Mar. 18th, 1950
Huntington, West Virginia, USA
Brad Dourif's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
The character actor Brad Dourif was born in 1950 in Huntington, West Virginia, where his father owned and operated a dye factory. His father died when Dourif was 3 years old, after which his mother married Bill Campbell, a champion golfer, who helped raise Brad, his brother, and his four sisters. From 1963 to 1965, Dourif attended Aiken Preparatory School in Aiken, SC, where he pursued his interests in art and acting. Although he briefly considered becoming a professional artist, he finally settled on acting as a profession, inspired by his mother's participation as an actress in community theater.
Starting in school productions, he progressed to community theater, joining up with the Huntington Community Players, while attending Marshall University of Huntington. At age 19, he quit his hometown college and headed to New York City, where he worked with the Circle Repertory Company. During the early 1970s, Dourif appeared in a number of plays, off-Broadway and at Woodstock, New York, including Milos Forman who cast him in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975). Although this film is frequently cited as his film debut, in fact, Dourif made his first big-screen appearance with a bit part in W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings (1975). Nevertheless, his portrayal of the vulnerable Billy Bibbit in Forman's film was undoubtedly his big break, earning him a Golden Globe Award for Best Acting Debut, a British Academy Film Award for Best Supporting Actor, and an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Skeptical of his instant stardom, Dourif returned to New York, where he continued in theater and taught acting and directing classes at Columbia University until 1988 when he moved to Hollywood. Despite his attempts to avoid typecasting, his intensity destined him to play demented, deranged, or disturbed characters, starting in Eyes of Laura Mars (1978), John Huston (I)'s Wise Blood (1979) (arguably his best performance to date), and Milos Forman's Ragtime (1981). Dourif then teamed up with director David Lynch (I) for Dune (1984) and Blue Velvet (1986). His high-strung style also served him well in a number of horror films, notably as the voice of the evil doll Chucky in Child's Play (1988) and its sequels.
Dourif broke from the horror genre with roles in Fatal Beauty (1987), Mississippi Burning (1988), Hidden Agenda (1990), and London Kills Me (1991). Recent film work includes the role of Grima Wormtongue in Peter Jackson (I)'s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Since his television debut in the PBS film The Mound Builders (1976) (TV), Dourif has made sporadic appearances in a number of television series, such as "The X Files" (1993), "Babylon 5" (1994), "Star Trek: Voyager" (1995) and "Ponderosa" (2001) (in the recurring role of Frenchy).
- Many of his co-stars in "The Lord of the Rings" film series were under the impression that he was actually English because of the British accent he used as Wormtongue throughout filming. They were shocked to hear him speak in an American accent after filming was complete.
- Has heard his own movie _Dune (1984)_ (qv) described as "science fiction's answer to _Heaven's Gate (1980)_ (qv) (which Dourif also starred in)," and he agrees totally with this summation.
- His father, who owned and operated a dye factory, died when Brad was 3.
- Grandchild: Caden Kalani Kahalewai Dourif-Tanoue (born 2001).
- Made five trips to New Zealand while the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy was being filmed. He had to shave his eyebrows off each time.
- Was considered for the role of Max Cady in _Cape Fear (1991)_ (qv),.
- Dropped out of Marshall University of Huntington, West Virginia, at 19.
- He headed to New York City at 19 and worked with the Circle Repertory Company, appearing in many off-Broadway and Woodstock, NY productions.