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William "Willem" Dafoe (born July 22, 1955) is an Americanmarker film and stage actor, and a founding member of the experimental theatre company The Wooster Group. He is best known for his roles in To Live and Die in L.A., Platoon, The Last Temptation of Christ, Shadow of the Vampire, Finding Nemo, Mississippi Burning, The Boondock Saints, American Psycho, the Spider-Man films and Antichrist.

Early life

Dafoe, the sixth of eight children, was born in Appleton, Wisconsin, the son of Muriel Isabel (n√©e Sprissler), a nurse and Bostonmarker native, and Dr. William Alfred Dafoe, a surgeon. His birth name is William Dafoe; he changed it to "Willem" (Dutch for "William") so people would not call him "Billy". He studied drama at the University of Wisconsin‚ÄďMilwaukeemarker, but left before graduation in order to join the newly formed avant-garde group Theatre X.


After touring with Theatre X for four years in the United States and Europe, he moved to New York Citymarker and joined the Performance Group. Dafoe's film career began in 1981, when he was cast in Heaven's Gate, but his role was removed from the film during editing. In the mid 80's he was cast by William Friedkin to star in To Live And Die In LA, in which Dafoe portrays counterfeiter Rick Masters. A year later he starred as the leader of a motorcycle gang in The Loveless (and later played a similar role in Streets of Fire), but his first breakthrough film role was as the compassionate Sergeant Elias in Platoon (1986). In 1988 Dafoe starred in another movie set during the Vietnam War, this time as CID Agent Buck McGriff in Off Limits. He has since become a popular character actor. He is often cast as unstable or villainous characters, such as the Green Goblin in the Spider-Man film series and Barillo in Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Before that, he was briefly considered for the role of The Joker by Tim Burton and Sam Hamm for 1989's Batman. Hamm recalls "We thought, 'Well, Willem Dafoe looks just like The Joker.'" The role ended up going to Jack Nicholson. He also played Jesus in The Last Temptation of Christ (1988). He once remarked "To this day, I can't believe I was so brazen to think I could pull off the Jesus role", though Dafoe received acclaim despite the controversy surrounding the film.

He starred in the erotic drama Body of Evidence with Madonna. In 1991, Willem Dafoe portrayed a Manhattanmarker drug dealer in the film Light Sleeper. This film received very good reviews by both critics and fans. Dafoe played an eccentric FBImarker agent in The Boondock Saints (1999) and a private investigator in American Psycho (2000). He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1986 for Platoon and 2000 for Shadow of the Vampire. He played a rare heroic film role when he provided the voice of Gill in the animated movie Finding Nemo.

He worked briefly as a model in a 1990 Prada campaign. In 2004, Dafoe lent his likeness and voice for the James Bond video game Everything or Nothing as villain Nikolai Diavolo. In 2006, he played NYPD detective Stan Aubray on the hunt for a serial killer, the lead in New York-set thriller Anamorph, opposite Scott Speedman and Peter Stormare. He stars alongside Rowan Atkinson in the sequel to 1997's Bean, Mr. Bean's Holiday which was released worldwide March 30, 2007. Dafoe reprises his role as Agent Paul Smecker in The Boondock Saints 2 making a surprise cameo at the end of the film.

Has also, like Harvey Keitel, appeared in a New Zealand Steinlager Pure beer commericial, where he walks around a US aircraft carrier, commenting on New Zealand's anti nuclear commitment, while in the background the speech by then New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange ( 1942 - 2005 ) is played from the 1985 Oxford Union Debate against Jerry Falwell of the US, on the subject of Nuclear weapons. One can hear Mr. Lange say to Dr. Falwell : " If you could hold your breath for one minute - I can smell the Uranium on it as you lean towards me . . . " Although New Zealand is not mentioned in either commercial, the one with Mr. Keitel has him walking around Coney Island talking about New Zealand's stance on a number of issues, such as genetic modification, it is clear from those watching who they are referring to.

Personal life

Dafoe met director Elizabeth LeCompte at the Performance Group. LeCompte and Dafoe were part of the restructuring of The Performance Group and became professional collaborators and founding members of The Wooster Group, and began a relationship. Their son, Jack, was born in 1982. The pair eventually split in 2004.Dafoe married Italian director and actress Giada Colagrande on March 25, 2005.

Dafoe's brother, Donald, is a transplant surgeon and researcher.


