W. Earl Brown

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W. Earl Brown
Born William Earl Brown
(1963-09-07) September 7, 1963 (age 50)
Golden Pond, Kentucky, USA
Occupation Film, television actor
Years active 1991-present
Spouse(s) Carrie Paschall (1989-present)
Children 1 daughter

William Earl Brown (born September 7, 1963) is an American character actor who has appeared in many mainstream film and television projects. He is perhaps best known as Dan Dority on the HBO series Deadwood. He is also well known for playing Warren in the 1998 film There's Something About Mary and Kenny the Cameraman in the highly successful slasher film Scream.

Early life[edit]

W Earl Brown was born and raised in Golden Pond, western Kentucky, and is an alumnus of Calloway County High School. He describes himself as "coming from a long line of bootleggers and used car dealers - the perfect lineage for becoming an actor." He says the first theater he ever attended was his grandparent's front porch where stories, songs, and jokes were plentiful; it was there the seed to be an artist was planted.


After graduating from Murray State University in 1986, Earl moved to Chicago where he received his MFA from DePaul University's prestigious Theater School in 1989.[1][2] After performing in numerous plays, including his breakout performance in Steppenwolf Theater's outreach staging of Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge, Earl began work in television and film. He appeared in such Chicago productions as Backdraft, The Babe, Excessive Force, Rookie of the Year and others.[3]

Having hit the proverbial glass ceiling by 1993, Earl moved to Los Angeles. Auditioning for Wes Craven was a landmark for Earl as he was cast in Wes Craven's New Nightmare, which led to A Vampire in Brooklyn, which led to the hit, Scream. Two years later Earl played the role of “Warren”, Cameron Diaz's mentally challenged brother, in the classic comedy, There's Something About Mary. Other past films credits include Being John Malkovich, Vanilla Sky, Dancing at the Blue Iguana, The Alamo, and The Big White. In 2009, Earl wrote and produced the Samuel Goldwyn Co./Sony release, Bloodworth. Among Earl’s more recent film credits are the Oscar-nominated films, The Master and The Sessions and 2013's The Lone Ranger and Brother's Keeper premiering Nov. 1st in select theaters. Watch for Brown in 2014 as DWS broadens it's "Brothers Keeper" release and Draft Day rolls out.

On television, Earl is best known for his portrayal of “Dan Dority” in HBO’s DEADWOOD. During the show’s second season, he was invited to join the show’s writing staff by its creator, David Milch. In 2007, Earl earned a WGA nomination for writing on a drama series and a SAG nomination for best drama ensemble acting. Over the years, his numerous guest star roles on television include: BATES MOTEL, RECTIFY, LUCK, AMERICAN HORROR STORY, JUSTIFIED, SIX FEET UNDER, NYPD BLUE, X-FILES, THE MENTALIST, CSI, ELLEN, SEINFELD and others. Among the many TV movies he has been involved with was the starring role in VH1’s MEATLOAF: TO HELL AND BACK.

In addition to his TV/film work, Earl did the motion capture and voice over work for Sony/Naughty Dog’s recent highly-acclaimed video game, THE LAST OF US. He also writes and records with the LA band, Sacred Cowboys who gigged around the southwest steadily from 05-09, including having been on the bill for Stagecoach 09, Southern California's premiere country music festival.

In a business where typecasting is prevalent, Earl has avoided being easily categorized. His work runs the gamut from television to film to stage and from comedy to drama & all combinations thereof. As he jokingly says of himself, "My megalomania knows no bounds..."

Personal life[edit]

Born William Earl Brown, he has been called "Earl" his entire life. He became "W. Earl Brown" upon joining the Screen Actor's Guild due to there already being a "Earl Brown" and a "William Brown" listed. When told he could not use his own name, due to a union rule about shared names, Earl quickly chose a name he'd seen on an old Elvis Presley record, "W. Earl Brown" (the songwriter of "If I Can Dream"). The problem of confusion was solved... until his work in Sacred Cowboys forced him to join the songwriter's organization ASCAP.

Earl is married to his high school sweetheart, Carrie, and they have one daughter.


film (partial list)

television (partial list)

  • RECTIFY (2013)
  • ROGUE (2013 - recurring)
  • BATES MOTEL (2013)
  • LONGMIRE (2013)
  • Major Crimes (2012)
  • PERCEPTION (2012)
  • LUCK (2011 - recurring)
  • BURN NOTICE (2011)
  • JUSTIFIED (2010)
  • CSI (2009 & 2001)
  • The Mentalist (2008)
  • PSYCH (2007)
  • DEADWOOD (2003–06, starring)
  • NYPD Blue (2000 & 2003)
  • Six Feet Under (2002)
  • The X Files (2002)
  • ELLEN (1995)
  • Seinfeld (1994)


  1. ^ "Department of Theatre". Murray State University. Retrieved 25 Dec 2013. 
  2. ^ "From DePaul to “Deadwood”: The Scene Stealing Characters of W. Earl Brown". 30 May 2013. Retrieved 25 Dec 2013. 
  3. ^ Sean O'Neal (6 Jan 2011). "W. Earl Brown". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 25 Dec 2013. 

External links[edit]