More Bruce Dern Bios & Profiles
Biography #2 (for Monster)Bruce Dern's critically-acclaimed, award-winning performances throughout four decades have earned him a reputation as one of the most talented, versatile and prolific actors of his generation. Dern recently finished production on the independent features Masked and Anonymous, Madison, and Milwaukee, Minnesota. He also just finished the Hallmark Channel telefilm Hard Ground with Burt Reynolds.
Born into Illinois aristocracy, Dern was expected to follow the family tradition of becoming a lawyer. Instead, Dern became inspired by the effect James Dean had on a theatre audience. "I decided I wanted to be an artist as an actor, whatever it took. I geared my whole life, lifestyle and all my energies to that end. For me, there were no alternatives," Dern explains.
He studied at Lee Strasberg's Actors Studio in New York, then began winning roles on Broadway. In 1960, Dern landed a movie role under Elia Kazan's direction in Wild River. Dern then went to Hollywood, where he created over 100 television and movie character portraits. Deciding he had what it took to be a leading man, Dern determined to take no more featured performer roles. He didn't work for ten months. Finally, Dern received his first meaningful recognition with a Best Supporting Actor award from the National Film Critics Association for his role in Jack Nicholson's Drive, He Said.
Numerous honors have been bestowed on Dern's performances since then, including an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe nomination for Coming Home, Genie Award nominations for his work in Middle Age Crazy and Harry Tracy, Desperado, and the Best Actor Award at the Berlin Film Festival for That Championship Season.
Dern's starring credits reveal uncommon versatility. He has performed leading roles in such films as The Great Gatsby, Family Plot, Black Sunday, Smile, The Driver, The King of Marvin Gardens, They Shoot Horses, Don't They? Tattoo, Space, and Toughlove. More recently, he was seen in Down Periscope, Mulholland Falls, Last Man Standing, The Haunting, All The Pretty Horses, and The Glass House.
Dern received rave reviews for his performances in Showtime's Mrs. Munck with Diane Ladd, and TNT's Amelia Earhart: The Final Flight. He also costarred with Linda Hamilton in USA Network's A Mother's Prayer and Burt Reynolds in TNT's The Premonition. Away from the camera, Dern remains in full stride, finding time to run at least 10 miles a day.
Bio courtesy Newmarket Films for "Monster" (19-Jan-2004)