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Bruce Dern Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (3)  | Trade Mark (4)  | Trivia (25)  | Personal Quotes (26)

Overview (3)

Born in Chicago, Illinois, USA
Birth NameBruce MacLeish Dern
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Two-time Oscar nominee Bruce Dern's tremendous career is made up of playing both modern day heroes and legendary villains. Through decades of lauded performances, Dern has acquired the reputation of being one of the most talented and prolific actors of his generation. Dern has several high profile independent projects appearing in the film arena, including the highly anticipated Chappaquiddick (2017), where he portrays Joe Kennedy, "The Peanut Butter Falcon" and "White Boy Rick" opposite Matthew McConaughey (Sony Pictures). He also stars with Jane Fonda and Robert Redford in the Netflix film "Our Souls at Night" (Fall 2017). Dern's other 2017/2018 titles include "Class Rank," "Warning Shot," "Abilene," "The Lears," "American Dresser" and "Nostalgia."

Bruce MacLeish Dern was born in 1936 in Chicago, Illinois, to Jean (MacLeish) and John Henry Dern, a utility chief and attorney. His grandfather, George Dern, was then FDR's Secretary of War.

A celebrated stage actor, Dern was trained by famed director Elia Kazan at the legendary The Actor's Studio and made his film debut in Kazan's "Wild River" in 1960. In the 60's, Dern also found success as a distinguished television actor. He appeared regularly in contemporary Western TV series, as well as on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." Mr. Hitchcock was such a fan of Dern's that he cast him in "Marnie" and "Family Plot" (Hitchcock's final film). Also during the '60s, Dern went on to work with director Roger Corman and appeared in several of his classic and decade defining films including "Wild Angels." He also received critical success during that time for films such as "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" and "Drive, He Said." Dern goes down in history for his role as Long Hair in "The Cowboys," in which he became the only man ever to kill John Wayne on screen.

Dern went on to star in such classic films like "The King of Marvin Gardens" with Jack Nicholson and Ellen Burstyn as well as playing Tom Buchanan in "The Great Gatsby" (for which he received a Golden Globe nomination). It was his brilliant and powerful performance in Hal Ashby's "Coming Home" that earned him both an Academy Award and Golden Globe nomination.

Dern has starred in over 100 films in his career, including: "Monster," "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte," "Silent Running," "Smile," "Middle Age Crazy," "That Championship Season," "Tattoo," "The 'Burbs," "The Haunting," "All the Pretty Horses," "Masked and Anonymous," "Down in the Valley," "Astronaut Farmer," "The Cake Eaters," "Black Sunday," "Madison," "Diggstown," "Twixt" and "Last Man Standing."

In 2015, Dern reteamed with his "Django Unchained" director Quentin Tarantino in the ambitious & critically-acclaimed "The Hateful Eight." In 2013, Dern earned his second Academy Award nomination for his heralded role in Alexander Payne's "Nebraska." That role also garnered him a Best Actor Award from the Cannes Film Festival and the National Board of Review. He was also nominated for a BAFTA, Golden Globe, Independent Spirit Award, Broadcast Film Critics Association Award and Screen Actors Guild Award. Dern was also nominated for an Emmy in 2011 for his portrayal of polygamist patriarch Frank Harlow in HBO's hit drama "Big Love."

Dern has received several Lifetime Achievement Awards from various film festivals. In 2010, Dern received the prestigious Hollywood Walk of Fame star along with his ex-wife Diane Ladd & daughter Laura Dern, the only family in history to receive their Stars in one ceremony.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Wallman PR

Spouse (3)

Andrea Beckett (20 October 1969 - present)
Diane Ladd (1960 - 1969) ( divorced) ( 2 children)
Marie Dawn Pierce (7 September 1957 - 1959) ( divorced)

Trade Mark (4)

Often works with Roger Corman
Often works with Jack Nicholson
Often plays villainous or psychotic characters
Often appears in Western movies, usually as henchmen or murderers

Trivia (25)

