A noted character actor in England, Paul Freeman spent his early performing years on the stage, moving into film with the abysmal Whose Child Am I?, which still turns up on cable once in a while. TV appearances (including The Life of Shakespeare in which he played Burbage) followed. In 1979 he was drafted to play Colin, the best friend of fictional British crime boss Harold Shand (played by Bob Hoskins) in the controversial and troubled The Long Good Friday. Equally as controversial was Death of a Princess, a docudrama about the 1977 execution of a Saudi Arabian princess for adultery, in which Freeman portrayed journalist Anthony Thomas.
The Dogs of War took Freeman to Africa, co-starring with Christopher Walken and Tom Berenger, and it was during this shoot that he met his wife, Maggie Scott, who was cast in the key role of Gabrielle. Tunisia was one of the next stops for Freeman, who stepped into one of the defining roles of his career at this point -- that of crooked archaeologist Rene Belloq, chief rival to Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Freeman returned briefly to television, as the villainous Gustav Riebman in Falcon Crest, then returned to feature work with The Sender,The Final Option, and others, salting these with Sakharov for HBO and the miniseries A.D., which led to him being cast in the title role of the aborted Pontius Pilate project, based on the Paul Maier novel.
Over the years, he has essayed a remarkable number of roles, from parts in the universally panned Shanghai Surprise (which sank George Harrison's Handmade Films company) to the role of Moriarty in Without a Clue and even, buried under pounds of makeup, the evil Ivan Ooze in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie. On occasion he has even managed to turn up in controversial projects, such as 1990's barely-seen Prisoner of Rio, in which he played Ronald Biggs, a fugitive British train robber living handsomely in Brazil. By late 1997, early 1998, he was working with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Paul Freeman is not to be confused with a producer by the same name.