Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 22 October 1952.
Courses in drama at Carnegie Mellon University; student of Sanford
Meisner; teacher of acting at Playhouse West in Hollywood, California.
Married 1) Patricia Gaul, 1980 (divorced 1985); 2) Geena Davis, 1987
Began acting career in theatre appearing with the New York Shakespeare
Festival and Phoenix Theatre Co.; career highlights include
voice-over/narration for commercials, documentaries, and animation; jazz
National Association of Theater Owners, Star of Tomorrow Award,1983;
Saturn Award, Best Actor, for
8033 Sunset Boulevard, #367, Los Angeles, CA 90046, U.S.A.
Death Wish (Winner) (as Attacker #1); California Split (Altman) (as Lloyd Harris)
Nashville (Altman) (as Tricycle Man)
Next Stop, Greenwhich Village (Mazorsky) (as Clyde Baxter); Special Delivery (Wendkos) (as Snake); St. Ives (Thompson) (as Hood #3)
Annie Hall (Allen) (Party Guest); Between the Lines (Silver) (as Max Arloft); The Sentinel (Winner) (as Jack)
Thank God It's Friday (Klane) (Tony Di Marco); Remember My Name (Rudolph) (as Mr. Nudd); Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Kaufman) (as Jack Bellicec)
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (Schellerup—for TV) (as Ichabod Crane)
Threshold (Pearce) (as Aldo Gehring)
The Big Chill (Kasdan) (as Michael); The Right Stuff (Kaufman) (as Recruiter)
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension (Richter) (as New Jersey); Into the Night (Landis) (Ed Okin); Ernie Kovacs: Between the Laughter (Johnson—for TV) (as Ernie Kovacs)
Transylvania 6–5000 (DeLuca) (as Jack Harrison); Silverado (Kasdan) (as Slick)
The Fly (Cronenberg) (as Seth Bundle)
Beyond Therapy (Altman) (as Bruce); Race for the Double Helix (Jackson—for TV) (as Jim Watson)
Vibes (Kwapis) (as Nick Deezy)
Earth Girls Are Easy (Temple) (as Mac); The Tall Guy (Smith) (as Dexter King)
Mr. Frost (Setbon) (as Mr. Frost); El Sueño del mono Ioco ( Twisted Obsession ) (Trueba) (as Dan Gillis); Framed (Parisot—for TV) (as Wiley)
The Favor, The Watch and The Very Big Fish (Lewn) (as Pianist); Shooting Elizabeth (Taylor) (as Howard Pidgeon); The Player (Altman) (as himself); Father and Sons (Mones) (as Max); Deep Cover (Duke) (as David Jason)
Jurassic Park (Spielberg) (as Ian Malcolm); Lush Life (Elias) (as Al Gorky)
Nine Months (Columbus) (Sean Fletcher); Powder (Saluka) (as Donald Ripley); Hideaway (Leonard) (as Hatch Harrison)
Mad Dog Time (Bishop) (as Mickey Holliday); Independence Day (Emmerich) (as David Levinson); The Great White Hype (Hudin) (as Mitchell Kane)
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (Spielberg) (as Ian Malcolm)
Holy Man (Herek) (Ricky Hayman); The Prince of Egypt (Chapman/Wells/Hickner) (as voice of Aaron)
One of the Hollywood Ten (Francis—for TV) (as Herbert Biberman); Chain of Fools (Taktor) (as Avnet); Auggie Rose (Tabak) (as John C. Nolan); Perfume (Rymer); Like Cats & Dogs (Guterman) (as Brody)
Brooks, Tim, and Earle Marsh, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows, 1946—Present , New York, 1985.
Pond, Steve, "Dateline Hollywood: Fear of 'Fly' Horror; Too-Graphic Scenes Cut before Film's Opening," in Washington Post , 21 August 1986.
Mathews, Jack, "Goldblum's 'Fly' May Land in Oscar Circle," in Los Angeles Times , 27 August 1986.
"Stuart Cornfield: The Producer of The Elephant Man and The Fly Walks a Fine Line between Classic and Camp," in American Film (Hollywood), April 1987.
Seidenberg, Robert, "The Tall Guy: Jeff Goldblum Plays the Fool," in American Film (Hollywood), September 1990.
Blair, Iain, "Roland Emmerich: The Visionary Director Takes on Effects, Budgets and Alien Invasions for Fox's Independence Day ," in Film and Video (Los Angeles), July 1996.
Guthman, Edward, " Independence Day Helps Free Goldblum Image, Playing Misfits Locked Him out of Wider Frame," in San Francisco Chronicle , 5 July 1996.
Smith, Steven, "An Engaging Enigma; Jeff Goldblum, Who's Back for Another Bout with Dinosaurs in The Lost World: Jurassic Park Talks about Life and Love," in Los Angeles Times , 22 May 1997.
Lee, Luaine, "Dances with Dinosaurs— Lost World Star Jeff Goldblum Sinks His Teeth into Sci-Fi Roles," in Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service (Universal City), 23 May 1997.
Svetkey, Ben, "The Lizard King; Jeff Goldblum Has Already Headlined in the Two Top-Grossing Films of All Time. If This Summer's The Lost World Turns out to Be Another Prehistoric Powerhouse, The Actor May Evolve into a Bona Fide Brontosize Star," in Entertainment Weekly , 23 May 1997.
