Willem Dafoe - Film & Theater Personalities, Timeline and Childhood

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Willem Dafoe's Personal Details

Willem Dafoe is an American film and voice actor known for experimenting with his choice of roles

InformationDetail
BirthdayJuly 22, 1955
NationalityAmerican
FamousFilm & Theater Personalities, Actors
SpousesGiada Colagrande
SiblingsDonald Dafoe
Known asWilliam J. Dafoe
Childrens Jack Dafoe
Universities
  • University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
Founder / Co-Founder
  • Wooster Group
Birth PlaceAppleton, Wisconsin, U.S.
Height178cm
GenderMale
FatherDr. William Alfred Dafoe
MotherMuriel Isabel
Net Worth$25 million as Jan 2017
Sun SignCancer
Born inAppleton, Wisconsin, U.S.

// Famous Actors

Willem Dafoe's photo

Who is Willem Dafoe?

Willem Dafoe, born as William Dafoe, is an American film and voice actor known for portraying dark and unconventional characters in his films. He is a versatile actor who chooses his roles more on the basis of their artistic merit than on their box office potential. He has acted in a variety of roles that range from that of an idealistic FBI agent in ‘Mississippi Burning’ to the villainous green goblin in ‘Spiderman.’ His prominent cheekbones and strong jaws give him a look that suits the villainous roles that he often portrays. But, he is also careful not to be typecast as a villain as he believes in exploring different kinds of roles that would help him develop as an actor. He played the villain thrice in ‘To Live and Die in L.A’, ‘The Loveless’ and ‘Streets of Fire’ during the 1980’s. Desiring some variety in the kind of characters he played, Dafoe portrayed the kindhearted Sergeant Elias in Oliver Stone's ‘Platoon’--a role which earned him an Academy Award nomination for the Best Supporting Actor. He depicted the Jewish boxer Salamo Arouch, a holocaust survivor, in the film ‘Triumph of the Spirit.’ Soon he became popular as a character actor. He is also a voice actor and has made television appearances.

// Famous Film & Theater Personalities

Childhood & Early Life

He was born as William Dafoe to William Alfred Dafoe, doctor, and his wife Muriel Isabel. He has five sisters and one brother. He is of mixed ancestry.

After studying in Appleton East High School, he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee to study drama when he was 17, but soon grew tired of the university’s theatre department. He left the university and joined the experimental theatre company ‘Theatre X’ in Milwaukee.

Career

Dafoe was cast in a minor role in Michael Cimino's ‘Heaven's Gate’ in 1981, but his screen time was cut from the film during editing. He got a role in an independent film ‘The Loveless’ in 1982 which is about a motorcycle gang.

He played a minor part in the romantic horror ‘The Hunger’ in 1983. He acted in three movies in 1984, but none of them did well at the box office.

He got his breakthrough in the 1985 thriller film ‘To Live and Die in L.A’ where he played the role of counterfeiter Rick Masters. The film was a success and Dafoe got noticed for his acting skills.

Dafoe’s portrayal of Sergeant Elias in the Academy Award winning war film ‘Platoon’ (1986) cemented his reputation as a character actor. He was nominated for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

His experimented with a variety of roles in some of his next films, notably as Jesus Christ in ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’ (1988), a Jewish boxer in ‘Triumph of the Spirit’ (1989), and a Lieutenant Commander in ‘Flight of the Intruder’ (1991).

In the 1990’s, he starred in many films like ‘Tom & Viv’ (1994), ‘Victory’ (1995), ‘The English Patient’ (1996), and ‘New Rose Hotel’ (1998).

He enjoyed a very successful decade in the new millennium. He played Max Schreck, a vampire, in ‘Shadow of the Vampire’ (2000), a role which won him numerous accolades from industry experts. He portrayed the villainous Green Goblin in ‘Spiderman’ (2002) and lent his voice to ‘Finding Nemo’ (2003).

In 2005, he starred in a film directed by his wife Giada Colagrande, titled ‘Before it had a Name’. Dafoe and Colagrande had co-written the script. Towards the end of the decade, he appeared in a number of films like ‘Inside Man’ (2006), ‘The Walker’ (2007), ‘Adam Resurrected’ (2008), etc.

More recently he has acted in films like ‘Daybreakers’ (2009), a science-fiction horror, and ‘The Hunter’ (2011), an adventure thriller in which he plays the title role.

Major Works

Dafoe’s role as the compassionate sergeant Elias in the 1986 war film ‘Platoon’ is considered one of his best character portrayals. He earned a nomination for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for this film and was also nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead.

David Lynch’s crime thriller ‘Wild at Heart’ (1990) had Dafoe playing the role of the criminal Bobby Peru, who is hired to kill the lead character. He was nominated for the Best Supporting Male at the Independent Spirit Awards.

