Dileep Rao

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Dileep Rao
Born (1973-07-29) July 29, 1973 (age 43)
Los Angeles, USA
Occupation Actor
Years active 2006–present

Dileep A. Rao (born July 29, 1973) is an American actor who has appeared in feature films and television series. He starred in Sam Raimi's horror film Drag Me to Hell (2009), James Cameron's science fiction film Avatar (2009), and Christopher Nolan's thriller Inception (2010).

Life and career[edit]

Rao was born in Los Angeles to a physicist mother and an engineer father, both of Indian descent.[1][2] He grew up in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, Denver, Colorado, and Claremont, California. He has one sister who is a professor at New York University. He graduated from Claremont High School[3] and the University of California, San Diego, with a B.A., later receiving an M.F.A. from the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco where his class included Anna Belknap and Elizabeth Banks.

Rao's first role after graduating was in the American premiere of Indian Ink by Tom Stoppard. Rao moved to Los Angeles and began working in regional theater including at the Berkeley Rep, South Coast Repertory, and for the Manhattan Theater Club.

He competed on Jeopardy! on June 7, 2002, and won $34,400.[4] On June 8, 2008, Rao was randomly selected from over 1600 entrants to play the NPR Weekend Edition Sunday puzzle on air with Will Shortz.[5]

In 2009, he appeared in Avatar and Drag Me to Hell. He was nominated for several awards as part of the ensemble cast in Christopher Nolan's 2010 film Inception. He played a pharmacologist in the film.[6]

High average box office[edit]

As of February 22, 2011, the average U.S. domestic box office of Dileep Rao's movies was over $363 million and $1.2 billion worldwide. This is an extremely high average, especially for an actor who has appeared in multiple movies. Among actors tracked by Box Office Mojo, the highest average for an entertainment figure with multiple movies is Emma Watson with an average of $252 million. Lee Unkrich is reported with an "average" of over $400 million, but this is from a voice appearance in a single film.[7]


Year Film Role Notes
2009 Drag Me to Hell Rham Jas
Avatar Dr. Max Patel
2010 Inception Yusuf Nominated—Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
Nominated—Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble
Nominated—Scream Award for Best Ensemble
Nominated—Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble

TV roles[edit]


  1. ^ "AIA San Diego". AIA San Diego. May 13, 2010. Retrieved January 21, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Indian set to fly high". Deccan Herald. India. Retrieved January 21, 2012. 
  3. ^ Bolinger, Brenda (22 June 2012). "On to fame and fortune (and prison): CHS alumni in the public spotlight". Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  4. ^ "Dileep Rao". J-Archive. Retrieved July 20, 2010. 
  5. ^ "NPR Weekend Edition, June 8, 2008". Npr.org. June 8, 2008. Retrieved January 21, 2012. 
  6. ^ Anderson, John (July 5, 2010). "'Inception': To Dream, Perchance to Sleep". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 19, 2012. 
  7. ^ Subers, Ray. "Box office figures from". BoxOfficeMojo.com. Retrieved January 21, 2012. 

External links[edit]