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Brad Dourif
Brad Dourif.jpg
General Information
Gender: Male
Birthday: March 18, 1950
Age: 71
Birthplace: Huntington, West Virginia, U.S.
Nationality: French
English-Irish
English
Other Information
Eye Color: Wild Blue
Height: 5' 9"
Occupation(s): Actor
Education: Marshall University
Fountain Valley School
Talents: Acting
Family & Friends
Family: Jean Henri Dourif (father)
Joan Mavis Felton (née Bradford) (mother)
William C. Campbell (step-father)
Fiona Dourif (daughter)
Kristina Dourif Tanoue (daughter)
Caden Kalani Kahalewai Dourif-Tanoue (grandchild)
Relationships: Janet Stephanie Charmatz (ex-wife)
Jonina Bernice Dourif (ex-wife)
Series Information
Character: Zoso
First appearance: Desperate Souls
Last appearance: The Apprentice

Bradford Claude Dourif is an American actor. He was nominated for an Oscar, and won Golden Globe and BAFTA Awards for his supporting role as Billy Bibbit in the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975). He is also known for his roles as the voice of Chucky in the Child's Play franchise (1988–2017), and Gríma Wormtongue in The Lord of the Rings series (2002–2003).

Dourif's other film roles include Wise Blood (1979), Dune (1984), Blue Velvet (1986), Mississippi Burning (1988), The Exorcist III (1990) and Alien Resurrection (1997). He also appeared in many television series, notably Deadwood (2004–2006, 2019), for which he received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination.

View the Brad Dourif Gallery.

Early life

Dourif was born in Huntington, West Virginia, on March 18, 1950, to Joan Mavis Felton (née Bradford), an actress, and Jean Henri Dourif, an art collector who owned and operated a dye factory. His stepfather was golfer William C. Campbell.

His paternal grandparents emigrated from France, and his paternal grandfather co-founded the Standard Ultramarine and Color Company in Huntington. After Aiken, he attended Fountain Valley School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, graduating in 1968. Dourif appeared as an amateur at the Fountain Valley Film Festival in 1969, taking second place in the 8 mm film category with his 10-minute entry "Blind Date." Dourif attended Marshall University for a time, before quitting college and moving to New York City to study acting on the advice of actress Conchata Ferrell.

Career

Stage

Starting in school productions, Dourif progressed to community theater, joining up with the Huntington Community Players while attending Marshall University. In New York City, he studied with Sanford Meisner, and worked with Marshall Mason and Lanford Wilson at the Circle Repertory Company. During the early 1970's, Dourif appeared in a number of plays, off-Broadway and at Woodstock, New York, including The Ghost Sonata, The Doctor in Spite of Himself, and When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder?, in which he was spotted by director Miloš Forman who cast him in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975).

In 2013, after a three-decade absence from the stage, Dourif chose to star alongside Amanda Plummer in the Off-Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' The Two-Character Play that played to critical acclaim at the New World Stages. He explained, in a filmed interview released by the producers, why he broke his 29-year hiatus from acting in live theater: "I hated the stage, did not want to do it. And then somebody said, 'Will you do a play? It's with Amanda Plummer', and I said, 'Oh shit! No. Oh God, I'm gonna have to do this...'". It opened on June 10, 2013 and closed on September 29, 2013. The play was subject to a number of performance cancellations, one relating to Dourif's absence due to a death in the family. Plummer refused to perform without Dourif, notwithstanding the presence of an understudy.

Film

Although One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is frequently cited as Dourif's film debut, his first acting for screen was in a low-budget film called Split, which was never released. He followed this with a role in the film W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings (1975), but his bit part was omitted from the final cut of the film. His portrayal of the vulnerable Billy Bibbit in Cuckoo's Nest ended up being his big break, earning him a Golden Globe Award (Best Actor Debut) and a British Academy Award (Supporting Actor) as well as a nomination for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

In 1981, Vincent Canby listed Dourif as one of twelve actors to watch, calling Dourif "one of the most intense, most interesting young film actors of his generation." Dourif returned to New York, where he continued in theater and taught acting and directing classes at Columbia University until 1988, when he moved to Hollywood.

Dourif has often played eccentric or disturbed characters, starting with Cuckoo's Nest and continuing with Eyes of Laura Mars]] (1978), John Huston's Wise Blood (1979), Forman's Ragtime (1981), Marc Didden's Istanbul (1985) and David Lynch's Dune (1984) and Blue Velvet (1986).

