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Dan Futterman Biography

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Birth Name: Dan Futterman
Born: 06/08/1967
Birth Place: Silver Spring, Maryland, USA

Futterman was born in Brooklyn, NY, on June 8, 1967 and raised in Westchester County. His father was a lawyer and his mother a psychoanalyst, which he later joked were the two things an actor needed most. He attended Columbia University and graduated in 1989 with a degree in English. Torn between graduate school and pursuing an acting career, Futterman finally caved to his creative urges and chose the latter. His career launched rather quickly in 1991 when he landed his first stage role a month-long run of "Club Soda" at the historic WPA Theater in New York City. He then made his first film appearance soon after, playing a punk kid who menaces Jeff Bridges in "The Fisher King." In a short span on time, Futterman's career was taking off.

After landing a significant role in "Big Girls Don't Cry...They Get Even" (1992), Futterman made a handful of television appearances, most notably as a West Point grad pitted against former classmates during the Civil War in "Class of '61" (ABC, 1993). He gave steadily impressive performances in independent films "Breathing Room" (1996), "Far Harbor " (1996), and "Shooting Fish" (1997) until he landed a high-profile gem in "The Birdcage," playing the straight son of the very gay Robin Williams. Futterman followed up with a pair of significant TV movie roles, co-starring opposite Mickey Rourke in "Thicker Than Blood" (TNT, 1998) and alongside Ron Eldard and Martin Donovan in the World War II drama "When Trumpets Fade" (HBO, 1998).

In 1999, Futterman made the leap to series television, co-starring as the writer brother of a jurist (Amy Brenneman) in the hit legal drama "Judging Amy" (he departed early during the 2001-2002 season). On the big screen, he delivered one of his best screen performances in the indie "Urbania" (2000), before making a rare misstep with the Jennifer Lopez thriller "Enough" (2002). He held down a recurring role as the boyfriend of a therapist (Kiele Sanchez) on the drama "Related" (WB, 2005-'06) before it was cancelled after its first season. While he had been building up an impressive resume in TV and film, Futterman continued performing on stage. He succeeded Joe Mantello in the role of Louis Ironside in "Angels in America" on Broadway in 1993, while also landing roles in the off-Broadway productions "A Fair Country" (1996) and "Dealer's Choice" (1997). In 2002, he appeared in "Further Than the Furthest Thing" at the Manhattan Theater Company.

But it was Futterman's writing that defined him as an artist. After reading Gerald Clarke's Capote, A Biography, Futterman was inspired to write a script about the events surrounding Truman Capote's creation of his most famous work, In Cold Blood. He handed the completed script to his childhood friend-turned-commercial director Bennett Miller, who immediately came onboard as producer and director. They enlisted a third old friend, Phillip Seymour Hoffman (who they'd met at theater camp as teenagers) to star as the famously flamboyant author. The result was "Capote," a stark and deeply moving tale of Capote's journey from cosmopolitan New York to rural Kansas in 1959 to investigate the grisly shotgun murders of an upstanding family by two low-life drifters. At the center of the story is Capote's strange, almost loving bond with one of the perpetrators, Perry Edward Smith (Clifton Collins, Jr.), which eventually led to the author's emotional breakdown and failure to ever complete another novel.

While the film was among the top of the year, earning numerous award nominations, it was Hoffman who received the lion's share of critical praise and accolades. Futterman did, however, earn an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay and awards from the Boston and Los Angeles Film Critics Associations. Meanwhile, Futterman returned to acting for "A Mighty Heart," but announced that it would be his final appearance before the cameras so he could pursue screenwriting full time. In the film, Futterman played Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and beheaded in Pakistan in 2002, the video of which was spread across the Internet and seen by millions all over the world. The film was based on the book by Pearl's widow (Angelina Jolie) and followed her journey to find answers for her husband's disappearance. It was an overwhelming critical pick and a high note on which to gracefully bow out of the spotlight.