John Malkovich

John Malkovich Biography

John Gavin Malkovich (born December 9, 1953) is an American actor, producer, director, and fashion designer. Over the last 30 years of his career, Malkovich has appeared in more than 70 motion pictures. For his roles in Places in the Heart and In the Line of Fire, he received Academy Award nominations. He has also appeared in critically acclaimed films such as Empire of the Sun, The Killing Fields, Dangerous Liaisons, Of Mice and Men, Con Air, Being John Malkovich, and RED, and has produced numerous films, including Juno and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Early life

Malkovich was born in Christopher, Illinois. His paternal grandparents were Croatian, natives of Ozalj. His mother had French, German, Scottish, and English ancestry. He grew up in Benton, Illinois, in a large house on South Main Street. His father, Daniel Leon Malkovich, was a state conservation director and publisher of Outdoor Illinois, a conservation magazine. His mother, Joe Anne (née Choisser), owned the Benton Evening News, as well as Outdoor Illinois. Malkovich has three younger sisters and an older brother.

Malkovich attended Logan Grade School, Webster Junior High School, and Benton Consolidated High School. During his high school years, he appeared in various plays and the musical, Carousel. He was also a member of a folk rock musical trio, and was a member of a local summer theater/comedy project where he co-starred in Jean-Claude van Itallie's America Hurrah in 1972. Upon graduating high school, he entered Eastern Illinois University, and then transferred to Illinois State University, where he majored in theatre.


In 1976, Malkovich, along with Joan Allen, Gary Sinise, and Glenne Headly, became a charter member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago. He moved to New York City in 1980 to appear in a Steppenwolf production of the Sam Shepard play True West for which he won an Obie Award. In early 1982, he appeared in A Streetcar Named Desire with Chicago's Wisdom Bridge Theatre. Malkovich then directed a Steppenwolf co-production, the 1984 revival of Lanford Wilson's Balm in Gilead, for which he received a second Obie Award and a Drama Desk Award. His Broadway debut that year was as Biff in Death of a Salesman alongside Dustin Hoffman as Willy. Malkovich won an Emmy Award for this role when the play was adapted for television by CBS in 1985.

One of the actor's first forays into film was as an extra alongside Allen, Terry Kinney, George Wendt and Laurie Metcalf in Robert Altman's 1978 film A Wedding. He made his feature film debut in 1984 as Sally Field's blind boarder Mr. Will in Places in the Heart. For his portrayal of Mr. Will, Malkovich received his first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He also portrayed Al Rockoff in The Killing Fields. He continued to have steady work in films such as Empire of the Sun, directed by Steven Spielberg, and the 1987 film adaptation of Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. A few years later, Malkovich became a star when he portrayed the sinister and sensual Valmont in the 1988 film Dangerous Liaisons, a film adaptation of the stage play Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Christopher Hampton, who in turn had adapted it from the 1782 novel of the same title by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. He later reprised this role for the music video of "Walking on Broken Glass" by Annie Lennox.

In 1990, he recited, in Croatian, verses of the Croatian national anthem Lijepa na?a domovino (Our Beautiful Homeland) in Nenad Bach's song "Can We Go Higher?". Morten Faldaas

Malkovich starred in the 1992 film adaptation of John Steinbeck's award-winning novella Of Mice and Men as Lennie alongside Gary Sinise as George. In 1994, he was nominated for another Oscar, in the same category, for In the Line of Fire. Though he played the title role in the Charlie Kaufman-penned Being John Malkovich, he played a slight variation of himself, as indicated by the character's middle name of "Horatio". Malkovich has a cameo in the movie Adaptation."?also written by Kaufman"?appearing as himself during the filming of Being John Malkovich. The Dancer Upstairs, Malkovich's directorial film debut, was released in 2002. Recent film roles include The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Beowulf, Burn After Reading, Changeling, RED and Secretariat.

