Thompson in 2008
August 28, 1959 |
Ellensburg, Washington, United States
Brian Thompson (born August 28, 1959) is an American character actor. Thompson has played parts ranging from the Zen Buddhist Birkenstock-wearing sheriff of Key West, to the raging psycho cult leader in the film Cobra, the universe-conquering super villain in Mortal Kombat II, and numerous science fiction, fantasy, and comedy films, including the part of Buffalo Bob where he "put Joe Dirt in the hole" in Joe Dirt.
He began his career with a bit part in The Terminator, a 1984 blockbuster film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Since then, Thompson has worked primarily in the action adventure and science fiction genres. His first named role was in Werewolf, a series that ran during Fox's inaugural broadcasting year of 1987–1988. Thompson has played several characters in the Star Trek franchise, the Alien Bounty Hunter on X-Files, and Eddie Fiori on Kindred: The Embraced. In 2014, he produced, wrote and starred in the B movie, The Extendables.
Thompson was born in Ellensburg, Washington, and raised in Longview. He attended Central Washington University, where he studied business management, played football, and appeared in many school productions. He then moved to California and received a Masters of Fine Arts from University of California-Irvine. He initially trained and pursued a career in musical theater, performing at Riverside Civil Light Opera's production of "The King and I", Long Beach Civic Light Opera's "Bittersweet", and several other musicals. In 1982, he was a resident actor at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.
Thompson's athletic build and unique facial structure were key in the initial roles he was offered. He has stated that it has occasionally been a double-edged sword when it comes to auditioning for roles, but it has provided him with consistent work. Thompson said, "If you're very physical in stature, you're gonna get hired for action movies. The star's always going to be chasing someone so they need an equal adversary. I'm never going to play a nebbish geek."
He followed that up with "bad guy" roles on Otherworld, Street Hawk, and Knight Rider before landing the role in the Sylvester Stallone 1986 vehicle, Cobra. Although the film was critically panned, it was a commercial success. The New York Times wrote of Thompson's portrayal, "the archvillain, a character that is a cross between a James Bond fantasy villain such as Jaws and a raging psychopath, delivers a scorching monologue – a feat of linguistic sophistication that Cobra would have a hard time matching."
He appeared in the film Rage and Honor (1992) as Conrad Drago. In 1993, Thompson landed a role in the large ensemble series Key West which was filmed on location in the Florida Keys. The series lasted for 13 episodes. In a departure from his previous work, he played a "new-age sheriff", which Thompson stated was his favorite role of his career. The character uttered the introductory line, "I'm Sheriff Cody Jeremiah Jefferson. I'm a direct descendant of Wyatt Earp and the Lone Ranger. My personal heroes are Ted Nugent, Buddha and Davy Crockett. I am the last real lawman and the first peace officer of the 21st century."
The following year, Thompson began his tenure on X-Files and followed that with roles in the science fiction-fantasy series Seven Days, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Charmed. Between these, Thompson made dozens of appearances in other shows and films, often in similar roles. In 1996, he appeared in Dragonheart as the lead henchman of David Thewlis' villainous king. The fantasy film, starring Dennis Quaid and Sean Connery, was a moderate success.
Thompson then returned to the big screen as lead antagonist Shao Kahn in the film adaptation of Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. The film was both a critical and commercial failure, with a 3% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes. The New York Times called it "colossal compendium of logic-defying martial arts, noisy, hyperactive special effects and rudimentary acting." In 2014, Thompson released The Extendables, a film he produced, written and starred in. A parody of movies like The Expendables, Thompson stated that it contained true-to-life instances from his own career. It was released via iTunes.
In 1989, Thompson landed his first Star Trek role in Star Trek: The Next Generation. His size worked against him at first, because the producers were originally looking to cast someone who could fit in a certain costume. He was able to convince them to give him a try: "That was the first of five auditions that I've had for Star Trek and they've hired me every time." Thompson played a Klingon in the episode A Matter of Honor. In 1993 and 1996, he appeared in episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as different characters. In 1994, he appeared in the film Star Trek: Generations.
In 2005, Thompson was cast as Admiral Valdore in three episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise. Thompson has since participated, to some extent, in Star Trek fandom, giving narrative DVD extras and appearing at conventions.
