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Peter Stormare Biography

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Birth Name: Peter Stormare
Born: 08/27/1953
Birth Place: Sweden

Stormare was born on Aug. 27, 1953 and raised in the small village of Arbra, in eastern Sweden. Growing up, he traveled a great deal with his family through his father's work as an inventor. At the age of six, he declared to his skeptical parents that someday he would work in the movie business in California. However, it was not until the 20-year-old was living in Stockholm after a brief stint with the Air Force that Stormare had any exposure to performing arts. He saw his first play at Sweden's Royal National Theater and had a revelation, starting down the path towards acting by first learning the ropes backstage as well as attending a four-year drama program. While touring with a production of the drama "Class Enemy," Stormare caught the eye of internationally renowned Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, who took the actor under his wing and introduced him to audiences in the film "Fanny and Alexander" (1983) as well as in National Theater productions of "Miss Julie," "King Lear" and the title role in "Hamlet." During a decade-plus long tenure with the Royal National Theatre, Stormare expanded his range to directing with his work behind the scenes on "Class." He would go on to write and direct the plays "El Paso" and "The Electric Boy."

In his first film lead, Stormare played an older brother trying to save his younger brother from a life of crime in "Den Frusna Leoparden ("The Frozen Leopard") (1986). He went on to play a beekeeper in "Maelarpirater" (1987) and the following year the National Theater mounted a Bergman-directed "Hamlet" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where Stormare won raves in the title role. His successful introduction to American audiences led to Stormare's American film debut playing the neurochemist who doubts Robin Williams in Penny Marshall's "Awakenings" (1990). Stormare co-starred in "Freud's Leaving Home" (1991), from influential Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier, and French director Louis Malle's "Damage" (1992) before fulfilling his childhood fantasy and finally settling in California. In 1993, he appeared in "The Swan" at New York's Public Theatre opposite Frances McDormand, spouse of film director Joel Coen. Two years later the Coen Brothers cast Stormare as the definition of a cold-blooded hitman in "Fargo" (1997), where he co-starred alongside the considerably less hard-bitten kidnapping partner Steve Buscemi in the critically revered film.

Having made his first major film impression as a hulking, icy, evil countenance that brought shudders to the spines of "Fargo" audiences, Hollywood latched on to Stormare as the "eccentric villainous European"-type, and he began a long career of supporting roles beginning with his 1997 turn as a sadistic dinosaur hunter in Steven Spielberg's mega-blockbuster "The Lost World: Jurassic Park." He reunited with the Coens to make another darkly memorable impression as one of a band of marauding nihilists in the cult favorite "The Big Lebowski" (1998). He essayed a rather stereotypical take on a Russian cosmonaut in the hit actioner "Armageddon" (1998) and was seen as a film director of violent porn films in the Nicholas Cage vehicle "8MM" (1999) before dipping into slightly more respected art house fare with "Chocolat" (2000) and "Dancer in the Dark" (2000), the Cannes Golden Palm Award-winning film from Danish filmmaker Lars Von Trier.

From Stormare's respite in that film as a soft-hearted admirer and advocate of a wrongly-accused blind woman, he returned to more one-dimensional roles in the WWII film "Windtalkers" (2002) and the sci-fi blockbuster "Minority Report" (2002). In his first regular role on primetime television, Stormare played Julia Louis-Dreyfus' smitten building superintendent in the sitcom "Watching Ellie" (NBC, 2002-3), but that proved to be a short-lived outing and Stormare was back to portraying Russian mobsters in "Bad Company" (2002) and "Bad Boys II" (2003). He was especially amusing as a loopy but fearsome Satan in a pivotal appearance in the horror/action hybrid "Constantine" (2005) opposite Keanu Reeves. He went on to send up his image with another off-kilter, heavily accented performance in director Terry Gilliam's fictionalized fantasy "The Brothers Grimm" (2005), then the joined the cast of the TV death row thriller series "Prison Break" (Fox, 2005- ) as an imprisoned former mob boss. He had a starring role as the proprietor of a work camp for teenage troublemakers in "Boot Camp" (2007) before getting the opportunity to stretch outside his limited opportunities with roles in a pair of Norwegian films, "Switch" (2007) and "Gone with the Woman" (2007).

After segueing into "mysterious doctor" roles in the Sandra Bullock thriller "Premonition" (2007) and "Insanitarium" (2007), Stormare's second career as a voiceover actor for video games picked up speed and he also hit the stage again, debuting on Broadway as Judge Brack in a revival of Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler." Swedish director Jonas Ackerlund cast Stormare in the serial killer thriller "Horsemen" (2009) and the busy actor appeared in several more titles that year, including the porn world comedy "Middle Men" (2009) and "The Killing Room" (2009), a thriller about a deadly government psychological experiment in which Stormare gave a particularly chilling, villainous performance.