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Willem Dafoe

In 1979, Willem Dafoe was given a small role in Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate, from which he was fired. His first feature role came shortly after in Kathryn Bigelow's The Loveless. From there, he went on to perform in more than 50 films-in Hollywood (Spider-Man trilogy, The English Patient, Finding Nemo, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Clear and Present Danger, White Sands, Mississippi Burning, Streets of Fire); in independent cinema in the U.S. (The Clearing, Animal Factory, Basquiat, The Boondock Saints, American Psycho); and abroad (Lars von Trier's Manderlay, Yim Ho's Pavilion of Women, Yurek Bogayevicz's Edges of the Lord, Wim Wenders' Faraway, So Close! and Brian Gilbert's Tom & Viv).

He has chosen projects for diversity of roles and opportunities to work with strong directors. He has worked in the films of Wes Anderson (The Life Aquatic), Martin Scorsese (The Aviator, The Last Temptation of Christ), Paul Schrader (Auto Focus, Affliction, Light Sleeper), David Cronenberg (eXistenZ), Abel Ferrara (New Rose Hotel), David Lynch (Wild at Heart), William Friedkin (To Live and Die in L.A.), and Oliver Stone (Born on the Fourth of July, Platoon).

He was nominated twice for an Academy Award (Platoon, Shadow of the Vampire) and once for a Golden Globe. Among other nominations and awards, he received a Los Angeles Film Critics Award and an Independent Spirit Award.

Recent projects include Spike Lee's Inside Man, Paul Weitz's American Dreamz, Giada Colagrande's Before It Had a Name (co-written by Dafoe) and the Nobuhiro Suwa segment of Paris je t'aime.

Other upcoming films include Fireflies in the Garden, starring opposite Julia Roberts; Henry Miller's Anamorph; Paul Schrader's The Walker and Adam Resurrected; and Abel Ferrara's Go Go Tales and the Lionsgate release Daybreakers.

Dafoe is one of the founding members of The Wooster Group, the New York-based experimental theater collective. He has created and performed in the group's work since 1977, both in the U.S. and internationally.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2007.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Willem Dafoe Facts

Birth Name William Dafoe Jr.
BirthdayJuly 22, 1955 (68)
BirthplaceAppleton, Wisconsin, USA
Height5' 9½" (1m77)  How tall is Willem Dafoe compared to you?

Selected Filmography

The Great Wall
Boondock Saints
Finding Nemo
Finding Dory
John Wick
Tales From Earthsea
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