Charles, Nick, "Jeff Goldblum's Extinct Advantage Jurassic Dominance Puts Him on Top in Franchise-Film Era," in Daily News (New York), 25 May 1997.
Brownstein, Bill, "L.A.'s Billion-Dollar Baby: Jeff Goldblum Is Bankable; You Can Bank on That," in The Gazette (Montreal), 9 June 1997.
Rowe, Douglas J., "Star Watch: Jeff Goldblum Is Having a Monstrously Good Time," in Associated Press , 13 June 1997.
Hoban, Phoebe, "The Outsider as Hollywood Favorite," in New York Times , 15 June 1997.
Riviere, Francesca, "Blinded with Science: With Two Starring Roles in Two of the Most Successful Films Ever Made, Jeff Goldblum Has Every Right to Be Happy," in Smoke , Summer, 1997.
Leydon, Joe, "Trio of Thesps on Board Co-Prod Hollywood Ten ," in Daily Variety , 4 February 2000.
* * *
To contend that American actor Jeff Goldblum is possibly the hardest working performer in Hollywood might raise an eyebrow or two. However, a quick perusal of his biography reveals a remarkably long and respectable career in stage, television, and motion pictures, and a list of film credits reminiscent of the old-time movie stars of Hollywood's golden age.
Jeffrey Lynn Goldblum is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Goldblum confirms in Entertainment Weekly that both his parents "toyed with show business." He was smitten with acting fever in the 1960s when as a starry-eyed young boy, he spent many hours at the neighborhood picture show. These were the days when movie houses were motion picture palaces with balconies were filled with the noise of unescorted kids; the time of Cinema-Scope epics Godzilla and endof-the-world disaster tales very much like the ones in which Goldblum would eventually earn featured roles. The experience affected him profoundly, he confessed: "All I know is that early on, it was this wild, feverish kind of call for me, I was like, 'I've got to do this."'
He received training in acting, studying with the legendary Sanford Meisner at New York's Neighborhood Playhouse. He honed his skills in live theatre appearing with the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Phoenix Theatre Company, and others. In 1974, he made his first film appearance as a crazed rapist in the New York vigilante tale Death Wish. This role presents quite a contrast for a man who in real life is seen by many and described by Svetky in Entertainment Weekly as a charming, "smart, likeable oddball." Indeed, Goldblum has earned a reputation as being an outsider of sorts, a eccentric who prefers to wear black and is known for his scattered speech—quirks that show up in one way or another in many of his film characters, rendering even decidedly small roles more memorable.
Throughout the 1970s Goldblum made creditable appearances in such films as Robert Altman's well-received Nashville (1975), Woody Allen's Annie Hall (1977), Thank Good It's Friday (1978), and the remake of the 1950s horror classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978).
In 1980, Goldblum co-starred in the short-lived television drama, Tenspeed and Brown Shoe. The detective drama, as described by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, featured entertainer Ben Vereen as Lionel "E. L. Turner" (Tenspeed), a "charming hustler of disguise" and Goldblum as "Lionel Whitney" (Brown Shoe) as Turner's tonied and "somewhat naive foil." The two men ran a detective agency in the swank Sunset Boulevard section of Los Angeles. The program garnered praise but not enough ratings points and was cancelled after only a few episodes. Among other film productions of that decade, Goldblum appeared in the made-for-television movie, Rehearsal for Murder (1982), The Right Stuff (1983) The Big Chill (1983), and the 1984 cult classic, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension. He earned the leading role as pioneer television comic Ernie Kovacs in the television movie, Ernie Kovacs: Between the Laughter (1984).
Goldblum attracted public attention with his portrayal of the "slightly crazed scientist" in the 1986 remake of the 1950s horror film, The Fly. He endured five-hour make-up sessions to coordinate his metamorphosis into an insect. ..".Goldblum has created one of the most sympathetic man-monsters ever seen on screen," wrote Jack Matthews of the Los Angeles Times , "and the best work under this much latex since John Hurt's Oscar-nominated performance in The Elephant Man. "
Goldblum played another scientist to much acclaim in 1996 when he was cast as Dr. Ian Malcolm in the Steven Spielberg directed blockbuster hit of the year, Jurassic Park. Though Goldblum had portrayed scientists many times, he suffused this role with personal touches. Instead of wearing a white lab coat and khaki trousers, Goldblum donned gold chains, biker boots, wrap-around shades, and a black, leather jacket. Goldblum oozed suavity and coolness as the consummate "anti-hero," noted Francesca Rievere in Smoke. The role catapulted him into true stardom.
Goldblum followed this success with another blockbuster hit in 1997. Goldblum, alongside popular actor and rap singer Will Smith, battles aliens who seek control of the Earth in Independence Day. The film is replete with a magnificent display of computer-generated special effects but manages to tell an interesting and compelling story. Like Jurassic Park , Independence Day surpassed box office records to become one of the highest earning films of all time. Therefore, in the annals of American film history, notes Svetsky, Jeff Goldblum holds the distinction of having starred in two of top-grossing motion pictures of the twentieth century.
As the pages of the calendar open to the second century in the history of filmmaking, one can only surmise what the legacy will be for Goldblum who is young and presumably has many decades of filmmaking ahead. His recent projects include production of a film about the Hollywood Ten, the true story of McCarthy-era blacklisted director, Herbert Biberman. And, there are hints of a third sequel to Jurassic Park , a fitting undertaking for a well-established and popular actor seen as perhaps as one of Hollywood's more unique personalities.
—Pamala S. Deane