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Christopher McDonald

Christopher McDonald

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Also Known As: Chris Mcdonald Died:
Born: February 15, 1955 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Manhasset, New York, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A handsome supporting actor with striking eyes, Christopher McDonald began his career in teenage screen roles, beginning with "Grease 2" (1982), and later played seemingly ordinary but sometimes sly character types. His turn as the moronic husband of Geena Davis' character in the hit road movie "Thelma & Louise" (1991) earned him the enmity of female fans and led to a deluge of inbred, stupid hayseed role offers, all of which he turned down. Born and raised on Long Island, New York, McDonald was a pre-med major before the acting bug bit during his senior year at Hobart College. His first professional engagement was in the touring company of Elizabeth Swados' musical "Nightclub Cantata". When the show reached L.A., other opportunities came his way, leading to his screen debut as one of the T-Birds in "Grease 2".More teen-oriented projects ("Where the Boys Are '84" and "Breakin'", both 1984) followed, but McDonald managed to work in a stay in London where he studied for eighteen months. Upon his return to L.A., guest spots on TV came along, as did a number of movies on the small and big screens, among them the feature comedies "Chattanooga Choo Choo" (1984) and "Outrageous Fortune" (1987). McDonald...

A handsome supporting actor with striking eyes, Christopher McDonald began his career in teenage screen roles, beginning with "Grease 2" (1982), and later played seemingly ordinary but sometimes sly character types. His turn as the moronic husband of Geena Davis' character in the hit road movie "Thelma & Louise" (1991) earned him the enmity of female fans and led to a deluge of inbred, stupid hayseed role offers, all of which he turned down. Born and raised on Long Island, New York, McDonald was a pre-med major before the acting bug bit during his senior year at Hobart College. His first professional engagement was in the touring company of Elizabeth Swados' musical "Nightclub Cantata". When the show reached L.A., other opportunities came his way, leading to his screen debut as one of the T-Birds in "Grease 2".

More teen-oriented projects ("Where the Boys Are '84" and "Breakin'", both 1984) followed, but McDonald managed to work in a stay in London where he studied for eighteen months. Upon his return to L.A., guest spots on TV came along, as did a number of movies on the small and big screens, among them the feature comedies "Chattanooga Choo Choo" (1984) and "Outrageous Fortune" (1987). McDonald assumed a higher profile in "Chances Are" (1989), as Cybill Shepherd's husband, who dies and comes back as Robert Downey Jr, before "Thelma & Louise" really thrust him in the public eye. He had a recurring part as Nick (the husband of Park Overall's character) in NBC's "Empty Nest" (four episodes from 1989-92) and regular roles on the short-lived series "Call to Glory" (ABC, 1984-85) and "Walter and Emily" (NBC, 1991-92). He also portrayed Tasha Yar's (Denise Crosby) love interest Richard Castillo in "Yesterday's Enterprise", an extremely popular episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation", and acted in two USA Network movies, "Red Wind" (1991) and "Fatal Exposure" (1991).

Though the demand for him in features increased exponentially after "Thelma & Louise", McDonald chose to make many forgettable movies, but he was especially fine in Robert Redford's "Quiz Show" (1994) as Jack Barry, the host of the rigged 50s game show "21", and followed with his first action film, playing an extremely nasty Russian mobster in "Terminal Velocity" (1994). McDonald acted in five features released in 1996, checking out early once again as the murdered husband of Halle Berry in "The Rich Man's Wife", and probably received his biggest exposure and best notices that year for his well-rounded performance in "Happy Gilmore", playing Adam Sandler's jock nemesis. He should probably have avoided his turn as Ward Cleaver in the dreadful "Leave It to Beaver", likewise his role in "A Smile Like Yours" (both 1997), but faired better with the independent "Lawn Dogs" and the remake "Flubber" (both 1997), starring Robin Williams. Despite his busy feature schedule, McDonald managed to take on a recurring role as the philandering husband of Kirstie Alley's designer in NBC's highly-touted sitcom "Veronica's Closet".