|1984||The Terminator||Street Punk||Bit character attacked and killed by The Terminator|
|1986||Cobra||Night Slasher||Key villain|
|1986||Three Amigos||Thug||A lackey of The German|
|1988||Fright Night II||Bozworth||Bug-eating lackey|
|1988||Alien Nation||Trent Porter|
|1988||Miracle Mile||Helicopter Pilot|
|1990||Moon 44||Jake O'Neal|
|1991||Life Stinks||Mean Victor|
|1992||Doctor Mordrid||Kabal||Key villain, an evil wizard|
|1993||The Naked Truth||Bruno|
|1994||Star Trek Generations||Klingon Helm||Klingon helmsman|
|1997||Mortal Kombat: Annihilation||Shao Kahn||Main antagonist|
|2000||Jason and the Argonauts||Hercules||Television miniseries|
|2001||Joe Dirt||Buffalo Bob||Parodies the Buffalo Bill role from The Silence of the Lambs|
|2001||The Order||Cyrus Jacob||Key villain|
|2007||Fist of the Warrior||Max|
|2007||Flight of the Living Dead: Outbreak on a Plane||Kevin|
|2014||The Extendables||Vardell Duseldorfer||With Mark Dacascos, Kevin Sorbo, Martin Kove, Patrick Warburton, Gary Graham and Marisa Ramirez|
|1988||Favorite Son||Rolf Petersen||3 episodes|
|1988||Werewolf||Nicholas Remy||6 episodes|
|1989||Star Trek||Various Klingons||Appeared as different named or unnamed Klingons in four Star Trek series|
|1990||Alien Nation||Peter Rabbit||Episode: "Rebirth"|
|1993||Key West||Sheriff Cody Jeremiah Johnson||13 episodes|
|1994||The X-Files||Alien Bounty Hunter||Episodes: "Colony", "End Game", 7 more episodes|
|1996||Kindred: The Embraced||Eddie Fiori||6 episodes as the leader of the Brujah clan of vampires|
|1997||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Luke||Episodes: "Welcome to the Hellmouth", "The Harvest"|
|1998||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||The Judge||Episodes: "Surprise", "Innocence"|
|2000||Charmed||Horseman of War||Episode: "Apocalypse, Not" (season 2, Episode 21)|
|2002||Birds of Prey||The Crawler||Episode: "Split"|
|2003||Charmed||Titan Cronos||Episode: "Oh My Goddess (Part 1 & 2)" (season 5, Episodes 22 & 23)|
|2004||NCIS||Master Chief Vince Nutter||Episode: "The Truth is Out There"|
|2005||Star Trek: Enterprise||Romulan Admiral Valdore||3 episodes|
|2009||Chuck||Cliff Arculin / Cliff Siljak||Episode: "Chuck Versus the Suburbs"|
|2012||Californication||Mr. Scary||Episode: "At the Movies" (Directed by Helen Hunt)|
|2012||Spirit of a Denture||Captain Jasper Crow||With Kevin Spacey|
- Hiltbrand, David (January 18, 1993). "Picks and Pans Review: Key West". People Magazine. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- Bolotin, Louise (June 10, 2012). "INTERVIEW: Action star Brian Thompson on The Terminator". Screen Jabber. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- Schneider, Michael (December 3, 2009). "Fox hunting werewolves". Variety. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- "Werewolf television series profile". IMDb. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- SFX Staff Writer (June 2, 2011). "SF’s Serial Guest Stars". SFX.com. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- Man, Wild Peking (November 23, 2013). "Brian Thompson and Mark Dacascos are 'The Extendables'". City on Fire. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- WGA. "Brian Thompson". IMDb. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- "The Working Class - Brian Thompson". Cultural Atrocities. September 19, 2011. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- Eramo, Steve (March 15, 2011). "Sci-Fi Blast From The Past - Brian Thompson (Star Trek: The Next Generation)". SciFi TV & Talk. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- Nelson, Craig (October 5, 2012). "Manchester film fans turned out for a special screening of The Terminator and we interview Brian Thompson.". Manchester Gossip. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- Darnton, Nina (May 24, 1986). "FILM: SYLVESTER STALLONE AS POLICEMAN, IN 'COBRA'". New York Times. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
- Anderson, Phillip (July 22, 2000). "Interviews: Brian Thompson - actor, "X-Files"/"Star Trek"/"Key West"/"Dragonheart"". KAOS 2000. San Diego Comic Con International. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- T'Bonz (March 31, 2014). "APRIL-MAY 2014 TREK CONVENTIONS AND APPEARANCES". Trek Today. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- Tucker, Ken (June 7, 1996). "Dragonheart (1996)". Entertainment Weekly (EW). Retrieved 28 October 2014.
- Staff Writers. "MORTAL KOMBAT: ANNIHILATION (1997)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- VanGelder, Lawrence (November 22, 1997). "Mortal Kombat The Annihilation (1997) FILM REVIEW; Based on a Video Game. Need to Know More?". New York Times. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- Valkor (August 22, 2014). "The Extendables Movie Review". The Other View. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- Staff. "The Extendables". iTunes. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- Tenuto, John (December 17, 2012). "REVIEW: Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 2 on Blu-ray". Trek News.Com. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- Wedlan, Candace. "Hapkido Helps Put the Wind in His Sails". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- on YouTube
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