Though he is best remembered for the humanity he brought to the title character of Robocop (1987), actor Peter Weller is a versatile actor who has played in a wide variety of films as both lead and supporting actor. Prior to coming to films, Weller had a distinguished theatrical career. Before that he studied with famed acting coach Uta Hagen. He made his screen debut as a determined lawman in Butch and Sundance: The Early Years (1979). He played romantic leads in his next two films before starring in W.D. Richter's 1984 cult favorite The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai. His role in this sci-fi satire eventually lead to Robocop, where he was chosen by the director for his "expressive lips." The film was quite successful, and Weller went on to play in a series of minor thrillers and one sequel to Robocop before playing an aspiring writer whacked out on drugs in David Cronenberg's disturbing noir fantasy Naked Lunch (1991). As bizarre as the film was, it gave Weller an opportunity to stretch and show his ability as a serious dramatic actor. Though the film was not a commercial success, he did garner much critical praise for his role.
Biography by Sandra Brennan
- Made professional stage debut in David Rabe's Sticks and Bones in 1971, two weeks after graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.
- While filming 1987's RoboCop, had to endure six and a half hours of prosthetic makeup, plus an hour and a half of getting into the suit, putting in an eight-hour day before filming could begin.
- Plays jazz trumpet in a group called Three Guys from Italy, with Jeff Goldblum on keyboards.
- Has an avid interest in ancient Rome and lectures on the subject as an occasional professor at Syracuse University.
- Enjoys traveling and learning about other cultures.
- Education is an issue he uses his celebrity status to draw attention to, particularly pre-school and early-elementary education.
- Participates in celebrity golf tournaments.
- Portraying the lead in RoboCop (1987) was his breakout role; in 2010, he portrayed a cop again in several episodes of Dexter.