Malkovich has hosted three episodes of the NBC sketch show Saturday Night Live. The first occasion was in January 1989 with musical guest Anita Baker; the second in October 1993 with musical guest Billy Joel (and special appearance by former cast member Jan Hooks); and the third was in December 2008 with musical guest T.I. with Swizz Beatz (and special appearances by Justin Timberlake, Molly Sims and Jamie-Lynn Sigler).

In keeping with his renaissance-man image, he created his own fashion company, Mrs. Mudd, in 2002. The company released its John Malkovich menswear collection, "Uncle Kimono," in 2003, which was subsequently covered in international press, and its second clothing line, "Technobohemian," in 2010. Malkovich designed the outfits himself.

In a 2008 interview on College Hour, Malkovich revealed that he has been discussing making a motion picture adaptation of the Arnon Grunberg novel The Story of My Baldness.

In 2008, Malkovich portrayed the story of Jack Unterweger in a performance for one actor, two sopranos, and period orchestra entitled Seduction and Despair, which premiered at Barnum Hall in Santa Monica, CA. A fully staged version of the production, entitled The Infernal Comedy premiered in Vienna in July 2009. The show has since been performed in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 throughout Europe, North America and South America.

In November 2009, Malkovich appeared in an advertisement for Nespresso with fellow actor George Clooney. He portrayed Quentin Turnbull in the film adaption of Jonah Hex.

In 2011, Malkovich directed Julian Sands in A Celebration of Harold Pinter in the Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

In 2012 he directed a production of a newly-adapted French-language version of Les Liaisons Dangereuses for the Théâtre de l'Atelier in Paris. The production has a limited engagement in July 2013 at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City.

Malkovich is known for his distinctive voice which The Guardian describes as "a reedy, faintly orgasmic drawl".

Personal life

Malkovich was married to actress Glenne Headly from 1982 to 1988. They divorced after Malkovich became involved with Michelle Pfeiffer. He later met his long-term partner Nicoletta Peyran on the set of The Sheltering Sky, where she was the second assistant director, in 1989. They have two children, Amandine and Loewy.

Malkovich is fluent in French, and for nearly 10 years lived and worked in a theater in Southern France. He and his family left France in a dispute over taxes in 2003, and since then he has lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In a 2008 interview on the Late Show with David Letterman, Malkovich said he had just spent five weeks that summer living in France.

Malkovich lost millions to Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme when it collapsed in 2008.

Malkovich has raised funds for the Steppenwolf Theater Company, his sole charity.

Malkovich stated in a 2011 interview that "I'm not a political person actually, and I don't have an ideology." He also said that he had not voted since George McGovern lost his presidential run in 1972. However according to actor William Hootkins, who worked with Malkovich in BBC Television's Rocket to the Moon, Malkovich is "so right-wing you have to wonder if he's kidding."

When asked in an interview with the Toronto Star whether it was necessary to have spiritual beliefs to portray a spiritual character, he said "No, I'd say not...I'm an atheist. I wouldn't say I'm without spiritual belief particularly, or rather, specifically. Maybe I'm agnostic, but I'm not quite sure there's some great creator somehow controlling everything and giving us free will. I don't know; it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to me."

In a 2002 appearance at the Cambridge Union Society, when asked whom he would most like to "fight to the death", Malkovich replied that he would "rather just shoot" journalist Robert Fisk and British MP George Galloway. Both Fisk and Galloway reacted with outrage.

On June 6, 2013 Malkovich saved a 79 year old man's life, after the man tripped in the streets of Toronto, falling and slashing his throat on scaffolding. Malkovich appeared and applied pressure to the man's neck, before the man was rushed to a hospital, where he received stitches.



