Bruce Dern Biography

Bruce Dern Biography on Monsters and Critics


"Bruce MacLeish Dern" (born June 4, 1936) is an Academy Award-nominated American screen actor. Dern is the father of actress Laura Dern and was formerly married to actress Diane Ladd.


Early life

Dern was born in Chicago, Illinois to John Dern and Jean (MacLeish). His paternal grandfather was George Dern, a former Utah governor and Secretary of War and his uncle was poet Archibald MacLeish. His godfather was well-known politician Adlai Stevenson and his godmother was Eleanor Roosevelt.


One of Dern's first film roles was in the Sydney Pollack picture "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" in 1969. He played the enemy and killer of John Wayne's character in "The Cowboys", and starred along with Jack Nicholson in "The King of Marvin Gardens".

Dern is generally regarded as a character actor, and has a reputation of playing unstable and villainous characters. His best-known role may be that of Freeman Lowell, the caretaker of Earth's last forests in "Silent Running" (1972), but other memorable roles include Tom Buchanan in Robert Redford's "The Great Gatsby" and Capt. Bob Hyde in "Coming Home", for which he received an Academy Award nomination.

His most recent effort is the independent movie "The Astronaut Farmer" and a supporting role on the HBO's series, "Big Love".


'I'm only too proud to say that I've NEVER had ANY discipline problems with Laura (Dern, his daughter and fellow actress). In fact, I never needed to lay a hand on her, because Diane (Ladd, his wife and another fellow actress) was so much better with that stuff than I was.'

'I'm the only bad guy to ever kill John Wayne.'

(This statement, however, is not true. Wayne's character was killed by the bartender in "The Shootist" and by Japanese snipers in "Sands of Iwo Jima" and "The Fighting Seabees". The bartender, one of the snipers, and Dern are the only ones to be seen killing Wayne on film. Wayne's characters also died twice by drowning in "Wake of the Red Witch" and "Reap the Wild Wind" and once by suicide after being stabbed in "The Alamo".)


"The Astronaut Farmer" (2007) ... Hal

"Walker Payne" (2006)

"Big Love" (2006) ... Frank

"Down in the Valley" (2005)

"Believe in Me" (2005) ... Ellis Brawley

"The Hard Easy" (2005) ... Gene

"Monster" (2003) ... Thomas

"Hard Ground" (2003) (TV) ... Nate Hutchinson

"Masked and Anonymous" (2003) ... The Editor

"The Glass House" (2001) ... Begleiter

"Madison" (2001) ... Harry Volpi

"All The Pretty Horses" (2000) ... The Judge

"The Haunting" (1999) ... Mr. Dudley

"Small Soldiers" (1998) (voice) ... Link Static

"Last Man Standing" (1996) ... Sheriff Ed Galt

"Down Periscope" (1996) ... Admiral Yancy Graham

"Mulholland Falls" (1996) (uncredited) ... The Chief

"Wild Bill" (1995) ... Will Plummer

"Diggstown" (1992) ... John Gillon

"After Dark, My Sweet" (1990) ... Uncle Bud

"The 'Burbs" (1989) ... Mark Rumsfield

"1969" (1988) ... Cliff

"World Gone Wild" (1988) ... Ethan

"Uncle Tom's Cabin" (1987) (TV) ... Augustine St. Claire

"On the Edge" (1986)

"Toughlove" (1986) (TV) ... Rob Charters

"That Championship Season" (1982)

"Tattoo" (1981) Johnny

"Middle Age Crazy" (1980) ... Bobby Lee

"Coming Home" (1977) ... Bob Hyde

"The Driver" (1978) ... The Detective

"Black Sunday" (1977) ... Michael Lander

"Family Plot" (1976) ... George Lumley

"Smile" (1975) ... Big Bob Freelander

"Posse" (1975) ... Jack Strawhorn

"The Great Gatsby" (1974) ... Tom Buchanan

"The Laughing Policeman" (1973) ... Leo Larsen

"The Cowboys" (1972) ... Asa Watts ('Long Hair')

"Silent Running" (1972) ...Freeman Lowell

"The King of Marvin Gardens" (1972) ... Jason Staebler

"Drive He Said" (1971)

"The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant" (1971)

"They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" (1969) ... James

"Support Your Local Sheriff!" (1969) ... Joe Danby

"Hang 'Em High" (1968) ... Miller, Cooper Hanging Party

"Psych-Out" (1968) ... Steve Davis

"Will Penny" (1968) ... Rafe Quint

"The Trip" (1967) ... John

"The Wild Angels" (1966) ... Loser

"Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte" (1964) ... John Mayhew

"Marnie" (1964) ... Sailor


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article about Bruce Dern.

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