Wolfgang Bodison

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Wolfgang Bodison
Born (1966-11-19) November 19, 1966 (age 51)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Residence Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California
Occupation Film, television actor

Wolfgang Bodison (born November 19, 1966) is an American actor best known for playing Lance Cpl. Harold W. Dawson in the 1992 drama film A Few Good Men.

Early life and education[edit]

Brian Wolfgang Bodison[1] was born on November 19, 1966 in Washington, D.C.[2][3] His mother, Dorothea Bodison, works for the National Institutes of Health.[4] His father died in a car accident when he was a child.[5]

In 1988, he graduated from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia,[2][4] where he played football, as a team member of the Virginia Cavaliers, and earned a degree in fine arts.[1][6][7]


Life before acting[edit]

After his graduation, Bodison was hired as a file clerk at Columbia Pictures. From there, he was hired for a job in 1989 at the mail room at Castle Rock Entertainment.[1][6]

Rob Reiner made Bodison his personal assistant on the set of Misery (1990).[4][6][7] At the time, Bodison had an aspiration on becoming a screenwriter and film director and would take notes on Reiner's direction.[1][4][8]

Bodison was also credited as being the picture-car coordinator for John Singleton's film, Boyz n the Hood (1991). "My job was to go into South Central and get some of the car clubs interested in the movie," Bodison said.[1][4]

A Few Good Men[edit]

At first, Reiner made Bodison his location manager for A Few Good Men (1992). However, Reiner had trouble casting for the role of Lance Cpl. Harold Dawson, a young recruiting poster of a Marine on trial for the murder of a private.[1]

"We were talking, and he said, 'Wolf, have you ever acted?'" Bodison said. "I said, 'No, man.' He said, 'Ever thought about it?' 'No.' He said, 'Well, I'm trying to cast the movie, and I haven't found anyone for Dawson who fits my vision. Why don't you read for it?'" Since Bodison had never acted before, he hired Julie Ariola, an acting coach. "He's a very creative kid and very intelligent," Ariola said. "He was like a sponge. He took every suggestion."[1]

On August 1991, shortly after Bodison's audition, he was called back to read again. Three days later: "I stopped at a pay phone, called Rob, and he said, 'Wolf, welcome to the movie business.'" Bodison said. "Man, I damn near dropped the phone. Then I went home and sat down in front of my window. I thought, 'What in the hell is going on?'"[1]

"I wasn't the least bit surprised he got the job," said Ariola on Bodison getting what became his most well known role. "Destiny. That's what it was."[1]

On her review of the film, The Washington Post film critic Rita Kempley described Bodison as an "impressive non-actor".[9] On his review, Hartford Courant film critic Malcolm Johnson described him as "fierce" and "devoted".[10] Writing for the Los Angeles Times, David Gritten wrote that Bodison "played it from the heart and gut. I've never seen anyone express contempt with just one look the way he does. He was enormously good at conveying complicated emotions without a word. You knew exactly how he felt."[11] Film critic Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote, "Mr. Bodison, a new young actor whose performance as the more prominent defendant gives the film its melancholy shock value."[12]

Later career[edit]

Other films Bodison appeared in include Little Big League (1994), The Expert (1995), Freeway (1996), Goodbye America (1997), Most Wanted (1997), Joe Somebody (2001), Akeelah and the Bee (2006) and Legacy (2010). Television credits include recurring roles on Nothing Sacred and Family Law, as well as guest-star appearances on hit shows such as Highlander: The Series, CSI: NY, CSI: Miami, NCIS, Cane, ER, and Perception.[5][13][14][15][16]

