Willem Dafoe – biographyWillem Dafoe is an American theater and film actor, twice nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor (in the films Platoon and Shadow of the Vampire). Some of the other prominent films with his participation are To Live and Die in L.A., The Last Temptation of Christ, The English Patient, The American Psycho, and Spider-Man (2002). Net worth: $40 million.
Childhood and young yearsWilliam (the real name of the actor) was the seventh, last-but-one child in the large family of the doctor William Alfred Dafoe and nurse Muriel Isabel. He hated being called Billy (an abbreviated version of his name), so he changed his name to Willem as soon as possible.
The boy was completely different from his two brothers and five sisters and became the only one who devoted his life to the arts (the others chose law and medicine). As a child, he was constantly joking, made faces, and made people laugh, which rescued him in difficult situations more than once.
After graduating from school, the young man entered Milwaukee University, department of drama, but in a year and a half, he quit his studies and began touring with the youth experimental theater called Theater X, essentially becoming a wandering artist. Four years later, Willem decided to settle down in New York and joined the Performance Group Theater.
Then Dafoe began to try getting into the world of film. The first attempt was unsuccessful: his role was simply edited out at the director’s whim. But this did not stop the ambitious young man, and two years later he made himself seen in the film The Loveless This was followed by roles in the films Streets of Fire, Shackin' Up, The Hunger, and To Live and Die in L.A.
Acting careerYet the actor hit real popularity when he starred in the film Platoon by Oliver Stone, for which he was first nominated for an Oscar. The death scene of his hero, Sergeant Gordon Elias, has become iconic and one of the most tragic ones in modern cinema.
In 1988, director Martin Scorsese invited Dafoe to play Jesus in the film The Last Temptation of Christ, which caused mixed reactions in the religious community.
Over the next ten years, the actor played a number of vivid characters. Willem's unusual appearance allowed him to transform convincingly into utter bastards, villains, and murderers. He worked with the best Hollywood directors (David Cronenberg, Steve Buscemi, Troy Duffy, Paul Schroeder, and others) and repeatedly won prestigious film awards.
In 2002, the blockbuster Spider-Man appeared on the screens, which immediately became a huge event in world cinema. Dafoe wanted to play Green Goblin, the antagonist of the main character, in this movie so much that, without waiting for an invitation, he recorded his screen test and sent it to the director. Sam Raimi appreciated the actor’s talent and shot him in all three parts of the iconic film.
According to Zoomboola.com, in 2017, the actor appeared in the new film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s detective novel Murder on the Orient Express and made it into the top three actors according to the Vulture for his role in the film The Florida Project, which was released in 2017.
The year 2018 brought Willem several premieres, including Aquaman with Amber Heard, Jason Momoa and Nicole Kidman, and At Eternity's Gate, where Dafoe will play the role of the great painter Vincent Van Gogh. For the last work, Willem was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor.
Willem Dafoe: personal lifeWillem’s first common-law wife was director Elizabeth LeCompte, whom he met at the Performance Group Theater.
They lived together for twenty-seven years and raised their son Jack (born in 1982). The actor had repeatedly asked his beloved to make the relationship official, but the woman valued her freedom way too much. In the end, they broke up but remained friends.
In 2005, in Rome, Willem met the actress and director Giada Colagrande. The gorgeous Italian was so impressed with Dafoe that he immediately asked her to marry him. Now the couple commute in between New York and Rome, travel a lot, practice yoga together, act in joint projects, and are totally happy.
Willem Dafoe at presentAt the moment, there are about a hundred successful roles in Dafoe’s filmography. In 2019, he participated in three premieres. These include the arthouse thriller "The Lighthouse", in which he played Thomas Wake, the detective thriller "The Last Thing He Wanted" with Anne Hathaway, and the historical film "Togo". In 2020, William will appear in "The French Dispatch" by Wes Anderson.
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