Dourif has appeared in a number of horror films, most notably as the voice of Chucky]] in the Child's Play franchise. He portrayed the Gemini Killer in The Exorcist III (1990) and appeared in Death Machine (1994) and Alien Resurrection (1997). He later appeared as Sheriff Lee Brackett in Rob Zombie's Halloween (2007) and Halloween II (2009). In 2013, Dourif reprised his role as Chucky in the sixth installment of the Child's Play franchise, Curse of Chucky, and then again in the 2017 sequel, Cult of Chucky, both of which were straight-to-DVD releases. His daughter, Fiona Dourif, also starred with him in both films.

Other notable film roles include Gríma Wormtongue in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and supporting roles in Fatal Beauty (1987), Mississippi Burning (1988), Hidden Agenda (1990), London Kills Me (1991) and Sinner (2007).

Dourif has worked with director Werner Herzog on many occasions, appearing in Scream of Stone (1991), The Wild Blue Yonder (2005), Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009), and My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? (2009).

Television

In 1984, Dourif played a suspected serial killer in the episode "Number Eight" of Tales of the Unexpected. In 1994, he appeared in The X-Files episode "Beyond the Sea" as the psychic serial killer Luther Lee Boggs. He also portrayed Lon Suder in a three episode story arc on Star Trek: Voyager and guest starred as a troubled monk haunted by visions in Babylon 5. Dourif later gained acclaim as Doc Cochran in Deadwood, receiving a 2004 Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.

In 2011, he guest starred in the third-season finale of Fringe and in 2014 he appeared in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode "The End of the Beginning."

Music

In 2012, Dourif contributed spoken word vocals to three songs on the album Misery Together by the Norwegian duo Thinguma*jigSaw. Dourif also appears in the music videos for "Stranger in Town" (1984) by Toto and "Drinking from the Bottle" (2012) by Calvin Harris.


Personal life

Dourif has two daughters: Kristina / Christina Dourif, born c. 1976, and actress Fiona Dourif, born c. 1981, with his late wife Jonina Dourif, whose name sometimes appears in media as Janet.

Filmography

Year Title Type Role
1975 W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings
1975 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Billy Bibbit
1976 The Mound Builders TV Movie Chad Jasker
1977 Visions TV Series Robert McEvoy
1977 Group Portrait with a Lady Boris Koltowski
1978 Eyes of Laura Mars Tommy Ludlow
1978 Sergeant Matlovich vs. the U.S. Air Force TV Movie Sgt. Leonard Matlovich
1979 Studs Lonigan TV Mini-Series Danny O'Neill
1979 Wise Blood Hazel Motes
1980 Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones TV Movie David Langtree
1980 Heaven's Gate Mr. Eggleston
1981 Ragtime Younger Brother
1982 Kennedy's Children TV Movie Mark
1982 I, Desire TV Movie Paul
1984 Tales of the Unexpected TV Series Hitch-hiker
1984 Dune Piter De Vries
1984 Toto: Stranger in Town Video short Convict
1985 Istanbul Martin Klamski
1986 The Equalizer TV Series Fenn
1986 Spenser: For Hire TV Series Maxie Lyons
1986 Blue Velvet Raymond
1986 Vengeance: The Story of Tony Cimo TV Movie Lamar Sands
1986 Rage of Angels: The Story Continues TV Movie Seymour Bourne
1986 Moonlighting TV Series Father McDonovan
1986 Impure Thoughts Kevin Harrington
1987 Miami Vice TV Series Joey Wyatt
1987 The Hitchhiker TV Series Billy Baltimore Jr.
1987 Fatal Beauty Leo Nova
1987 Medium Rare Mitch Malone
1988 Child's Play Charles Lee Ray / Chucky (voice)
1988 Mississippi Burning Deputy Pell
1989 Terror on Highway 91 TV Movie Keith Evans
1989 Murder, She Wrote TV Series Dr. Warren Overman
1989 Sonny Boy Weasel
1989 Desperado: The Outlaw Wars TV Movie Camillus Fly

