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Bruce Greenwood

Eric Bogosian Biography


Home > Actors > B > Bogosian, Eric > Biography


Birth Name: Eric Bogosian
Born: 04/24/1953
Birth Place: Woburn, Massachusetts, USA


Bogosian made his film debut in 1982's "Born in Flames", and though he achieved his highest profile as the combative late-night radio host Barry Champlain in "Talk Radio" (1988), which he adapted from his stage play with director Oliver Stone, he has acted in over a dozen features, as well as some critically acclaimed work for TV. He portrayed Lieutenant Barney Greenwald, a leading character in Robert Altman's TV remake of "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial" (CBS, 1988), and two years later starred as a former US embassy official returning to Vietnam to help organize "The Last Flight Out" (NBC). Since director John McNaughton captured "Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll" on film as a 1991 feature, Bogosian has compiled an eclectic resume, playing such parts as a Nixon-esque senator investigating witchcraft in Paul Schrader's "Witch Hunt" (HBO, 1994), a psychotic villain in "Under Siege 2: The Dark Territory" (1995) and a literary agent in the film adaptation of Jon Robin Baitz's play "The Substance of Fire" (1996), in addition to voicing a Damon Runyonesque bird for the animated "Arabian Knight" (1995). He also showed up briefly in Woody Allen's "Deconstructing Harry" (1997) as the title character's religious brother-in-law.

Still, Bogosian continues to make his strongest impact as a writer. Until the mid-90s, he had focused his biting exegeses on things urban, but beginning with his 1994 play "subUrbia", he returned to his roots to explore the nightmare of middle-class anomie against a backdrop of over-fertilized lawns. He didn't act in the play or in the 1997 movie version, but his voice was unmistakably there, particularly in the character of Jeff, the thinker of the bunch and recent college dropout who has rejoined his friends on their suburban corner next to the 7-Eleven. Capturing the slang and posturing of a world where there isn't much to do but "smoke a doob and hang out," Bogosian, director Richard Linklater and a top-notch cast delivered a very watchable picture somewhat hampered by its stage origins and excessive length. If "subUrbia" eluded the 20-year-old crowd because of its older, more cerebral and ruminative feel, the writer dealt straight from his gut for his next play "Griller" (1997), set around a backyard grill during the 4th of July (and 50th birthday) barbecue of the main character Gussie. Extremely funny, "Griller" was also unrelentingly dark in its expose of a complacent, materially sold-out baby boomer hitting a metaphorical brick wall.

Bogosian continued to act in films, although his roles were not as prominent or showy as in the 1980s and 1990s. He had a thankless role as a college professor in the teen-skewed would-be thriller "Gossip" (2000), then essayed a small character role in the pleasing indie "Igby Goes Down" (2002) before tackling Atom Egoyan's serious exploration of Armenians coming to grips with their country's past, "Ararat" (2002).

A newly prolific Bogosian reemerged in high profile films in 2003, including a supporting turn as a villain in "Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle" and in an uneven performance, as least as far as the consistency of his accent went, as the sinister real life L.A. nightclub owner and alleged drug kingpin Eddie Nash in "Wonderland," a recounting of the 1981 drug related murders on Los Angeles' Wonderland Avenue involving porn legend John Holmes. Next, he narrated the documentary "Khatchaturian" (2003), about Armenian composer Aram Khatchaturian who, as a communist functionary in the Soviet Union, had great influence over the course of Russian music while maintaining friendships with dissident composers. In "Blade: Trinity" (2004), Bogosian provided a short, but entertaining stint as Bentley Tittle in the third installment of the B-movie trilogy, a movie that appealed more to videogame aficionados than mainstream moviegoers.