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Sigourney Weaver


Jeffrey Wright

Michael Wincott Biography


Home > Actors > W > Wincott, Michael > Biography


Birth Name: Michael Wincott
Born: 01/21/1958
Birth Place: Toronto, Ontario, CA


Michael Anthony Claudio Wincott was born on Jan. 21, 1958 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and grew up in nearby suburban Scarborough. Wincott showed early talent, playing drums in local jazz bands as a teen and making his acting debut at age 21 in the Canadian production, "Wild Horse Hank" (1979), starring Linda Blair. Throughout the early 1980s, Wincott appeared in supporting roles in a number of Canadian films and television series, including a guest spot on the popular Canadian police series, "Night Heat" (CTV, 1985-89) starring his older brother, actor Jeff Wincott. He first came to the United States to attend New York's Julliard School of Drama, and by the time he graduated in 1986, Wincott had established himself as an exciting new talent. He was soon working with director Michael Cimino on the feature film "The Sicilian" (1987) starring Christopher Lambert, and originating the role of Kent in the 1987 production of Eric Bogosian's "Talk Radio" at Joseph Papp's Public Theater. He reprised the role the following year in Oliver Stone's film adaptation of "Talk Radio," and then returned to the stage to appear on Broadway in the 1988 production of Caryl Churchill's "Serious Money." He also made his way onto American television with guest appearances on two Michael Mann-produced series, "Crime Story" (NBC, 1986-88) and "Miami Vice" (NBC, 1984-1990).

In 1989 and 1991, while starring on Broadway in "The Secret Rapture," the prolific Wincott made appearances in back-to-back films for director Oliver Stone, playing a wounded Vietnam veteran in "Born on the Fourth of July" starring Tom Cruise, and a slick record producer in "The Doors" starring Val Kilmer. In 1991, he would also originate the role of Stubbs in Sam Shepard's "States of Shock" opposite John Malkovitch, and deliver the film role with which he would long be most associated, the cruel Guy of Gisborne in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves," starring Kevin Costner as the iconic hero. Wincott's impressive turn as the brutal and betrayed Gisborne led to an array of similarly villainous roles in "1492: Conquest of Paradise" (1992), "The Three Musketeers" (1993) and as the crime lord Top Dollar in "The Crow" (1994). Perhaps as a reaction to this studio typecasting, Wincott began to take on more complicated and unusual roles in independent films between his appearances as a blockbuster bad guy. A supporting role in Mario Van Peebles' "Panther" (1995) and a rare comedic turn in Jim Jarmusch's "Dead Man" (1995) off-set his villainy in Kathryn Bigelow's big-budget thriller, "Strange Days" (1995), just as his portrayal of art promoter Rene Ricard in Julian Schnabel's "Basquiat" (1996) counterbalanced his over-the-top nastiness in "Metro" (1997) and "Alien: Resurrection" (1997). Wincott took the lead role in "Gunshy" (1998) playing a quirky mobster, and then reteamed with Julian Schnabel to appear in the biopic of Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas, "Before Night Falls" (2000).

The early 2000s saw Wincott back in wicked form as a manipulative kidnapper in "Along Came a Spider" (2001), the sadistic Dorleac in "The Count of Monte Cristo" (2002), and the mutinous alien Scroop in the animated film, "Treasure Planet" (2002), which made great use of Wincott's gravel-textured baritone voice. He would put that newly discovered talent for voice acting to work in videogames like "Halo 2" (2004) and "Narc" (2005). Working in the new medium seemed to provide Wincott with a new sense of freedom in his choice of roles. In "Seraphim Falls" (2006), starring Peirce Brosnan and Liam Neeson, Wincott struck a balance between his good and evil roles playing a relentless bounty hunter, and then returned to work for Julian Schnabel once more, playing a fashion photographer in the acclaimed, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (2007). Barry Levinson then cast Wincott as a comically temperamental director in "What Just Happened?" starring Robert Deniro, but it would be voicing characters in videogames such as "Syndicate" (2012), "Infex" (2012) and "Darksiders 2" (2012) that kept him consistently employed. In 2012, Wincott took on one of his most sinister roles, appearing as notorious serial killer Ed Gein, the inspiration for Norman Bates of "Psycho," in the biopic "Hitchcock."

By John Crye