John Savage (actor)

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John Savage
John Savage.jpg
John Smeallie Youngs

(1949-08-25) August 25, 1949 (age 69)
Years active1969–present
Spouse(s)Susan Youngs (1967–1969; divorced; 2 children)
Sandi Schultz (1993–2003; divorced)
Partner(s)Blanca Blanco (2008-present)
ChildrenJennifer Youngs (b. 1968)
Lachlan Youngs

John Savage (born John Smeallie Youngs; August 25, 1949)[1] is an American actor, best known for his roles in the films The Deer Hunter, The Onion Field, Hair and Salvador. He is also known for his role as Donald Lydecker in the TV series Dark Angel.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Savage was born in Old Bethpage, New York, to Muriel (née Smeallie), a housewife, and Floyd-Jones Youngs, an insurance salesman who served on Guadalcanal during World War II with the Marine Corps.[4] His sisters are Boston-based radio and television personality Robin Young and actress Gail Youngs. His brother is actor Jim Youngs.[5]


One of Savage's most notable roles is as Claude Bukowski in Miloš Forman's 1979 film Hair.[6][7] His first major film role was as Steven Pushkov in the 1978 film The Deer Hunter, the story of a group of Russian American steel workers during the Vietnam War, opposite Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken.[8] The film's 40th anniversary was celebrated in 2018.[9] He also had a lead role in the 1979 film The Onion Field, based on the true story of policeman Karl Hettinger's personal struggle after witnessing the murder of his partner.[10]

Savage discussing Hair at Sofia International Film Festival, March 2017

In the late 1970s, he performed in the Broadway production of David Mamet's play American Buffalo, opposite Robert Duvall and Kenneth McMillan.[11]

In 1991, he starred in Italian director Lucio Fulci's final film Door to Silence, a psychological thriller shot in Louisiana.[12] He then had a brief role in Terrence Malick's 1998 war film The Thin Red Line,[13] portrayed Captain Ransom in the two part episode Equinox from television series Star Trek: Voyager in 1999,[14] and appeared in the recurring role of Donald Lydecker in the first and second seasons of the 2000 television series Dark Angel.[15]

Shortly after, he appeared in the recurring role of Henry Scudder in the HBO television series Carnivàle between 2003 and 2005.[16] In 2005, he made a guest star appearance on NBC crime drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.[17] He lent his voice to a monologue on the title track of the album This Town by Steve Smith of Dirty Vegas which was released on February 18, 2008.[18] In September 2009, he appeared in the second episode of Season 2 of the Fox network drama Fringe.[19]

He starred in Vernon Mortensen's 2013 western thriller The Sorrow opposite Kirk Harris and Michael Madsen.[20] In 2015, he appeared in the horror film Tales of Halloween,[21] and the following year he played a supporting role in the 2016 film Hit List.[22] In 2017, he appeared in the films Fake News,[23] The Last Full Measure[24] and James Franco's In Dubious Battle,[25] and on the 2017 continuation of the television show Twin Peaks.[26] In 2018, he appeared on the television show Goliath.[27]

In 2017, Savage spoke at a tribute honoring director Richard Donner, held by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[28]




  1. ^ U.S. Public Records Index, Volume 1; at
  2. ^ "John Savage". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "John Savage Uses Film To Help His Neighbors". The New York Times. February 28, 1988.
  4. ^ John Savage profile,; accessed October 5, 2016.
  5. ^ "John Savage Biography (1949?-)". Film Reference. Retrieved June 18, 2015.
  6. ^ Denby, David (March 19, 1979). "'Hair' Transplanted". New York. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  7. ^ Muir, John Kenneth (2007). The Rock & Roll Film Encyclopedia. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 978-1557836939.
  8. ^ Deal, David (October 18, 2011). Television Fright Films of the 1970s. McFarland. ISBN 978-0786455140.
  9. ^ Heath, Paul (June 19, 2018). "'The Deer Hunter' Celebrates 40th Anniversary With New Trailer & Poster". The Hollywood News. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  10. ^ Hischak, Thomas S. (July 9, 2012). American Literature on Stage and Screen: 525 Works and Their Adaptations. McFarland. ISBN 9780786492794.
  11. ^ Mamet, David (July 22, 2014). American Buffalo. Grove/Atlantic, Inc. ISBN 978-0802191809.
  12. ^ Winick, Margot (January 1, 1996). Spaghetti Nightmares: Italian Fantasy-horrors as Seen Through the Eyes of Their Protagonists. Fantasma Books. ISBN 978-0963498274.
  13. ^ Patterson, Hannah (November 19, 2007). The Cinema of Terrence Malick: Poetic Visions of America. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0231850117.
  14. ^ Ruditis, Paul (2003). Star Trek Voyager Companion. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0743417518.
  15. ^ Garcia, Frank; Phillips, Mark (September 27, 2013). Science Fiction Television Series, 1990–2004: Histories, Casts and Credits for 58 Shows. McFarland. ISBN 978-0786491834.
  16. ^ Terrace, Vincent (November 12, 2012). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2d ed.). McFarland. ISBN 978-0786486410.
  17. ^ Stevens, Dennis J. (April 19, 2011). Media and Criminal Justice: The CSI Effect. Jones & Bartlett Publishers. ISBN 978-1449658120.
  18. ^ "An unlikely trip from Dirty Vegas to the South Shore". The Boston Globe. August 19, 2007. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  19. ^ Hanks, Henry (January 1, 2013). "After 100 episodes, 'Fringe' cast bids farewell". CNN. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  20. ^ "The Sorrow (A Sierra Nevada Gunfight)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  21. ^ Harvey, Dennis (October 20, 2015). "Film Review: 'Tales of Halloween'". Variety. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  22. ^ Collins, Minh (January 26, 2016). "Hit List". MTI Home Video. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  23. ^ Hipes, Patrick (June 30, 2017). "Real News About 'Fake News': John Savage & Blanca Blanco Join Indie Thriller". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  24. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (August 1, 2017). "Jeremy Irvine, 'Vampire Diaries' Actor Zach Roerig & More Set For 'The Last Full Measure'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  25. ^ Nordine, Michael (August 29, 2016). "'In Dubious Battle' Trailer: James Franco Takes on John Steinbeck in His Latest Literary Adaptation". IndieWire. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  26. ^ Collins, Sean T. (August 7, 2017). "'Twin Peaks' Recap: In Arms' Way". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  27. ^ "235: John Savage". ART19. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  28. ^ Thompson, Melissa (June 2, 2017). "THE GOONIES, SUPERMAN, LETHAL WEAPON Filmmaker Richard Donner Gets Tribute By The Academy June 7". We Are Movie Geeks. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  29. ^ "7E". IMDb. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  30. ^ "John Savage". IMDb. Retrieved July 11, 2018.

External links[edit]