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John Savage (actor)

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John Savage
Savage in 2017
John Smeallie Youngs

(1949-08-25) August 25, 1949 (age 74)[1]
Alma materAmerican Academy of Dramatic Arts
Years active1969–present
  • Susan Youngs
    (m. 1967; div. 1969)
  • (m. 1993; div. 2002)

John Smeallie Youngs (born August 25, 1949[1]), known professionally as John Savage, is an American actor.[2] He first rose to prominence in the late 1970s for his portrayals of troubled-but-sensitive characters in films like The Deer Hunter (1978), The Onion Field (1979) and Hair (1979). His television roles include Donald Lydecker on Dark Angel (2000–2002)[3][4] and Hack Scudder on Carnivàle (2003–2005).

Early life[edit]

John Smeallie Youngs was born in Old Bethpage on Long Island, New York on August 25, 1949, to Floyd and Muriel Youngs. Savage's younger siblings, Gail (b. 1952)[5] and Jim Youngs (b. 1956),[6] are also actors. His younger sister, Robin Young, is a Peabody Award-winning journalist and news broadcaster.[7]

After graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts,[8][9] Savage worked for the Manhattan's Children's Theatre Group.


Savage has appeared in more than 200 feature films, short films, recurring roles in television series and guest appearances in episodes of television series. One of Savage's first notable roles is as Claude Hooper Bukowski in the 1979 film Hair.[10][11] His first major film role was as Steven Pushkov in the multiple Oscar-winning 1978 film The Deer Hunter.[12] He also had a lead role in the 1979 film The Onion Field.[13]

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.[14]

In 1991, he starred in Italian director Lucio Fulci's final film Door to Silence.[15] He then had a brief role in the 1998 war film The Thin Red Line,[16] portrayed Captain Ransom in the two part episode "Equinox" of the television series Star Trek: Voyager in 1999,[17] and appeared in the recurring role of Donald Lydecker in the first and second seasons of the 2000 television series Dark Angel.[18]

Savage appeared in the recurring role of Henry Scudder in the HBO television series Carnivàle between 2003 and 2005.[19] He appeared in unrelated roles in two of the series in the Law & Order franchise: the 2004 Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "Conscience" as a man who put his wife in a permanent coma, and the 2005 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Quarry" as a child molester on death row for murdering one of his victims.[20]

Savage appeared in the 2015 horror film Tales of Halloween,[21] the 2017 film In Dubious Battle,[22] and on the 2017 continuation of the television show Twin Peaks.[23]

In 2017, Savage spoke at a tribute honoring director Richard Donner, held by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[24]

In 2018, he appeared on the television show Goliath.[25] In the same year, Savage lent his voice to a monologue on the title track of the album This Town by Steve Smith of Dirty Vegas.[26]

Personal life[edit]

Savage has two children with his first wife, Susan (divorced 1969), including actress Jennifer Youngs (b. 1969). He was married to South African actress Sandi Schultz between 1993 and 2002.[8]

During the 1980s and 1990s, Savage was an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa, and became acquainted with Nelson Mandela. He helped secure Mandela's involvement in the 1992 film Malcolm X, directed by Spike Lee, on which he was the assistant production manager for the South Africa unit.[27]

Savage's former brother-in-law was actor Robert Duvall, who was married to his sister Gail Youngs, from 1982 to 1986.[8][5]