He was nominated for Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture for his role of David Caravaggio, a former thief in the romantic drama ‘The English Patient’ (1996).

‘Shadow of the Vampire’ (2000), is perhaps Dafoe’s most appreciated film. His portrayal of Max Schreck, a vampire in the guise of a theatre performer, won him several awards, notably, Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor, The Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male, and The Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor.

He played the role of ‘He’ in the dark art film ‘Antichrist’ (2009), a role for which he won the Bodil Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. The film reaffirmed Dafoe’s reputation as an unconventional actor who prefers to play dark and unstable characters.

Awards & Achievements

He was awarded the "Special Award: For immense contribution to the art of film" (2002) by The International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography Plus Camerimage, which is a festival dedicated to cinematography.

He won the Stockholm Achievement Award (2012) presented at The Stockholm International Film Festival, Sweden. This is a newly established award, which was given to Dafoe for being one of the world's most talented and multifaceted actors.

Personal Life & Legacy

Dafoe was in a relationship with director Elizabeth LeCompte for many years before breaking up in 2004. They have one son. Currently he is married to Italian actress, director and screenwriter Giada Colagrande.

Trivia

He is the only actor to ever be nominated for an Oscar for playing a vampire.

His screen name “Willem” was a nickname acquired in school.

He is famous for portraying dark, eccentric and unstable characters.

He is very health conscious; he follows an organic diet and practices yoga regularly.

// Famous American

Willem Dafoe biography timelines

  • // 1981
    Dafoe was cast in a minor role in Michael Cimino's ‘Heaven's Gate’ in 1981, but his screen time was cut from the film during editing. He got a role in an independent film ‘The Loveless’ in 1982 which is about a motorcycle gang.
  • // 1985
    He got his breakthrough in the 1985 thriller film ‘To Live and Die in L.A’ where he played the role of counterfeiter Rick Masters. The film was a success and Dafoe got noticed for his acting skills.
  • // 1986
    Dafoe’s portrayal of Sergeant Elias in the Academy Award winning war film ‘Platoon’ (1986) cemented his reputation as a character actor. He was nominated for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
  • // 1990
    David Lynch’s crime thriller ‘Wild at Heart’ (1990) had Dafoe playing the role of the criminal Bobby Peru, who is hired to kill the lead character. He was nominated for the Best Supporting Male at the Independent Spirit Awards.
  • // 1996
    He was nominated for Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture for his role of David Caravaggio, a former thief in the romantic drama ‘The English Patient’ (1996).
  • // 2000
    ‘Shadow of the Vampire’ (2000), is perhaps Dafoe’s most appreciated film. His portrayal of Max Schreck, a vampire in the guise of a theatre performer, won him several awards, notably, Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor, The Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male, and The Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor.
  • // 2002
    He was awarded the "Special Award: For immense contribution to the art of film" (2002) by The International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography Plus Camerimage, which is a festival dedicated to cinematography.
  • // 2004
    Dafoe was in a relationship with director Elizabeth LeCompte for many years before breaking up in 2004. They have one son. Currently he is married to Italian actress, director and screenwriter Giada Colagrande.
  • // 2009
    He played the role of ‘He’ in the dark art film ‘Antichrist’ (2009), a role for which he won the Bodil Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. The film reaffirmed Dafoe’s reputation as an unconventional actor who prefers to play dark and unstable characters.
  • // 2012
    He won the Stockholm Achievement Award (2012) presented at The Stockholm International Film Festival, Sweden. This is a newly established award, which was given to Dafoe for being one of the world's most talented and multifaceted actors.

// Cancer Celebrities

Willem Dafoe's FAQ

  • What is Willem Dafoe birthday?

    Willem Dafoe was born at 1955-07-22

  • Where is Willem Dafoe's birth place?

    Willem Dafoe was born in Appleton, Wisconsin, U.S.

  • What is Willem Dafoe nationalities?

    Willem Dafoe's nationalities is American

  • Who is Willem Dafoe spouses?

    Willem Dafoe's spouses is Giada Colagrande

  • Who is Willem Dafoe siblings?

    Willem Dafoe's siblings is Donald Dafoe

  • Who is Willem Dafoe childrens?

    Willem Dafoe's childrens is Jack Dafoe

  • What was Willem Dafoe universities?

    Willem Dafoe studied at University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

  • Which company or organization was founded by Willem Dafoe?

    Willem Dafoe was the founder/co-founder of Wooster Group

  • How tall is Willem Dafoe?

    Willem Dafoe's height is 178

  • Who is Willem Dafoe's father?

    Willem Dafoe's father is Dr. William Alfred Dafoe

  • Who is Willem Dafoe's mother?

    Willem Dafoe's mother is Muriel Isabel

  • What is Willem Dafoe's sun sign?

    Willem Dafoe is Cancer