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Outside World, The (1996) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 About Last Night (2014)
2.
 Grassroots (2012)
4.
 Cat Run (2011)
5.
 Refuge (2010)
7.
 Black Widow (2009)
8.
 Reunion (2009)
9.
 Splinterheads (2009)
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Grew up in Freeport and Romulus, NY
1980:
First professional appearance, in Elizabeth Swados musical "Nightclub Cantata" (date approximate)
1981:
Los Angeles stage debut, "Final Touches"
1981:
Made TV acting debut on a pilot titled "Fog"
1981:
TV movie debut, "Twirl" (NBC)
1982:
Landed major role as Goose McKenzie in musical comedy "Grease 2"
1987:
Acted in small part in "Outrageous Fortune"
1989:
Assumed higher profile in features as Cybill Shepherd's husband, plucked from earth before his time in romantic comedy "Chances Are"
1991:
Turned in memorable performance as crude husband of Geena Davis in Ridley Scott's "Thelma & Louise"
1991:
Played regular role of Matt Collins on NBC sitcom "Walter and Emily"
1993:
Made TV miniseries debut in "Telling Secrets" (ABC)
1994:
Delivered memorable performance as game show host Jack Barry in Robert Redford's "Quiz Show"
1997:
Portrayed Ward Cleaver in the big screen version of "Leave It to Beaver"
1997:
Played another father in the independent dark fantasy "Lawn Dogs"
1997:
Assumed recurring role as the philandering husband of Kirstie Alley's Veronica on NBC sitcom "Veronica's Closet"
1999:
Co-starred on CBS drama series "Family Law"
2000:
Cast as an informercial host in Darren Aronofsky's addiction drama "Requiem for a Dream"
2001:
Portrayed baseball broadcaster Mel Allen in HBO movie "61*"
2002:
Played the President in Robert Rodriguez's "Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams"
2004:
Cast as the Matriarch of a disfunctional family on short-lived "Cracking Up" (Fox)
2004:
Played a Donald Trump-like billionaire on "North Shore" (Fox)
2006:
Made Broadway debut as Billy Flynn in "Chicago"
2007:
Co-starred in "Funny Money," a film adaptation of 1994 play written by Ray Cooney
2008:
Cast opposite Diane Keaton and Katie Holmes in crime comedy "Mad Money"
2008:
Appeared in spoof comedy "Superhero Movie"
2008:
Acted opposite Anna Faris in comedy hit "The House Bunny"
2010:
Cast opposite Luke Wilson in crime film "Middle Men"
2010:
Landed recurring guest role on HBO's "Boardwalk Empire"
2012:
Cast in horror thriller "The Collection"
2012:
Cast in 1960s-set drama "Not Fade Away," written and directed by David Chase
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Hobart College: Geneva , New York -
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art: London , England -
London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art: -
Stella Adler Acting Conservatory: New York , New York -

Notes

"I was driving in my car recently. I came to an intersection and two girls pulled up nearby, looked over and said, 'Look, there's that guy from 'Thelma & Louise'--let's shoot him!" --Christopher McDonald, NBC PR, "Walter and Emily" 1991

"I'm a character lead now. I don't play the Kevin Costner role, but I'll play his best friend, the guy who has to get killed off. Or, to get a juicier role, I'll play the bad guy. Those are more delicious parts, in a way, anyway." --McDonald in Daily News, October 4, 1994.

"At the time we made it nobody knew it would come to be regarded as one of 'Next Gen's' best episodes ever. We did know we had good things going for us, like the Yar story line, Denise coming back, the whole time warp thing and the Enterprise-C. But we had no idea just how popular 'Yesterday's Enterprise' would be." --Christopher McDonald, in The Chicago Tribune, August 8, 1997.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Geena Davis. Actor. Together in the 1980s.
wife:
Lupe Gidley. Actor. Born c. 1965; married c. 1992.

Family close complete family listing

father:
James McDonald. Former actor, educator, builder's surveyor.
brother:
Daniel McDonald. Actor. Acted with McDonald in "Where the Boys Are '84".
son:
Jackson Riley McDonald. Born on December 22, 1990.
daughter:
Hannah Elizabeth McDonald. Born on October 20, 1993.
daughter:
Rosie McDonald. Born c. 1996.
daughter:
Ava Cathryn McDonald. Born on September 4, 2001.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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