Alumnus of New Trier Township High School East, Winnetka, Illinois. Other New Trier graduates include Ralph Bellamy, Charlton Heston, Rock Hudson, Hugh B. O'Brien, Ann-Margret, Penelope Milford, Virginia Madsen and Liz Phair.
Born at 3:11am-CDT
Is one of the few actors to have killed John Wayne on screen (The Cowboys (1972)). He even received some death threats out of that.
Had two daughters with Diane Ladd. His eldest daughter, Diane Dern, was born November 27, 1960, and accidentally drowned in California on May 18, 1962 at just shy of 18 months of age, years before his second child, Laura Dern, was born in 1967.
His grandfather, George Dern, was a Governor of Utah, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt's first Secretary of War, including at the time of Bruce's birth. His father was a law partner with Adlai Stevenson and his brother in Chicago.
Great-nephew of poet Archibald Macleish.
Former father-in-law of (musician) Ben Harper.
Eleanor Roosevelt was his babysitter.
Has Dutch, English, German, Scottish, and Scots-Irish/Northern Irish ancestry.
An avid runner and ultra-marathoner, having run many 50 mile races.
Was a competitive middle distance runner at the University of Pennsylvania.
Is one of two actors to appear in movies directed by Alfred Hitchcock and Quentin Tarantino (Rod Taylor is the other).
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6270 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on November 1, 2010.
Seventeen years after daughter Laura Dern starred in Alexander Payne's first major film Citizen Ruth (1996), Bruce starred in Payne's Nebraska (2013) -- probably one of the few, if only, times in movie history that a father-daughter duo similarly starred in the same director's films, especially with the actress/daughter's performance preceding her actor/father's.
Became a father for the first time at age 25 when his second [now ex] wife Diane Ladd gave birth to their daughter Diane Elizabeth Dern in 1961.
Became a father for the second time at age 30 when his second [now ex] wife Diane Ladd gave birth to their daughter Laura Elizabeth Dern, aka Laura Dern on February 10, 1967.
Became a grandfather for the first time at age 65 when his daughter Laura Dern gave birth to her son Ellery Walker Harper, with [now ex] husband Ben Harper, on August 10, 2001.
Became a grandfather for the second time at age 68 when his daughter Laura Dern gave birth to her daughter Jaya Harper, with [now ex] husband Ben Harper, on November 28, 2004.
Claims that he has never smoked outside of the movies, or drank alcohol or coffee, due to his commitment to marathon running.
As of 2014, has appeared in three films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: Coming Home (1978), Django Unchained (2012) and Nebraska (2013).
Has appeared in five films with Jack Nicholson: The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967), Psych-Out (1968), The Rebel Rousers (1970) Drive, He Said (1971) and The King of Marvin Gardens (1972).
Is a supporter of the Chelsea Football Club.
In his first western appearance, an episode of Wagon Train (1957) in 1963, he played a character who was shot and killed. His character was shot and killed in the western The Hateful Eight (2015) 52 years later.
Jack Nicholson coined the term "a dernsie" for unscripted improvisations; either dialogue or behavioral quirks; that Bruce would come up with while filming.
He and his daughter Laura Dern have both appeared in films opposite Samuel L. Jackson. Bruce worked with him in Uncle Tom's Cabin (1987), Django Unchained (2012), and The Hateful Eight (2015), while Laura appeared with him in Jurassic Park (1993).

Personal Quotes (26)

