Kevin Dunn

Active - 1986 - 2021  |   Born - Aug 24, 1956 in Chicago, Illinois, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Action

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Biography by Nathan Southern

The genial, slightly stocky Hollywood character actor Kevin Dunn graced the casts of some of the highest grossing and most enjoyable A-listers of the '80s, '90s, and 2000s. With a pleasant (if unremarkable) countenance, this brother of Second City veteran (and onetime Saturday Night Live mainstay) Nora Dunn cut his chops playing everymen in American movies and one-shot television episodes. Kevin Dunn lacked the sketch comedy background of his arguably more famous sibling but quickly chalked up an equally extensive resumé at about the same time.

Dunn debuted on camera in the mid-'80s, with a recurring role on the series comedy drama Jack & Mike (1986), co-starring Shelley Hack and Tom Mason, but Alan Parker's harrowing civil-rights drama Mississippi Burning (in which he played Agent Bird) marked his first real breakthrough. From that point on, he became ever-present in such blockbusters as Ghostbusters 2 (1989), Blue Steel (1990), Only the Lonely (1991), Hot Shots! (1991), Chaplin (1992), and Dave (1993). Directors often cast Dunn as an emotional (or political) support to a heavy, such as his brief evocation of Nixon aide (and eventual Christian spokesperson) Chuck Colson in Oliver Stone's biopic Nixon (1995), that of Lou Logan (opposite Nicolas Cage) in Brian De Palma's muddled, flawed paranoid thriller Snake Eyes (1998), and that of Alex (alongside Sean Penn) in the political drama All The King's Men (2006). In 2007, Dunn appeared in the blockbuster action hit Transformers as Ron Witwicky, the father of lead actor Shia LaBeouf's character, Sam. Dunn also had a role in the underperforming Tom Cruise/Robert Redford/Meryl Streep drama Lions for Lambs. In the fall of that year, Dunn found success on the sitcom Samantha Who? as the father of the amnesia-afflicted main character (Christina Applegate).

He was part of the cast of Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and played a bad guy in the runaway train thriller Unstoppable. In 2011 he appeared in the well-reviewed MMA drama Warrior, and the blockbuster Transformers: Dark of the Moon. The next year he was cast in the one and only season of HBO's racetrack set drama series Luck.

Movie Highlights

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  • First recurring TV role was Anthony Kubacek in the mid-'80s dramedy Jack and Mike.
  • The younger brother of Saturday Night Live alumna Nora Dunn, he auditioned for the NBC sketch show, but was not invited to join.
  • Made his big-screen debut in 1988, playing Agent Bird in the historical drama Mississippi Burning.
  • Returned to regular TV work in 2007, playing the title character's father in ABC sitcom Samantha Who? 
  • Delivered the commencement speech at his alma mater, Illinois Wesleyan, in May 2008.