Dern at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
|Born||Bruce MacLeish Dern
June 4, 1936
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Education||The Choate School
University of Pennsylvania
|Spouse(s)||Marie Dean (divorced)
Diane Ladd (1960–1969; divorced)
Andrea Beckett (1969–present)
Diane Elizabeth Dern
Bruce MacLeish Dern (born June 4, 1936) is an American actor. He frequently takes roles as a supporting character actor, often playing villains of unstable nature. He has appeared in more than 80 feature films, and received Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor for the 1978 film Coming Home and Best Actor for the 2013 film Nebraska.
Dern was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Jean (née MacLeish) and John Dern, a utility chief and attorney. He grew up in Kenilworth, Illinois. His paternal grandfather was George Henry Dern, a former Utah governor and Secretary of War (he was serving in the latter position during the time of Bruce's birth). Dern's maternal grandfather was a chairman of the Carson, Pirie, and Scott stores, his maternal granduncle was poet Archibald MacLeish, and his maternal great-grandfather was Scottish-born businessman Andrew MacLeish. Dern's godfather was former Illinois governor and two-time presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson.
Early in his career, Dern acted in the Philadelphia premiere of Waiting for Godot opposite Lyle Kessler, and first appeared onscreen in Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959) followed by another uncredited role in the 1960 film Wild River. He then appeared as a guest star in several popular 1960s television shows, including Route 66, Naked City, Sea Hunt, Surfside 6, 77 Sunset Strip, The Outer Limits, and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.
In 1964, he appeared in a major Alfred Hitchcock film, the psychological thriller Marnie, in a short role as the sailor seen in flashbacks about Marnie's mother. Also in 1964 he had a small but crucial film role in Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte as the lover of the young Charlotte (Bette Davis).
During the next five years, Dern continued appearing in several popular television series, with multiple appearances as different characters, including: Wagon Train (3), The Virginian (3), Rawhide (1), 12 O'Clock High (4), The Fugitive (5), The F.B.I. (2), The Big Valley (5), Gunsmoke (4) and Bonanza (2), among others. During that period, he also appeared in several films, including The Wild Angels (1966), The War Wagon, The Trip (1967), Psych-Out, Will Penny (1968), and the early Clint Eastwood film, Hang 'Em High (1968) as a rustler/murderer.
Among Dern's first 20 film roles was a part in the Sydney Pollack picture They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, in 1969. That same year, he co-starred with James Garner and Walter Brennan in the classic film Support Your Local Sheriff! as gunfighter Joe Danby. In 1972, he appeared in four films: as the enemy and killer of John Wayne's character in The Cowboys notable for his character cold-bloodedly shooting Wayne in the back. Wayne warned Dern, "America will hate you for this." Dern wryly replied, "Yeah, but they'll love me in Berkeley." His best-known role may be that of Freeman Lowell, the caretaker of Earth's last forests in the dark sci-fi film Silent Running (1972). He then starred with Jack Nicholson in The King of Marvin Gardens; and also in Thumb Tripping, after having been seen in over 90 TV episodes or films.
Other memorable roles include Tom Buchanan in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby; or a psychotic Goodyear Blimp pilot who launches a terrorist attack at the Super Bowl in 1977's Black Sunday, and as Captain Bob Hyde in 1978's Coming Home, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
In 1976, he appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's final film Family Plot, playing the boyfriend of a medium played by Barbara Harris; Dern told an interviewer that, due to Hitchcock's failing health, the director often asked his assistance during the production. During the 1980s and 1990s, Dern kept working but was unable to hit the mark as he did before: after the films of the '70s, he often played roles in flops like Tattoo and All the Pretty Horses. Occasionally, he did land a few good films, including TV movies.
His most recent efforts include the independent movies The Astronaut Farmer and Monster, a recurring role on the HBO series Big Love, and the monster movie Swamp Devil for RHI Films New York and the Sci Fi Channel.
On November 1, 2010, he was presented the 2,419th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His daughter Laura Dern and his ex-wife Diane Ladd received stars on the same date. He was honored with a Legend Award at the inaugural Gold Coast International Film Festival on June 1, 2011.
On May 26, 2013 he won the Best Actor award at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival for his role in Alexander Payne's Nebraska. The role, which received significant critical acclaim, subsequently earned Dern Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for Best Actor, along with other accolades.