Bodison's aspiration to become a screenwriter and director came true by writing and directing the short films, Simone, Broken, Sarah's Wish, and The Long Wait, all of which have screened in major festivals worldwide. In the latter film he also starred, along with Elizabeth Yoder, who he first collaborated with at Playhouse West in Los Angeles. "Working with Wolfgang was incredible," Yoder recalls. "He made the writing process easy. What we shared was an understanding of how devastating these unresolved emotions can be, especially through the lens of childhood. After my 24 year quest for solace, understanding and redemption, it's been enormously cathartic." Bodison and Yoder shared the Storytelling Achievement Award at the 2014 Laughlin International Film Festival. "It's a story of forgiveness," Bodison explains. "Winning the Storytelling Award means a lot because, as writer and director, my job is to tell a great story. This recognition is a huge personal achievement." Bodison also won the Best Director Award at the Playhouse West Film Festival as well as two additional awards for Best Actor and Best Short Film at the 2014 Beaufort International Film Festival.[5][17][18]

He recently appeared in the independent feature, Ragamuffin (2014).[5][19]

Bodison is the artistic director at the Los Angeles branch of the Playhouse West School and Repertory Theatre.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Bodison resides in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles.[1]

Select filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1992 A Few Good Men Lance Corporal Harold Dawson, USMC
1994 Little Big League Spencer Hamilton
1994 Criminal Passion Jordan Monroe
1995 The Expert Don Mason
1996 Freeway Detective Mike Breer
1997 Goodbye America Jack Hamilton
Most Wanted Captain Steve Braddock
2001 Joe Somebody Cade Raymond
2006 Akeelah and the Bee Samuel Anderson
2010 Legacy Jim Burgess
2011 Not Another Not Another Movie Himself
2014 The Appearing Father Callahan
2015 Caught Coach


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Johnson, Dave (27 June 1993). "A Few Good Breaks". Daily Press. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  2. ^ a b Wolfgang Bodison biography at The New York Times
  3. ^ hollywood.com
  4. ^ a b c d e Hall, Carla (2 March 1993). "TOM, JACK, DEMI ... AND WOLFGANG?". Deseret News. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d "Critically-Acclaimed Film "The Long Wait" Receives "Storytelling Achievement" Award at the 2014 Laughlin International Film Festival". PR Web. 3 November 2014. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  6. ^ a b c Garey, Juliann (20 November 1992). "Wolfgang Bodison -- The neophyte actor hopes A Few Good Men is the beginning of a long film career". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  7. ^ a b Wilson, Justin (21 January 1993). "A 'Good' man is hard to find". The Cavalier Daily. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  8. ^ King, Susan (5 December 1992). "Rob Reiner Needed One Good Neophyte Actor for 'Few Good Men'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  9. ^ Kempley, Rita (11 December 1992). "'A Few Good Men'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  10. ^ Johnson, Malcolm (11 December 1992). "Nicholson Carries `A Few Good Men' To The Verdict". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  11. ^ Gritten, David (28 March 1993). "Calendar Goes To The Oscars : A Hollywood Legend's List : Veteran director Fred Zinnemann, 85, whose films have won more than 25 Academy Awards, casts his eye over this year's top Oscar nominees". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  12. ^ Canby, Vincent (11 December 1992). "A Few Good Men (1992)Review/Film; Two Marines and Their Code on Trial". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  13. ^ "WOLFGANG BODISON". Tcm.com. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  14. ^ Bobbin, Jay (30 July 1995). "`True Lies' (HBO) A liberal mix of action and humor..." Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  15. ^ Wilmington, Michael (24 January 1997). "`Freeway' A Grimly Comic Retelling Of Red Riding Hood And The Wolf". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  16. ^ Ebert, Roger (24 January 1997). "FREEWAY". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  17. ^ "Elizabeth Yoder Wins "Best Actor" at 8th Annual Beaufort International Film Festival for The Long Wait". Marketwired. 4 March 2014. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  18. ^ Thomas, Kevin (11 October 1996). "'Freeway' Takes Detour on Way to Grandma's House". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  19. ^ Sarachik, Justin (27 February 2014). "Rich Mullins Movie 'Ragamuffin' Set to Premiere May 2 in Select Theaters Across the Country". Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  20. ^ "Auditing an Acting Class at Playhouse West". Retrieved 12 April 2015.

External links[edit]