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Robert Englund

After five years of success in regional theater, Robert Englund returned to the west coast where he had grown up. His very first audition landed him a starring role in the 1973 film Buster and Billie, directed by Daniel Petrie.

Far from living the classic hand-to-mouth existence of a struggling actor, Englund worked steadily through the 70s playing best friends, bad guy #1, and southern rednecks opposite Henry Fonda, Susan Sarandon, Jeff Bridges, Sally Field and Arnold Schwarzenegger, among others.

In the 70s, which some critics regard as the second golden age of American movies, Englund was privileged to work for such classic film directors as Robert Aldrich, Robert Mulligan, J. Lee Thompson, Bob Rafelson, and John Milius.

During this time Englund was living in Malibu, fishing off his porch at high tide and surfing, when not slogging through traffic on the seemingly endless rounds of interviews and call-backs that fill the days of every working actor. He guest starred in scores of TV shows as well as working alongside some of the biggest stars of that decade including Barbra Streisand, Richard Gere, Burt Reynolds and Charles Bronson.

Finally audiences could put a name to his familiar face when Englund was cast as Willie the friendly alien in the hit mini-series and subsequent weekly TV show V. Within weeks, Englund went from questions like Didn't I go to high school with you? to Aren't you that lizard guy on TV? Twenty years later Willie still gets fan mail from sci-fi devotees both in America and around the world.

The series was a huge success. As a result Englund figured he would be eternally typecast as a sweet and lovable alien. To counter-balance this public image, he looked for a role that would allow him to demonstrate another side of his talents. During one hiatus from filming the series, he auditioned for a hot young director making an interesting low budget horror movie for the independent studio New Line Cinema. Englund's interview with Wes Craven landed him the role playing the burn-scarred dream demon Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street and launched him into horror history.

An international hit, the movie made New Line Cinema a major Hollywood player and prompted seven sequels and a syndicated TV series. The character of Freddy Krueger has appeared on talk shows, comic books, rap videos, and even a cartoon appearance as a guest on The Simpsons. There are numerous Freddy Krueger action figures, dolls, and attendant merchandising. Gottlieb came out with a very popular pinball machine based on the movies.

Freddy Krueger blasted into the pop culture vernacular as heir apparent to the horror icons of the past. Englund's portrayal of Freddy Krueger is destined to stand alongside Bela Lugosi's Dracula and Boris Karloff's monster in Frankenstein.

In the mid 80s Englund starred in the hour-long network TV series Downtown, a serio-comic look at parolees. The short-lived series also starred Blair Underwood and Mariska Hargitay. Acting on the small screen afforded Englund the opportunity to work with such diverse talent as Lillian Gish, Jack Warden, Sissy Spacek, Martin Balsam, Richard Thomas, James Earl Jones, Bruce Davidson, Lou Gosset, and Lea Thompson.

The international success of V and the Nightmare on Elm Street sequels opened the door for film work abroad. Englund has starred in movies shot in such exotic locales as Budapest, St. Petersburg, Tel Aviv, Johannesburg, Madrid, Palermo, Bucharest, and Zagreb.

Englund is sought after as a guest at film festivals all over Europe, has served on juries, and has been celebrated with awards at festivals in Paris, Rome, Brussels, and Sitges (Spain), to name a few.

After over 60 feature-length films, four TV series, and countless episodic guest star roles, Englund is looking forward to continuing as a busy working actor in this new millennium.


Note: This profile was written in or before 2003.

Robert Englund Facts

Birth Name Robert Barton Englund
OccupationDirector
BirthdayJune 6, 1949 (68)
SignGemini
BirthplaceGlendale, California, USA
Height5' 10" (1m78)  How tall is Robert Englund compared to you?

Selected Filmography

976-EVIL
Killer Pad
Freddy's Nightmares
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