- Wild River (1960) as Jack Roper (uncredited)
- The Crimebusters (1961) as Joe Krajac
- The Zanti Misfits (1963) (TV) as Ben
- The Hunt (1963) (TV) as Maynard
- Marnie (1964) as Sailor
- Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964) as John Mayhew
- Branded (1966) as Les in "The Wolfers"
- The Wild Angels (1966) as Loser
- Waterhole #3 (1967) as Deputy Sam Tippen
- The War Wagon (1967) as Hammond
- The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967) as John May
- The Trip (1967) as John
- Will Penny (1968) as Rafe Quint
- Psych-Out (1968) as Steve Davis
- Hang 'Em High (1968) as Miller, Cooper Hanging Party
- Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969) as Joe Danby
- Castle Keep (1969) as Lt. Billy Byron Bix
- Number One (1969) as Richie Fowler
- The Cycle Savages (1969) as. Keeg
- They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969) as James
- Bloody Mama (1970) as Dirkman
- The Rebel Rousers (1970) as J.J. Weston
- The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant (1971) as Roger
- Drive, He Said (1971) as Coach Bullion
- The Cowboys (1972) as Asa Watts ("Long Hair")
- Silent Running (1972) as Freeman Lowell
- The King of Marvin Gardens (1972) as Jason Staebler
- Thumb Tripping (1972) as Smitty
- The Laughing Policeman (1973) as Leo Larsen
- The Great Gatsby (1974) as Tom Buchanan
- Posse (1975) as Jack Strawhorn
- Smile (1975) as Big Bob Freelander
- Family Plot (1976) as George Lumley
- Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976) as Grayson Potchuck
- Folies bourgeoises (1976) as William Brandels
- Black Sunday (1977) as Michael Lander
- Coming Home (1978) as Capt. Bob Hyde
- The Driver (1978) as The Detective
- Middle Age Crazy (1980) as Bobby Lee
- Tattoo (1981) as Johnny
- That Championship Season (1982) as George Sitkowski
- Harry Tracy, Desperado (1982) as Harry Tracy
- Space (1985) (TV) as Stanley Mott
- Toughlove (1986) (TV) as Rob Charters
- On the Edge (1986) as Wes Holman
- Uncle Tom's Cabin (1987) (TV) as Augustine St. Claire
- The Big Town (1987) as Mr. Edwards
- World Gone Wild (1988) as Ethan
- 1969 (1988) as Cliff
- The 'Burbs (1989) as Mark Rumsfield
- After Dark, My Sweet (1990) as Uncle Bud
- Into the Badlands (1991) as T.L. Barston
- Diggstown (1992) as John Gillon
- Amelia Earhart: The Final Flight (1994) (TV) as George Putnam
- A Mother's Prayer (1995) as Grandpa
- Mrs. Munck (1995) as Patrick Leary
- Wild Bill (1995) as Will Plummer
- Mulholland Falls (1996) (uncredited) as The Chief
- Down Periscope (1996) as Admiral Yancy Graham
- Last Man Standing (1996) as Sheriff Ed Galt
- Small Soldiers (1998) (voice) as Link Static
- The Haunting (1999) as Mr. Dudley
- Ifas Dogas Rabbitas (1999) as McGurdy
- All the Pretty Horses (2000) as The Judge
- Madison (2001) as Harry Volpi
- The Glass House (2001) as Begleiter
- Masked and Anonymous (2003) as The Editor
- Milwaukee, Minnesota (2003) as Sean McNally
- Hard Ground (2003) (TV) as Nate Hutchinson
- Monster (2003) as Thomas
- The Hard Easy (2005) as Gene
- Down in the Valley (2005) as Charlie
- Believe in Me (2006) as Ellis Brawley
- Big Love (2006–11)(TV) as Frank
- Walker Payne (2006) as Unknown
- The Astronaut Farmer (2007) as Hal
- The Cake Eaters (2007) as Easy
- The Golden Boys (2008) as Captain Perez
- Swamp Devil (2008) as Howard Blaime
- American Cowslip (2009) as Cliff
- Choose (2009) as Dr. Ronald Pendleton
- Trim (2009) as Dale Banks
- The Lightkeepers (2009) as Bennie
- The Hole 3D (2009) as Creepy Carl
- Twixt (2011) as Bobby LaGrange
- Inside Out (2011) as Vic Small
- Django Unchained (2012) as Curtis Carrucan
- From Up on Poppy Hill (2012) as Tokumaru
- Fighting for Freedom (2013) as Christian Dobbe
- Nebraska (2013) as Woody Grant
- Cut Bank (2014)
- The Hateful Eight (2015) as Sanford Smithers
Awards and nominations
- Bruce Dern Biography (1936-)
- JOHN DERN, 54, UTILITY CHIEF, ATTORNEY, DIES
- Borrelli, Christopher (November 11, 2013). "Bruce Dern's long run to 'Nebraska'". Chicago Tribune.
- "Bruce Dern shows a dangerous streak in 'Big Love'". Los Angeles Times. January 13, 2010.
- Bruce Dern was on Tavis Smiley recently and told the story of how Eleanor Roosevelt was not his godmother but a family friend whom his family visited at Hyde Park. "One year they were visiting and little Brucie got to go with them, and I was riding a bicycle in the afternoon, and ran into a tree and hit my head and had a concussion. In those days when you had a concussion they laid you down with your head on a pillow and then strapped your head across the pillow so you couldn’t move it to the side or forward or anything. When I kind of came to, I guess it was late at night, 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, and as I rolled my head to the side, I saw this lady’s legs. They were kind of veiny, and had a nightgown down to about here with little kind of tacky slippers. (Laughter) I didn’t understand. As I slowly came up and started looking up to where the woman’s face was, she had a book in her lap, and she looked like this (makes face) and had that Roosevelt bite. I realized, my God, it’s the president’s wife. (Laughter) I had – it was just before he went to Yalta, so I would have been about eight, I guess. This was ’44; I think that’s when he went to Yalta. So that was in my house. Somebody took that and ran with it and assumed, well, who would babysit a guy like that unless it was his godmother?"http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/interviews/bruce-dern/
- "Berlinale: 1983 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
- "Cannes Film Festival: Awards 2013". Cannes. 26 May 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
- "Cannes: Lesbian Drama 'Blue Is the Warmest Color' Wins Palme d'Or". The Wrap. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
- Bruce Dern at the Internet Movie Database
- Bruce Dern at the Internet Broadway Database
- Bruce Dern at the University of Wisconsin's Actors Studio audio collection
- Bruce Dern at AllMovie
- Cinema Retro's Evening with Bruce Dern at The Players, New York City