrees of Separation (1993), as a heterosexual driven to suicide after an intimate encounter with a con artist (Will Smith).
Thal later co-starred as Donald Sutherland's disaffected son in The Puppet Masters (1994) and as a man who must face romance after the excitement has worn off in Joe's So Mean to Josephine (1996). He segued to the small screen playing the hirsute strongman in the TNT Biblical epic Samson and Delilah (1996) (TV), opposite Elizabeth Hurley. The following year, Thal was cast as a musician engaged to Halle Berry in the ABC TV-movie The Wedding (1998) (TV).
Attended Haverford School outside of Philadelphia and wrestled for legendary coach Neil Buckley.
Starred in an unaired pilot called "Ultraviolet".
Used to be a magician when he was a teenager.
Is in a relationship with Charlize Theron (September 2010).
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