Chris Sarandon

Active - 1973 - 2017  |   Born - Jul 24, 1942 in Beckley, West Virginia, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Thriller, Horror

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Biography by Tracie Cooper

Formerly husband to Susan Sarandon, whom he met while attending the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., Chris Sarandon spent nearly a decade performing on-stage before making his first television appearance alongside Gene Wilder and Bob Newhart in Thursday's Game in 1974. While that appearance was well received by its audience, Sarandon wouldn't achieve widespread critical recognition from the film industry until his portrayal of an overwrought transsexual opposite Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon (1975). Sarandon's performance earned him two prestigious nominations (New Star of the Year - Male from the Golden Globes and Best Actor from the Academy), and by all indications, Sarandon was headed toward a bright future on the silver screen.

Rather than jumping into a full-time movie career, however, Sarandon continued his work in theater (he replaced Raul Julia in the Tony-winning Broadway musical The Two Gentlemen of Verona) and appeared in a series of television roles, some of which (such as A Tale of Two Cities in 1980) mirrored his affinity for the classics, while others -- namely The Day Christ Died, in which he played the title role -- offered an opportunity for the actor to get in touch with his religious side. Oddly enough, Sarandon would also appear in a slew of satanic or otherwise horror-themed films, including The Sentinel (1976), Fright Night (1985), and Child's Play (1988). It was his decidedly less grim role as the insidious Prince Humperdinck in Rob Reiner's The Princess Bride, however, that would bring his name back into the hearts of American audiences, albeit his place therein was reserved for fairy tale bad guys.

Despite his success, Sarandon was unable to gain mainstream American recognition for a starring role, though his performance as a Holocaust survivor in Forced March (1990) did not go unnoticed by critics. Not long afterward, select U.S. filmgoers were treated to his portrayal of a man obsessed with his deceased ancestor's rumored ability to raise the dead in Alien scriptwriter Dan O'Bannon's The Resurrected (1991). In 1993, Sarandon earned no small amount of approval for giving voice to Jack Skellington, the bony star of Tim Burton's gleefully sinister The Nightmare Before Christmas. After participating in a vampire documentary, an episode of the cult-favorite Tales From the Crypt Presents Bordello of Blood, and, of all things, the film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's family classic Little Men, Sarandon landed a recurring role as Dr. Burke on NBC's long-running medical drama ER. He continued to work steadily into the 21st century in a variety of projects including Voices in Wartime, Loggerheads, The Chosen One, the remake of Fright Night, and 2012's Safe.

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  • Born in West Virginia to Greek parents.
  • Met his future wife, actress Susan (Tomalin) Sarandon, while in college.
  • Beginning in 1969, he played Tom Halverson on The Guiding Light.
  • Made his Broadway debut in 1970 in the musical The Rothschilds, costarring Hal Linden and Robby Benson.
  • Made his film debut in 1975's Dog Day Afternoon, opposite Al Pacino; his performance earned him Oscar and Golden Globe nominations.
  • Other notable film roles include Prince Humperdinck in Rob Reiner's The Princess Bride (1987) and the voice of Jack Skellington in Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).