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Jon Gries Biography


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Birth Name: Jon Gries
Born: 06/16/1957
Birth Place: Glendale, California, USA


Born in Glendale, CA in 1957, Gries grew up in the film industry; his father, Tom, was a well-known director with two primetime Emmy wins, and his mother, Mary, had appeared in numerous Westerns and cop dramas during the 1950s and '60s. Nepotism reared its head early on when Jon appeared alongside Charlton Heston in "Will Penny," his father's best-known work. Several years later the elder Gries came calling again, this time casting Jon as falsely accused caretaker William Garretson in "Helter Skelter," a made-for-TV account of the chilling Manson Family murders. Gries worked steadily until he found minor success in the '80s: he portrayed Lazlo Hollywood in the Val Kilmer film "Real Genius" and was served up as an alien snack in "Terrorvision" (1986) before being cast as a werewolf in both "The Monster Squad" and "Fright Night Part 2" (1988).

Though he had landed small film and TV roles here and there, Gries portrayed bigger, more memorable characters throughout the '90s. In 1992 he was cast as the title comic's eccentric radio show producer on "Martin," and a few years later, joined the teen soap "Beverly Hills, 90210" as Dylan McKay's sleazy drug dealer. A lucky break in 1995 found him in the big leagues with Danny DeVito, Gene Hackman and John Travolta in "Get Shorty," which he followed up with a prominent role on the sci-fi series "The Pretender." After portraying a shady lawyer in the '99 indie film "Twin Falls, Idaho" (which he also co-produced), Gries worked steadily in minor roles until being cast as sadsack Uncle Rico in the surprise blockbuster hit "Napoleon Dynamite."

The enormous success of the quirky, low-budget comedy proved to be just the adrenaline shot Gries' career needed. In 2007 he portrayed convicted murderer John D. Lee in "September Dawn," about the controversial 1857 Mountain Meadows massacre, and joined the cast of "Lost" as Roger Linus, Ben Linus' vengeful father. He next appeared opposite Liam Neeson in the unlikely 2008 hit "Taken," and a few years later produced and directed his first feature film, the musical road comedy "Pickin' & Grinnin.'" In 2012 Gries appeared in the inevitable "Taken 2," and, along with the rest of the original cast, reprised his role as Uncle Rico in the quickly cancelled animated series "Napoleon Dynamite."