Year Film Role Notes
1983 Say Goodnight, Gracie
1984 Places in the Heart Mr. Will Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated "? Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
The Killing Fields Al Rockoff Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
True West Lee
1985 Death of a Salesman Biff Loman (Made for Television)
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Sant Jordi Award for Best Foreign Actor (Mejor Actor Extranjero)
Nominated "? Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor " Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Eleni Nick Gage
1986 Rocket to the Moon Ben Stark (Made for Television)
1987 The Glass Menagerie Tom WingfieldSant Jordi Award for Best Foreign Actor (Mejor Actor Extranjero)
Making Mr. Right Dr. Jeff Peters/Ulysses
Empire of the Sun Basie
Santabear's High Flying Adventure Santa Claus (voice) (Made for Television) His wife Glenne Headly voiced Mrs. Santa Claus.
1988 Miles from Home Barry Maxwell
Dangerous Liaisons Vicomte Sébastien de Valmont Sant Jordi Award for Best Foreign Actor (Mejor Actor Extranjero)
1990 The Sheltering Sky Port Moresby
1991 Old Times Deeley (Made for Television)
The Object of Beauty Jake
Queens Logic Elliot Nominated "? Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
1992 Shadows and Fog Clown
Of Mice and Men Lennie Small
Jennifer Eight Agent St. Anne Jury "Coup de Chapeau" (For the acting performance)
1993 In the Line of Fire Mitch Leary Nominated "? Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated "? BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated "? Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor " Motion Picture
Nominated "? MTV Movie Award for Best Villain
Nominated "? Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Alive Older Carlitos Paez Uncredited
1994 Heart of Darkness Kurtz (Made for Television)
Nominated "? Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor " Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated "? Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
1995 O Convento Michael
Beyond the Clouds The director
1996 Mary Reilly Dr. Henry Jekyll/Mr. Edward Hyde
The Portrait of a Lady Gilbert Osmond
The Ogre Abel Tiffauges Not released in US or UK
Mulholland Falls General Timms
1997 Con Air Cyrus 'The Virus' Grissom
1998 The Man in the Iron Mask Athos
Rounders Teddy KGB
1999 Being John Malkovich John Horatio Malkovich American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated "? Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated "? Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated "? Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated "? Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated "? Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc Charles VII
Le Temps Retrouvé Le Baron de Charlus
RKO 281 Herman Mankiewicz Nominated "? Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
2000 Shadow of the Vampire F.W. Murnau
Les Misérables Javert
2001 Knockaround Guys Teddy Deserve
I'm Going Home John Crawford, film director
Les âmes fortes Monsieur Numance
2002 The Dancer Upstairs Abimael Guzman Also director
Hideous Man Narrator Also narrator, director and writer
Napoléon Charles Talleyrand Nominated "? Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Ripley's Game Tom Ripley
2003 Johnny English Pascal Sauvage
Um Filme Falado Captain John Walesa
Adaptation. Himself
2004 The Libertine Charles II
2005 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Humma Kavula
Colour Me Kubrick Alan Conway
Flipping Uncle Kimono Himself Documentary
2006 Art School Confidential Professor Sandiford
Eragon Galbatorix
Klimt Gustav Klimt
The Call Priest short film
2007 Drunkboat Mort
In Transit Pavlov
Beowulf Unferth
Polis is This: Charles Olson and the Persistence of Place Himself Documentary
2008 Burn After Reading Osborne Cox Nominated "? St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
The Great Buck Howard Buck Howard
Changeling Reverend Briegleb
Gardens of the Night Michael
Mutant Chronicles Constantine
2009 Afterwards Joseph Kay
2010 Jonah Hex Quentin Turnbull
Secretariat Lucien Laurin
RED Marvin Boggs Nominated " Satellite Award for Best Actor " Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated " Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Disgrace David Lurie
2011 Transformers: Dark of the Moon Bruce Brazos
2012 Lines of Wellington General Wellington Raúl Ruiz's last film; completed by Valeria Sarmiento
2013 Chavez TBA
Warm Bodies General Grigio
Siberian Education Grandfather Kuzya
RED 2 Marvin Boggs
2014 Cut Bank Filming
The Giacomo Variations Giacomo Casanova Post-production


  • The Dancer Upstairs (2002)
  • Hideous Man (2002)


  • Hideous Man (2002)


  • The Accidental Tourist (1988) (executive producer)
  • Ghost World (2001)
  • The Dancer Upstairs (2002)
  • The Libertine (2004)
  • Kill the Poor (2006)
  • Art School Confidential (2006)
  • Juno (2007)
  • Young Adult (2011)
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
  • Chavez (2013)

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