Christopher Lloyd

Active - 1975 - 2022  |   Born - Oct 22, 1938 in Stamford, Connecticut, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Children's/Family, Drama

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

Christopher Lloyd is among Hollywood's busiest and best character actors and has created a number of unforgettable roles on television and in film. Lanky, dark-haired, gravel-voiced, hollow-eyed, and possessing almost skeletal facial features that belie their flexibility, he takes after Lon Chaney in his ability to transform himself into a variety of odd personages ranging from malevolent villains to lovable cooks, most of which are comical. Lloyd is also a versatile theatrical actor known for his ability to improvise in inventive, often outrageous ways. This despite the fact that in his personal life he is famously reclusive and shy. Raised in New Canaan and Westport, CT, Lloyd became interested in acting at age 14 and started out in summer stock at age 16. Following high school, he moved to New York to study acting with such noted drama coaches as the Neighborhood Playhouse's Sanford Meisner. Beginning in 1969 with a Broadway appearance in Red, White and Maddox, he went on to appear on and off-Broadway and with several New York Shakespeare Festivals; in one production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Lloyd starred opposite Meryl Streep. In 1973, he won an Obie and a Drama Desk Award for his work in Kaspar.

He became interested in becoming a film actor after making a memorable debut as the cynical, sadistic mental patient Taber in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975). He moved to Los Angeles in 1976, but did not get his big break until 1978 when he walked into an audition for the innovative comedy Taxi. They were looking for someone to play Reverend Jim Ignatowsky, a burned-out nut case who took one drug too many during the '60s and never recovered. Lloyd shuffled into the audition wearing a faded, funky jean jacket, with his hair all askew, and his eyes bleared: he was instantly cast. His character was only meant for one episode, but proved so popular that he was written in as a regular character. Between 1979 and 1983, Lloyd won two Emmy's for Reverend Jim and the actor remains closely identified with him.

His success on Taxi led Lloyd to larger film roles, but he did not become a big name in pictures until he portrayed the crazy but lovable inventor Doc Emmett L. Brown opposite Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future (1985) and its sequels. He later voiced Doc Brown in the CBS morning cartoon version of the popular trilogy, Back to the Future--The Animated Series, and also appeared in a version of the film made especially for a theme park ride. Some of his other memorable roles from the '80s include that of a Klingon in Star Trek II: The Search for Spock (1984), the sneaky Professor Plum in Clue (1985), and the nefarious Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988). He played his third most recognizable role, that of Uncle Fester opposite Angelica Huston's Morticia and Raul Julia's Gomez in both Addams Family films (1991 and 1993). Occasionally Lloyd plays "normal" people in such films as Eight Men Out (1988). In addition to film and television work, Lloyd is also finding success as a voice artist in such projects as Anastasia (1997), where he played the wicked Rasputin. In regard to his hermit-like tendencies, Lloyd insists on signing a contract for every project that frees him from all promotion duties so he won't have to do interviews and have people pry into his private life.

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  • Attended Neighborhood Playhouse in New York and studied with renowned acting teacher Sanford Meisner.
  • Appeared in more than 200 stage productions before segueing into film.
  • Starred as Oberon in a 1975 Yale production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, which costarred a young graduate student named Meryl Streep as Helena.
  • Made his film debut in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, starring Jack Nicholson.
  • His nephew is actor Sam Lloyd, who played sad-sack lawyer Ted on Scrubs.