Film Credits
Year Title Role Notes
1969 The Master Beater Rocco
1971 Love is a Carousel Boy Friend
1972 Bad Company Loney
1973 Steelyard Blues Kid
The Killing Kind Terry Lambert
1974 The Sister in Law Robert Strong
1975 Eric Eric Swensen
1978 The Deer Hunter Corporal Steven Pushkov
1979 Hair Claude Hooper Bukowski
The Onion Field Det. Karl Francis Hettinger
1980 Inside Moves Roary
1981 Cattle Annie and Little Britches Bittercreek Newcomb
The Amateur Charles Heller
1983 Brady's Escape J.W. Brady
1984 Maria's Lovers Ivan Bibic
1986 Vengeance of a Soldier Frank Morgan
Salvador John Cassady
The Little Sister Tim Donovan
1987 Hotel Colonial Marco Venieri
Beauty and the Beast Beast / Prince
Caribe Jeff Richardson
1988 The Beat Frank Ellsworth
1989 Point of View Amnon Yehoshua
Do the Right Thing Clifton
1990 Any Man's Death Leon Abrahams
Voice in the Dark Dan Montgomery
The Godfather Part III Father Andrew Hagen
Ottobre rosa all'Arbat Boris
1991 Dark Tale Roy Kramer
Hunting Michael Bergman
Mountain of Diamonds Blaine
Buck ai confini del cielo Wintrop
Notti di paura Paola
1992 Door to Silence Melvin Dovereux
Primary Motive Wallace Roberts
1993 Berlin '39 Wieland
CIA II: Target Alexa Frank Kluge
1994 Killing Obsession Albert
Red Scorpion 2 Andrew Kendrick
Deadly Weapon Sanders
1995 The Dangerous Emile Lautrec
Carnosaur 2 Jack Reed
The Crossing Guard Bobby
The Takeover Greg
Fatal Choice Drury
White Squall McCrea
One Good Turn Santapietro
Where Truth Lies Dr. Ian Lazarre
American Stays Dwayne
Flynn Joe Stromberg
Firestorm Brinkman
1997 The Mouse Bruce Strauss
Little Boy Blue Ray West
Amnesia Tim Bishop
Hollywood Safari Deputy Rogers
Hostile Intent Bear
Et hjørne af Paradis Padre Louis
Managua Dennis
Ultimo taglio Leo Kimball
1998 Club Vampire Zero
The Thin Red Line Sgt. Jack McCron
1999 Frontline Captain Wolfgang Mueller
Message in a Bottle Johnny Land
Summer of Sam Simon
2000 Christina's House James Tarling
They Nest Jack Wald
2001 Dead Man's Run Carver
Burning Down the House Jake Seiling
2002 Redemption of the Ghost Sheriff Rollie Burns
The Anarchist Cookbook Johnny Red
2003 Intoxicating William Shanley
Easy Sex Frank Iverson
2004 Fallacy Heathcliff
Admissions Harry Brighton
Downtown: A Street Tale H2O
2005 Iowa Irv Huffman
Confessions of a Pit Fighter McGee
The New World Thomas Savage
2006 Kill Your Darlings Rock
The Drop Mr. Zero
Shut Up and Shoot! Marty Pearlheimer
2007 Shortcut to Happiness Johnny uncredited
The Attic Graham Callan
2008 The Grift William Bender
From a Place of Darkness Vic
Boiler Maker JJ
The Coverup Thomas Thacker
The Golden Boys Web Saunders
The Violent Kind George Malloy
2009 Anytown News Producer
Handsome Harry Peter Rheems
Qi chuan xu xu Frank Dreibelbis
Buffalo Bushido Vendetti
Remembering Nigel Himself
The Red Canvas Harbin Rask
2010 Dreamkiller Agent Barnes
Bereavement Ted
A Small Town Called Descent Father Scully
Bed & Breakfast Mr. Harvey
2011 Colombian Interviews James
The Last Gamble John
Nichirin no isan Douglas MacArthur
The Orphan Killer Detective Walker
Hit List Walter Murphy
Assassins' Code Arlo
2012 The Jonas Project Calvin Kabral
The Black Dove Jake Williams
Sins Expiation Father Karl
Money Fight Harbin Rask
Open Road Carl
2013 Real Gangsters Ted Roberts
Gemini Rising Manning
Awakened Jack Winston
A Star for Rose Mort
7E Paul
Discarded Jay
2014 Bullet Governor Johnson
Fort Bliss Mike Swann
See How They Run The Codger
The Lookalike William Spinks
Cry of the Butterfly William Berman
The Big Fat Stone Robert Tanninger
2015 The Sparrows: Nesting Marvin
We Will Be the World Champions William Jones
Tales of Halloween Capt. J.G. Zimmerman segment "Bad Seed"
Beverly Hills Christmas Mr. Winters
2016 Last Call at Murray's Bennett
Texas Heart Carl
In Dubious Battle Dan
American Romance Emery Reed
Dead South Stokes
2017 Nephilim Father Samuel voice role
The Return Covek u crnom odelu
The Neighborhood Vito Bello
Spreading Darkness Brett
Fake News President Wayne Walker
Going Vertical Henry "Hank" Iba
2018 Betrayed Mayor Alderman
Easy Way Out Martin
Followed Wallace Fleischer
2019 Sensory Perception President of United Earth
Gates of Darkness Joseph
Hold On Dr. Siedhoff
The Islands Henry Thornton
The Last Full Measure Kepper
Down's Revenge Dr. Sorkin
Heavenly Deposit Donald
Spinning Dry Frank Manghetti
2020 A Medicine for the Mind Dr. Ernest Brown short film
2021 Torch August Lewin
Lockdown The Narrator
Insight Frank
The Dog of Christmas Ron
2022 The Right to Bear Arms Brutal Magnus
2023 Showdown at the Grand