Because I'm the only actor who ever killed John Wayne in a picture, producers have pegged me for a villain.
I've played more psychotics and freaks and dopers than anyone.
[on his fight scene with John Wayne] He walloped me bad.
I never look back and say, "I wish I had played that role or this role". I never do that. You're only as good as your next film. I look forward; I always feel that you have to continue onward and upward, you can't look back. I became an actor because I felt I was interested in what makes human beings do what they do, particularly in times of crisis. That kind of acting is what I like to do.
I'm only too proud to say that I've never had ANY discipline problems with Laura [Laura Dern, his daughter]. In fact, I never needed to lay a hand on her, because Diane [Diane Ladd, his former wife and Laura's mother] was so much better at keeping her in line than I was.
[on James Dean] Dean was so real. I believed he was the real person, that he wasn't acting. See, I never thought Rock Hudson was real. Or any of the guys in the forefront then -- Gregory Peck, Paul Newman and them.
[on Peter Fonda] In The Trip (1967) I started to get fed up. I was fed up because Peter Fonda was a star and I wasn't. And Peter couldn't act. I'm sorry, man, he just can't act. He never bothered to sit and learn. He never studied. And he just kind of larked out. Now I don't begrudge the fact that he has talent. But he's not an actor, by any stretch of the imagination.
[on Charlton Heston] And I got to really like the guy. A lot of people told me that I wouldn't like him, but I liked him. And he tried very hard. I mean, Will Penny (1967) is far and away the best thing he's ever done.
I haven't had many love affairs on-screen. In The Great Gatsby (1974), I had one with Karen Black. Then I broke her nose.
[on The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant (1971)] I look on it as a fond memory. It brought me together with my wife. The film was a nightmare to make, but I got married with the money I made from that movie: $1750.
That's a part of my personality that has not been seen before in a movie. If there's anything Bruce hasn't been in his career, it's still. I didn't want to be Bruce. I'd been Bruce, and it didn't work.
The roles I got were the ones 15 guys turned down. Seventeen people turned down Silent Running (1972)... I got panicky financially, spiritually. I got to feeling maybe people weren't seeing the work that I could do, either because the movies weren't good, or maybe I wasn't good in the movies.
[2013, observation on his career] I knew it would be longer than a marathon. I was in a hurry only to get the opportunities that my peers were getting. That never came along until Nebraska (2013). I'm going to one-hundred. I'm going to play roles people will never forget.
[on the possibility of being pushed for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in Nebraska (2013)] My take is this: the story is about who Woody is and where he's going. It's probably 50-50 screen time with Will Forte, but Woody is a leading role. If I go supporting, I'm a whore. Because I never came to Hollywood to win an award. I came to do good movies. If I go supporting, it's embarrassing to the Academy because it looks like I'm trying to sneak in somehow so I can eat all those chicken and peas dinners. I'd rather go the right way than backdoor my way into a supporting because of my age or whatever. I would be thrilled if I was nominated, and to have a nomination is the win.
[on Elia Kazan] Kazan, I don't care what his politics were - the man had game. He knew how to see a movie before it began.
[on Alexander Payne] I may put Alexander as the best director I ever worked with. When he looks through the eyepiece of a camera, he sees something no one else sees. He sees magic. And his gift is, he can explain how and why he sees magic and put it on film.
[on meeting Marilyn Monroe at the Actors Studio] She leaned over to me and, I'd never met her - she's Marilyn Monroe, I'm Brucy from Winnetka - and she said, "Oh, you're Gadge's new wunderkind, aren't you?" And I said, "Oh, come on please. He doesn't say that." She said, 'Yes, he does. He also says nobody's going to know who you are until you're in your late 60s.".
[on Lawrence of Arabia (1962)] I saw David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia in 1962. I'd been an actor for four years. All my life, I've been fascinated by people that get shit done. T.E. Lawrence got stuff done. And the movie is just about perfect in every single category: lighting, camera, clothing, script, story, performances. There was an intermission, and it was worth the wait -- I couldn't wait until the second half. What shocked me was, the first thing they shot for the movie was the beginning of the second half, the arrival of Lawrence with his bodyguards. Those guys, who look like the baddest asses that ever lived, came in on horses and camels. Peter O'Toole's got the white garb on, and you realize he's a guy who's got some homies that can play.
[on the influence of Lawrence of Arabia (1962)] If there's anything I'm proud about in Nebraska (2013), it's that it's hard to see the work going on. In Lawrence, there's something going on -- it's there. It's about life. Watching that old generation like Lean and O'Toole, that knowledge, that excitement, that passion infects you and infects you in a good way. You want to make 'em proud, even though they're not here anymore.
[on being offered a role in They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)] It's the week before Christmas, 1968, and my agent calls: "Bruce, you won't believe this. I got a call from Sydney Pollack." I said, "What are you talking about?" He said, "He's doing another movie, and he wants you in it. He says he apologizes because it's not much of a part. It's certainly not an improvement over the last part, but he offered you the Scott Wilson role and you didn't want to take it because you didn't want to be in Yugoslavia five months. "Do you blame me?" "No, it ended up being seven. You were smart. He's doing a movie called "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?", and he said you and a girl named Bonnie Bedelia, who hasn't acted before, are going to be partners. It's about dance marathons, and he wants you for two reasons: one, you play a country bumpkin and you win the contest; two, he needs somebody who can show the actors what it's like to go take after take after take because Bonnie is pregnant in the movie and you've got to haul her every day, derby after derby. Twice each day, they're raced twelve laps around the floor to music. The last three couples are eliminated. Sydney wants to shoot it like that. He's going to eliminate the couples except for the two starring couples, Jane Fonda and Michael Sarrazin, and Red Buttons and Allyn Ann McLerie. Everybody else gets eliminated, including Susannah York." Susannah York should've won an Oscar for The Killing of Sister George (1968). He's going to eliminate her?" "He's going to eliminate whoever finishes last. He can't eliminate you because you and Bonnie win the contest in the book. And you're not going to be the last".
[on Susannah York] Susannah York, I had no idea what a tremendous actor she was. She was flat-out great.
You know what the greatest remedy on earth is today? It's not a pill. It's not a shot. It's a hug.
They were legends because nobody knew what they were doing after school.
Comedy is not about appearing funny, so the more honestly you play it, the better it is.
With my generation, we were very lucky when we came to Hollywood, because we still had a chance to work with the legends. We aren't legends, you can't be a legend today. Clint [Clint Eastwood] and Redford [Robert Redford] are the closest thing we have.
Overall, when I look at my career, I was lucky and blessed.

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