Trivia

  • Has heard his own movie Dune (1984) described as "science fiction's answer to Heaven's Gate (1980)" (which Dourif also starred in), and he agrees totally with this summation.
  • He was initially cast as the Scarecrow in Batman Forever (1995) while Tim Burton was attached to the project (Burton had also wanted to cast Dourif as The Joker in Batman (1989), but the studio refused). However, Joel Schumacher eventually took over the project and instead cast Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face and Jim Carrey as the Riddler.
  • In 2012, he contributed spoken word vocals to three songs on the album Misery Together by the Norwegian duo Thinguma*jigSaw.
  • Many of his co-stars in the Lord of the Rings trilogy were under the impression that he was actually English because of the British accent he used as Grima Wormtongue throughout filming. As a method actor, he kept the accent even when he was not filming. They were shocked to hear him speak in an American accent after filming was complete. Bernard Hill believed Dourif was speaking in the worst American accent he "had ever heard in his life".
  • He was considered for the role of Max Cady in the remake Cape Fear (1991), which went to Robert De Niro.
  • Has appeared with Samuel L. Jackson in four films: Ragtime (1981), The Exorcist III (1990), Jungle Fever (1991) and Amos & Andrew (1993).
  • Made five trips to New Zealand while the Lord of the Rings trilogy was being filmed. He had to shave off his eyebrows each time for his role as Grima Wormtongue.
  • His father, who owned and operated a dye factory, died when Brad was three.
  • Has taught acting and directing classes at Columbia University in the City of New York.
  • Moved to New York City at age 19 and worked with the Circle Repertory Company, appearing in many off-Broadway and Woodstock, New York productions. Moved to Los Angeles, California (1988).
  • His father, Jean Henri Dourif, was born in France, and was of three quarters French and one quarter English-Irish ancestry. His mother, Joan Mavis Felton (Bradford), was born in New York, to parents from Virginia, who also had English ancestry (including deep colonial American roots).
  • Has worked with director Werner Herzog in four films: Scream of Stone (1991), The Wild Blue Yonder (2005), Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009) and My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (2009).
  • Has appeared in two Best Picture Academy Award winners: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003).
  • Is one of four cast members of David Lynch's Dune (1984) who have appeared on the Star Trek series: Sir Patrick Stewart played Captain Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), Brad Dourif and Virginia Madsen have appeared on Star Trek: Voyager (1995), and Dean Stockwell has appeared on Star Trek: Enterprise (2001).
  • Though Dourif had not been on stage in nearly three decades, he chose to star alongside Amanda Plummer in the Off-Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' The Two-Character Play that played to critical acclaim at the New World Stages. He explained, in a filmed interview released by the producers, why he broke his 29-year hiatus from acting in live theater: "I hated the stage, did not want to do it. And then somebody said, 'Will you do a play? It's with Amanda Plummer', and I said, 'Oh shit! No. Oh God, I'm gonna have to do this...'". It opened on June 10, 2013 and closed on September 29, 2013. The play was subject to a number of performance cancellations, one relating to Dourif's absence, due to a death in the family. Plummer refused to perform without Dourif, notwithstanding the presence of an understudy.
  • He played the role of Stephen in a stage production of the play "When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder". Dourif was asked to reprise the role for the film version, but turned said offer down because he didn't want to work with Marjoe Gortner. The role went to Peter Firth.
  • He missed out on two roles that went to John Savage. He was Michael Cimino's original choice to play Steven in The Deer Hunter (1978) and Milos Forman originally wanted him for the role of Claude Hooper Bukowski in Hair (1979).
  • In 1981, Vincent Canby listed Dourif as one of twelve actors to watch, calling Dourif "one of the most intense, most interesting young film actors of his generation".
  • Is the only actor to be in all seven Child's Play films, although he only appeared onscreen in Child's Play (1988) and Curse of Chucky (2013). In all the other films, his performance was voice acting only. Out of all the Child's Play films - Bride of Chucky (1998) is his favorite.
  • As of 2017, he has appeared in four films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), Mississippi Burning (1988), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) - though he only appears in the extended version of the last film (and not the one screened to the Academy). Of those, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) are winners in the category.
  • His mother's work in the community theater play Give Me Shelter convinced him to give up his dreams of becoming a flower arranger and pursue a career in acting. He worked in several off-Broadway productions before landing his breakout role.
  • He became famous for the role as Billy Babbit in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
  • His mother, Joan Felton, was an actress. His father, Jean Henri Dourif, was an art collector who manufactured dye. His mother married golfer William Campbell after his father's death in 1953. He married Joni Dourif and together they had two daughters including Fiona Dourif, who became an actress. He was previously married to Janet Dourif.
  • He starred in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest with Jack Nicholson.
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