W. Earl Brown Poster


Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trivia (7)  | Personal Quotes (4)

Overview (2)

Born in Murray, Kentucky, USA
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

As a rule, W. Earl Brown does not usually speak of himself in the third-person. However, the Internet Movie Database will not accept biographical information written in the first person, therefore:

W Earl Brown was born and raised in western Kentucky. Realizing early in life that he had aversion to manual labor, he knew that farming life was not for him. The first theater he ever attended was on his grandparents' front porch, where, in following family tradition, they would entertain themselves after a day's work with songs and stories. He was much better suited to that part of Kentucky farm life rather than the fields and barns.

In high school, Earl was actively involved in forensic competition where his coach fired a competitive spirit and taught his students the value of hard work and sacrifice. It was during those years, Earl's love of movies blossomed and he first had the dream of working in films; however, at the point in his life such an idea seemed impossible to achieve. The first in his family to go to college, Earl took an acting class on a whim at Murray State University and it was in that class that he found his Calling. He began performing in numerous productions on campus. It was in a production of "That Championship Season" in 1983 that he first had the experience of craft being elevated to art, and due to that, he was hooked.

Earl received his MFA from DePaul University's Theatre School in 1989. After graduation, he performed in numerous plays around Chicago. His first job on a film set was teaching dialect on Backdraft (1991). Not long after that, his performance in "A View From the Bridge" at the Steppenwolf Theatre catapulted his career as an actor into television and film. He landed numerous roles and within a couple of years had hit the proverbial glass ceiling. In 1993, he relocated to Los Angeles and started over.

Wes Craven was an early supporter, casting Earl in New Nightmare (1994), A Vampire in Brooklyn (1995) and the role of "Kenny" in the classic, Scream (1996). Two years after the success of Scream, Earl played "Warren", Cameron Diaz's mentally challenged brother, in There's Something About Mary (1998). Among his many other film credits are the highly regarded films: Being John Malkovich (1999), The Master (2012), The Sessions (2012), Wild (2014), Black Mass (2015), and Netflix's The Highwaymen (2019).

On television, Earl has guest starred in many series, including: Luck (2011), Seinfeld (1995), American Horror Story (2011), Justified (2009), X-Files (2002), Six Feet Under (2001), and NYPD Blue (2000 & 2005). Among the TV movies he has been involved with, was the starring role in VH1's Meatloaf: To Hell and Back (2000). He played "Tom Carlin" in ABC's highly acclaimed anthology series American Crime (2015) and "Teague Dixon" in HBO's True Detective (2015). He is probably best known as "Dan Dority" in HBO's Deadwood (2003). During that series' second season, the show's creator, David Milch, invited him to join the writing staff. In 2007, Earl earned a WGA nomination for writing on a drama series and a SAG nomination for best drama ensemble acting. Establishing himself on a show as critically lauded as Deadwood opened doors for other writing projects, including the Sony release, Bloodworth (2011), which Earl wrote and produced.

In addition to his television and film work, Earl co-starred in Sony's The Last Of Us, 2013 Video Game Of The Year. He also writes music and records with Sacred Cowboys, an LA based Americana band. In 2018, he combined his love of music and film by co-creating the short film, Dad Band, which as of its one year anniversary on YouTube had over 600,000 views.

One other thing of note, because W. Earl Brown gets asked it often and it seems as hoity-toity as speaking of himself in the third person: The "W" was added to his name upon joining the Screen Actors Guild. The guild has a rule that actors can not have the same name as another actor. He was told that there was an "Earl Brown" and a "William Brown", hence he became W. Earl Brown (a name he remembered from the label of an Elvis Presley record)... Then when his recording work in Sacred Cowboys necessitated his joining the songwriter's rights association, ASCAP, (where songwriter W. Earl Brown was represented) he had to become "William Earl Brown." It's confusing - he knows.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: W. Earl Brown

Spouse (1)

Carrie Paschall (1 July 1989 - present) ( 1 child)

Trivia (7)

Attended The Theatre School of DePaul in Chicago with classmates John C. Reilly and Gillian Anderson.
Graduated from Murray State University with a degree in Theater.
Graduated from Calloway County High School, in Murray, Kentucky.
Earl started the band "Sacred Cowboys" with Peter Spirer (the director of "Dunsmore"), Jeff Robertson, Stephen Quadros, Tony Cavazo, Ralph Stevens, and Mike "Rhinestone" Johnstone (who he met on the set of "Deadwood").
Spent his childhood summers at Redd Hollow in Land Between the Lakes (LBL). He could always be found swimming off the boat ramp there. LBL was a recreation area that the government annexed and moved Earl's family to Calloway County, Kentucky.
Friends with Alice in Chains' guitarist/vocalist, Jerry Cantrell. Brown appeared on the Alice in Chains mockumentary Alice in Chains: AIC 23 (2013).
Graduated from The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago.

