Bruce Dern

Bruce Dern


Background:

Actor Bruce Dern, who gained national acknowledgement through his scene-stealing
performance as Freeman Lowell in Silent Running (1972), first received critical
recognition after playing Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby (1974, earned a
Golden Globe nomination). Following his Oscar-nominated portrayal of Vietnam War
soldier Captain Bob Hyde in the drama Coming Home (1978), Dern was handed a
Berlin International Film Festival’s Silver Bear for Best Actor thanks to his
bravura acting in That Championship Season (1982, played George Sitkowski). The
actor also became a two-time Genie nominee for his roles in Middle Age Crazy
(1980) and Harry Tracy, Desperado (1982).

As for his private life, Dern has been married three times. He was once married
to Marie Dean and Diane Ladd before settling down with Andrea Beckett (1969 -
now). He is also the father of actress Laura Dern and the grandfather of Ellery
Walker Harper and Jaya Harper, from his daughter’s marriage with musician Ben
Harper.


Patrician Descent

Childhood and Family:

On June 4, 1936, in Chicago, Illinois, Bruce Dern was born to Jean and John Dern,
a son of the former governor of Utah, George Dern. Bruce attended the Choate
School in Wallingford, Connecticut, and continued his studies at the University
of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Bruce, who was once married to Marie Dean, tied the knot with actress Diane Ladd
in 1960. On November 27 the same year, Diane gave birth to Diane E Dern, who
accidentally drowned in a pool when she was just 18 months old. Bruce’s second
daughter, actress Laura Dern, was born in February 1967. His second marriage
ended in 1969, and in the same year, he married Andrea Beckett.


That Championship Season

Career:

Making his first stage appearance in a Broadway production of “The Shadow of a
Gunman” (1959), Bruce Dern attracted director Elia Kazan’s attention, who asked
him to join auditions for the Actors Studio. Dern had his screen acting debut in
Kazan’s Wild River (1960) by taking an unaccredited part as Jack Roper. This was
followed with the supporting role of Joe Krajac in Boris Sagal’s crime drama The
Crimebusters (1961) and some guest performances in TV series.

Moving further along, he acquired a regular role in the western TV series
“Stoney Burke” (1962-1963), where he costarred as E.J. Stocker, opposite Jack
Lord, Robert Dowdell and Warren Oates. Dern, who appeared in an episode of
“Kraft Suspense Theatre” (1963), played John Mayhew, a murdered lover of the
main character, in Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964). He also played
different guest roles in four installments of the war drama series “Twelve
O’Clock High” (1964, 1965).

In 1966, Dern began working in American International Pictures’ productions in
its action drama The Wild Angels (costarring as gang member ‘Loser,’ alongside
Peter Fonda and Nancy Sinatra). He first worked with actor Jack Nicholson in the
mob drama The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1967). Dern and Nicholson continued
their collaboration in the Flower Power-era film Psych-Out (1968), with Dern
taking the supporting part of Steve Davis. Following Sydney Pollack’s They Shoot
Horses, Don’t They (1969) and the Roger Corman-helmed crime drama Bloody Mama
(1970), the actor was seen in the TV western Sam Hill: Who Killed Mr. Foster
(1971).

Joining director Douglas Trumbull, Dern continuously stole scenes with his
leading part of Freeman Lowell, the caretaker of Earth’s last forests, in the
sci-fi movie Silent Running (1972). Even better, after acting opposite Walter
Matthau in The Laughing Policeman (1973), the actor was nominated for Golden
Globe’s Best Supporting Actor for his fine portrayal of Tom Buchanan in the
Francis Ford Coppola-written The Great Gatsby (1974), adapted from F. Scott
Fitzgerald’s novel.

He also amazed viewers as the villain Jack Strawhorn in Kirk Douglas’ western
movie Posse (1975). Showing his versatility, Dern starred as Grayson Potchuck in
the comedy Won Ton Ton, the Dog who Saved Hollywood (1976) and took on the role
of Captain Michael J. Lander in the terrorism-themed thriller Black Sunday
(1977).

Dern’s big screen breakthrough arrived in 1978 when he convincingly delivered
the supporting role of Vietnam War soldier Captain Bob Hyde in the drama Coming
Home, and earned an Oscar and Golden Globe nomination. A year later, he
resurfaced on the Broadway stage as Sinclair Lewis in the play “Strangers”
(1979).

The early 80s really bore witness to Dern’s glory when he starred as Bobby Lee
in the comedy drama Middle Age Crazy (1980, nominated for a Genie’s Best Foreign
Actor). After the drama thriller Tattoo (1981), he superbly played George
Sitkowski in the dark comedy That Championship Season (1982) and won a Silver
Bear for Best Actor from the Berlin International Film Festival. Still in 1982,
his lovely title role in a western drama called Harry Tracy, Desperado, brought
him a second Genie nomination.

Dern was then seen as Stanley Mott in the miniseries “Space” (1985) and shared
the screen with Tommy Lee Jones in The Big Town (1987). His part as Mark
Rumsfield, alongside Tom Hanks, in the comedy The ‘burbs (1989) led him to
several TV movies, including the biopic The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson
(1990) and the western horror Into the Badlands (1991). In Diggstown (1992), the
actor had the turn of John Gillon, a businessman who owned most of a boxing
town. Working on the small screen, Dern appeared in It’s Nothing Personal (1993)
and Amelia Earhart: The Final Flight (1994, as George Putnam). It was ensued by
his turn as wheelchair-bound Patrick Leary in the comedy drama Mrs. Munck
(1995), which was directed, written and starred in by wife Diane Ladd.

Now preferring the comedy genre, Dern had roles in Down Periscope (1996) and
Comfort, Texas (1997, TV). He also opened up to younger audiences by voicing a
toy named Link Static in the sci-fi Small Soldiers (1998). Next, Dern was seen
in a supporting role in The Haunting (1999, played Mr. Dudley), All the Pretty
Horses (2000), The Glass House (2001), the biopic Monster (2003) and Believe in
Me (2005, as Ellis Brawley).

Recently, Dern was cast as Frank Harlow, the father of a polygamist, in the HBO
drama series Big Love (2006-?). The actor will also emerge in the upcoming
Michael Polish-directed drama The Astronaut Farmer (2006) and The Cake Eaters, a
family reunion drama that is set to be released in 2007.


Award:

Berlin International Film Festival: Silver Bear for Best Actor, That
Championship Season, 1983

 
I'm a big wilderness, mountain guy. I love to go up in the mountains and I can just sit for hours and just look at the mountains.More Bruce Dern quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
Since I've started to star in pictures I have always managed to retain my singularity of purpose when I got into the business, which was to be an artist, as an actor, more than anything else. But to get the certain kind of role you want, you have to be in a certain position in the business and it's dog-eat-dog and it gets very hairy and you can lose your point of view sometimes.More Bruce Dern quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
Sports betting is all about money management, so the most money won on one event is not the most important thing.More Bruce Dern quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
I always made a living as an actor when I came to California. I never had to do anything else.More Bruce Dern quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
From nine on I was forced to camp every summer. Not a volunteer. I played with the wrong kids so they made me go to camp to straighten me out.More Bruce Dern quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]

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