Prolific character actor John Hawkes earned a new level of recognition with his role as Bugsy, the slow-witted fisherman who provides Wolfgang Petersen's The Perfect Storm (2000) with a degree of comic relief. Hailing from Austin, TX, Hawkes, who bears a vague resemblance to Tom Selleck, began his career as an actor and musician. After relocating to Los Angeles, where he moved to do further stage work, the actor wrote and performed Nimrod Soul, a one-man show staged at the Theatre at the Improv. He subsequently found work on television and broke into film in the late '80s. In addition to doing supporting turns in a large variety of films, including Flesh and Bone (1993), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), Hawkes also did guest work on such long-running TV shows as E.R. and The X-Files. In 1999, he was cast in one of his first leading roles in A Slipping-Down Life, a well-received big screen adaptation of Anne Tyler's novel of the same name that also starred Lili Taylor and Guy Pearce. With his casting the following year in The Perfect Storm, a summer smash that featured him acting alongside the likes of George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and John C. Reilly, it seemed that Hawkes' career was entering a new and possibly more lucrative phase. Over the next several years, he would appear in a number of films, like Identity, Miami Vice, American Gangster, Winter's Bone, and Higher Ground.
Biography by Rebecca Flint Marx
- After a year of college in Minnesota, moved to Austin, TX, where he co-founded Big State Productions, a theater company that provided Hawkes with the opportunity to write, direct and act.
- First major film role came in 1987 with the low-budget crime drama Murder Rap.
- Wrote and performed a one-man show, Nimrod Soul, at Los Angeles' Theatre at the Improv in 1994.
- Breakout film role was Bugsy, a dim-witted fisherman who provided comic relief in the hit drama The Perfect Storm (2000).
- Subsequently landed series-regular roles on the HBO series Deadwood and Eastbound & Down.
- Has been a musician since the early '80s, singing and playing guitar with rock bands such as Meat Joy, Gangster Folk and King Straggler.