Personal Quotes (4)

On playing "Warren" in There's Something About Mary (1998): "The character was retarded - he wasn't an idiot. Of all the idiots I've known in my life, none of them were retarded."
(On landing There's Something About Mary) You know, you do this so long, and you get so much fucking rejection. And even when you get accepted, still there's a caveat that you might get dumped. That was just one of those kismet things. I worked out at the gym with Lin Shaye. Gary Ushino was a camera assistant who had shot Scream and New Nightmare and Vampire In Brooklyn. Gary had been hired out for this miniseries I was doing called Bella Mafia, where Jennifer Tilly was my wife. We started making fun of the script, playing it tongue in cheek. The director loved it, because it gave some levity to the seriousness. I don't want to say that we became the clowns, but our relationship was a little different. One day Gary goes, "Man, you're funny! I've never seen you do comedy. I'm doing this new Farrelly Brothers movie. It's called There's Something About Mary. It's the funniest thing I've ever read." At the gym that weekend, I'm on the Stairmaster next to Lin Shaye. "So what are you doing now?" She said, "Have you seen Dumb And Dumber?" I said, "Of course I did." She said, "The Farrelly Brothers are doing this new movie. It's called There's Something About Mary. It's the funniest thing I've ever read." So I tracked the script down.

Rob Moran and I, we were part of this improv group that would meet informally at Amy Pietz's place on Sundays. I kept thinking I knew Rob from Chicago. I couldn't place how I knew him. Well, I'm re-watching Dumb And Dumber and Kingpin, and that's the dude. That's Rob. So the following Sunday I said, "I finally figured out how I know you"-we'd been working together for two months-"You're Stanley, the evil bowler in Kingpin." He goes, "Yeah, and I'm in Dumb And Dumber." I said, "So you know the Farrellys." He said, "Yeah, known them since I was a teenager. I'm from Rhode Island." I said, "I'm trying to get in on Mary." He said, "Warren? Are you interested in playing Warren? 'Cause they can't find anybody. They've seen dozens if not hundreds of people." He calls Bobby [Farrelly], and two days later I'm in there.

I was the only person to play it straight. They were bringing in comics. Chris Farley was one of them-Chris died while we were shooting the movie. The studio wanted a name and a face. The Farrellys' argument was the audience has to believe he's retarded. No matter how good somebody might be, it's Chris Farley playing retarded. Of course, Chris was uninsurable at that point, anyway.

At the callback there were four people, and they were all stand-ups except me. I could hear them in the room and I just knew, that's not the way. Because I played it straight, that's why it was funny. You couldn't goof on that and amp it up to play funny, because it was a commentary on the character instead of being honest. So that was how it came about. It was the last time I think I was giddily excited when I left. I remember in the elevator afterward I was like, "Fuck yeah!" That's not happened to me since.

And shooting it was an absolute joy. The two really good studio films that I've been involved with on some level were Scream and Mary. But they were both low-budget for studios, they were under the radar, nobody was paying attention, they were gonna be essentially a modern-day B-movie. And both of them were this incredible, fun experience, and both of them became what they became. I was very fond of saying in the late '90s, "You know, in the mid-'90s there's two movies that came absolutely out of nowhere and changed horror movies and changed comedies, and now everyone's impersonating both of them-Scream and Mary-and what did they have in common?" [Points to himself.] But did that catapult me to great big paychecks? No.
(On The Big White) That movie deserved better than it got...It barely got released. It was a great adventure, though. We hung out in Skagway, Alaska, where all the tourists come in. During the winter there's only about 400 people there. Well, they opened up for us early. We were shooting up on the glaciers, like right over into Canada. We got to go helicoptering, I snow-shoed through the Tongass Forest. They took me on a helicopter down the face of-I forget what glacier-but literally we're 10 feet away from this glacier going down. We had all these really, really cool life experiences. And when we shot at night, it was absolutely sheer fucking misery. It was so cold.
(2010 -- on landing New Nightmare and working with Wes Craven) When I went out to L.A. from Chicago to test the waters, I got a TV pilot within two weeks of being there. It was a guest star, but they were going to make me a regular if it got picked up. We went to New Orleans and did it, and then I go back to L.A. and I get a TV movie-like three, four scenes, but a decent job. So I called my wife up: "We gotta move here. This is fucking easy." So then we did move, and it was seven months of nothing. Like, nothing. No auditions, nothing. And I start to second-guess. We left all of our friends. Our family was a 400-mile journey, but still nearby. Suddenly we're on the other side of the country. Well, I get a call. The casting director that did the pilot wanted me to come in. He was doing a new Wes Craven movie. I thought the first Nightmare On Elm Street was brilliant, and I thought the sequels were horrible. They kind of ruined the first one. After about the third or fourth one, you know, "wisecracking Freddy." I didn't know that Wes executive-produced the third one, Dream Warriors, but he didn't have anything to do creatively with what happened with that franchise. So I go in, and it says Nightmare 7 on the doors. I'm like, "I don't want to be in this." But I needed the money. I didn't throw the audition, but it wasn't anything special. Then I go do my background research and find out that Wes didn't do those [sequels]. And then I was eager, because I did think the script was very witty. Then Wes and I just hit it off personally, and he brought me back with Vampire In Brooklyn and gave me his home number, which is what led to Scream. I haven't seen him in a few years. We used to have lunch every three or four months and catch up. He was the first person that was like an established Hollywood guy-even though he's the antithesis of a Hollywood guy as a personality-but he was the first really established person in the business that took me under his wing, and I'll always be grateful, because it gave me more of a sense of, "Well, this guy keeps using me and he believes in me. And if he's in, then I must belong here."

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