Dafoe at the Table of Free Voices, Berlin, September 2006
Year Film Role Other notes
1980 Heaven's Gate Extra uncredited
1982 The Loveless Vance
1983 The Hunger 2nd Phone Booth Youth
1984 Roadhouse 66 Johnny Harte
New York Nights Boyfriend
Streets of Fire Raven Shaddock
1985 To Live and Die in L.A. Erick 'Rick' Masters
1986 Platoon Sgt. Elias K. Grodin Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor nomination
1988 Off Limits Buck McGriff
The Last Temptation of Christ Jesus
Mississippi Burning Agent Alan Ward
1989 Triumph of the Spirit Salamo Arouch
Born on the Fourth of July Charlie - Villa Dulce
1990 Cry-Baby Hateful Guard cameo
Wild at Heart Bobby Peru
1991 Flight of the Intruder Lt. Cmdr. Virgil 'Tiger' Cole
1992 White Sands Deputy Sheriff Ray Dolezal
Light Sleeper John LeTour
1993 Body of Evidence Frank Dulaney
Faraway, So Close! Emit Flesti
1994 Tom & Viv Tom Eliot
Clear and Present Danger John Clark
1995 Victory Axel Heyst
The Night and the Moment The Writer
1996 Basquiat The Electrician
The English Patient David Caravaggio
1997 Speed 2: Cruise Control John Geiger
Affliction Rolfe Whitehouse
1998 Lulu on the Bridge Dr. Van Horn
New Rose Hotel X
1999 eXistenZ Gas
The Boondock Saints Paul Smecker
2000 American Psycho Det. Donald Kimball
Animal Factory Earl Copen
Shadow of the Vampire Max Schreck Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor nomination
Bullfighter Father Ramirez
2001 Pavilion of Women Father Andre
Edges of the Lord Priest
2002 Spider-Man Green Goblin/Norman Osborn
Auto Focus John Henry Carpenter
2003 Finding Nemo Gill voice
The Reckoning Martin
Once Upon a Time in Mexico Armando Barillo
Camel Cricket City Camel Cricket voice
short film
2004 The Clearing Arnold Mack
Spider-Man 2 Green Goblin/Norman Osborn
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Klaus Daimler
Control Dr. Michael Copeland direct-to-video
The Aviator Roland Sweet
2005 xXx: State of the Union General George Deckert
Manderlay Grace's Father
Before It Had a Name (AKA The Black Widow - (US Title)) Leslie
Ripley Under Ground Neil Murchison
2006 American Dreamz Chief of Staff
Inside Man Capt. John Darius
Tales from Earthsea Cob voice acting - English version
Paris, je t'aime The Cowboy segment: Place des Victoires
2007 The Walker Senator Larry Lockner
Mr. Bean's Holiday Carson Clay
Spider-Man 3 Green Goblin/Norman Osborn
Go Go Tales Ray Ruby
Anamorph Det. Stan Aubrey
2008 Fireflies in the Garden Charles Waechter
Adam Resurrected Commandant Klein
The Dust of Time A
2009 Antichrist He
Fantastic Mr. Fox Rat voice
Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant Gavner Purl
The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day Paul Smecker cameo
2010 Daybreakers Elvis awaiting release
My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done Detective Havenhurst
L'affaire Farewell Feeney awaiting release
Miral Eddie in post-production
2012 John Carter of Mars Tars Tarkas pre-production
Year Title Role Notes
1986 The Hitchhiker Jeffrey Hunt "Ghostwriter"
1991 Fishing With John Himself segment: ice fishing in northern Maine
1997 The Simpsons The Commandant voice
"The Secret War of Lisa Simpson"

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards
  • 1987: Nominated, "Best Actor in a Supporting Role" - Platoon
  • 2001: Nominated, "Best Actor in a Supporting Role" - Shadow of the Vampire

Saturn Awards
  • 2001: Won, "Best Supporting Actor" - Shadow of the Vampire

Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards
  • 2005: Nominated, "Best Acting Ensemble" - The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (shared w/co-stars)

  • 2002: Won, "Special Award:For immense contribution to the art of film."

Chicago Film Critics Association Awards
  • 2001: Nominated, "Best Supporting Actor" - Shadow of the Vampire
  • 2003: Nominated, "Best Supporting Actor" - Auto Focus

Chlotrudis Awards
  • 2002: Nominated, "Best Supporting Actor" - Shadow of the Vampire

  • 2001: Won, "Best Actor" - Shadow of the Vampire

Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival
  • 2000: Won, "Outstanding Creative Performance" - Shadow of the Vampire

Golden Globe Awards
  • 2001: Nominated, "Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture" - Shadow of the Vampire

Independent Spirit Awards
  • 1987: Nominated, "Best Male Lead" - Platoon
  • 1991: Nominated, "Best Supporting Male" - Wild at Heart
  • 2001: Won, "Best Supporting Male" - Shadow of the Vampire

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards
  • 2000: Won, "Best Supporting Actor" - Shadow of the Vampire

MTV Movie Awards
  • 2003: Nominated, "Best Villain" - Spider-Man

MTV Movie Awards, Mexico
  • 2004: Nominated, "Most Divine Miracle in a Movie" - The Last Temptation of Christ

Online Film Critics Society Awards
  • 2001: Nominated, "Best Supporting Actor" - Shadow of the Vampire

Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards
  • 2001: Won, "Best Actor in a Supporting Role" - Shadow of the Vampire

Razzie Awards
  • 1994: Nominated, "Worst Actor" - Body of Evidence
  • 1998: Nominated, "Worst Supporting Actor" - Speed 2: Cruise Control

Sant Jordi Awards
  • 1995: Won, "Best Foreign Actor" - Light Sleeper

Satellite Awards
  • 2001: Won, "Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Comedy or Musical" - Shadow of the Vampire

Screen Actors Guild Awards
  • 1997: Nominated, "Outstanding Performance by a Cast" - The English Patient (shared w/co-stars)
  • 2001: Nominated, "Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role" - Shadow of the Vampire

Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival
  • 2000: Won, "Best Actor" - Shadow of the Vampire

San Sebastian International Film Festival


  1. Willem Dafoe Biography

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