Television Credits
Year Title Role Notes
1974 All the Kind Strangers Peter Television film
1975 Gibbsville Jim Malloy Television film
1982 Coming Out of the Ice Victor Herman Television film
1985 Silent Witness Kevin Dunne Television film
1993 Daybreak President Television film
1994 Tales from the Crypt Benny Season 6 Episode 5 "Revenge is the Nuts"
1995 Tom Clancy's Op Center Bob Herbert, National Intelligence Officer Television film
The X-Files Henry Trondheim Season 2 Episode 19 "Død Kalm"
The Outer Limits Lucas Season 1 Episode 12 "The Conversion"
1996 Walker, Texas Ranger Sergeant Major Tom Hawkins Season 4 Episode 2 "Patriot"
1997 Before Women Had Wings Billy Jackson Television film
1998 Lost Souls Victor Robinson Television film
1999 The Jack Bull Slater Television film
Star Trek Voyager Captain Rudy Ransom Two-part episode "Equinox"
2000 The Virginian Steve Television film
Dark Angel Donald Lydecker Main cast season 1, recurring season 2
2003 Carnivàle Henry "Hack" Scudder Recurring role
2004 Law and Order: Criminal Intent Mark Farrell
Alien Lockdown Dr. Alan Woodman Television Film
Sucker Free City Anderson Wade Television Film
2005 Love's Long Journey Trent Television Film
2009 Fringe Andre Hughes Season 2 Episode 2 "Night of Desirable Objects"
2013 Defending Santa Judge Willis Television Film
Cleaners Marcus Walker Recurring season 2
2014 Bermuda Tentacles President DeSteno Television Film
2017 Teen Star Academy Burt Television Film
Twin Peaks Detective Clark
Empire of the Sharks Ian Fein Television Film
2018 40 and Single Stewart Temple
Mission Possible Captain Ted Napoleon Television Film
Goliath Mickey Recurring season 2
Torque Agent Curtis
6 Children & 1 Grandfather David McDoll Television Film
2019 Ovid and the Art of Love Augustus Television Film


  1. ^ a b Willis, John; Monush, Barry, eds. (2006). Screen World: 2005 Film Annual. Vol. 56. New York: Applause Books. p. 373. ISBN 978-1-557-83668-7.
  2. ^ "An Interview With Actor John Savage". FOX 5 San Diego. June 19, 2020. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
  3. ^ "John Savage". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. 2014. Archived from the original on April 10, 2014.
  4. ^ "John Savage Uses Film To Help His Neighbors". The New York Times. February 28, 1988.
  5. ^ a b "Robert Duvall Has Been Married 4 Times: Meet His Ex-Wives and Current Wife Luciana". www.yahoo.com. October 18, 2022. Retrieved June 24, 2023.
  6. ^ says, Jim (April 3, 2020). "John Savage Draws Strength from Fan Recognition, Military Veterans - Hollywood in Toto". www.hollywoodintoto.com. Retrieved June 24, 2023.
  7. ^ "The Tribe From 'Hair' Reunites After 40 Years". www.wbur.org. Retrieved June 24, 2023.
  8. ^ a b c "John Savage". www.tcm.com. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
  9. ^ "John Savage". LA Music Awards. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
  10. ^ Denby, David (March 19, 1979). "'Hair' Transplanted". New York. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
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  12. ^ Deal, David (October 18, 2011). Television Fright Films of the 1970s. McFarland. ISBN 978-0786455140.
  13. ^ Hischak, Thomas S. (July 9, 2012). American Literature on Stage and Screen: 525 Works and Their Adaptations. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. ISBN 9780786492794.
  14. ^ Mamet, David (July 22, 2014). American Buffalo. New York City: Grove/Atlantic, Inc. ISBN 978-0802191809.
  15. ^ Winick, Margot (January 1, 1996). Spaghetti Nightmares: Italian Fantasy-horrors as Seen Through the Eyes of Their Protagonists. Fantasma Books. ISBN 978-0963498274.
  16. ^ Patterson, Hannah (November 19, 2007). The Cinema of Terrence Malick: Poetic Visions of America. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0231850117.
  17. ^ Ruditis, Paul (2003). Star Trek Voyager Companion. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0743417518.
  18. ^ Garcia, Frank; Phillips, Mark (September 27, 2013). Science Fiction Television Series, 1990–2004: Histories, Casts and Credits for 58 Shows. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. ISBN 978-0786491834.
  19. ^ Terrace, Vincent (November 12, 2012). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2d ed.). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. ISBN 978-0786486410.
  20. ^ Stevens, Dennis J. (April 19, 2011). Media and Criminal Justice: The CSI Effect. Jones & Bartlett Publishers. ISBN 978-1449658120.
  21. ^ Harvey, Dennis (October 20, 2015). "Film Review: 'Tales of Halloween'". Variety. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ Collins, Sean T. (August 7, 2017). "'Twin Peaks' Recap: In Arms' Way". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ "235: John Savage". ART19. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  26. ^ "An unlikely trip from Dirty Vegas to the South Shore". The Boston Globe. August 19, 2007. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  27. ^ "John Savage". LA Music Awards. Retrieved June 23, 2023.

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