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Steven Berkoff

Steven Berkoff

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Also Known As: Leslie Steven Berks Died:
Born: August 3, 1937 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: London, England, GB Profession: actor, director, playwright

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

This socially committed stage writer and director has subsidized his strikingly original London theater work with (usually) villainous film and TV roles. Born in London and trained at the Webber-Douglas Academy and in France, Berkoff has been appearing on stage since the late 1950s, usually in his own original or adapted works, which include "Kvetch" and "Prisoner in Rio" and versions of Kafka's "The Trial" and "Metamorphosis." Berkoff made his screen debut in Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" (1971) and was also featured in the director's "Barry Lyndon" (1975). His feature career blossomed in the 80s with turns as generally unscrupulous characters, such as in "Octopussy" (1983). He is perhaps best known as the arch-villain of "Beverly Hills Cop" (1984), as Adolf Hitler in the TV epic "War and Remembrance" (ABC, 1988) and as the rival gangster who gets it between the eyes in "The Krays" (1990). He wrote, directed and played multiple roles in "Decadence" (1993), an adaptation of his play focusing on grotesque British aristocrats.

This socially committed stage writer and director has subsidized his strikingly original London theater work with (usually) villainous film and TV roles.

Born in London and trained at the Webber-Douglas Academy and in France, Berkoff has been appearing on stage since the late 1950s, usually in his own original or adapted works, which include "Kvetch" and "Prisoner in Rio" and versions of Kafka's "The Trial" and "Metamorphosis."

Berkoff made his screen debut in Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" (1971) and was also featured in the director's "Barry Lyndon" (1975). His feature career blossomed in the 80s with turns as generally unscrupulous characters, such as in "Octopussy" (1983). He is perhaps best known as the arch-villain of "Beverly Hills Cop" (1984), as Adolf Hitler in the TV epic "War and Remembrance" (ABC, 1988) and as the rival gangster who gets it between the eyes in "The Krays" (1990). He wrote, directed and played multiple roles in "Decadence" (1993), an adaptation of his play focusing on grotesque British aristocrats.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Decadence (1993) Director

CAST: (feature film)

2.
3.
5.
 Red 2 (2013)
6.
 Dead Cert (2011)
10.
 Tourist, The (2010)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Born in the East End of London
:
During WWII, was evacuated to Luton before spending one year in the U.S. and then returning to England
1959:
Stage debut in Arthur Miller's "A View from the Bridge"
:
Founded London Theatre Group
1971:
Film acting debut in "A Clockwork Orange," directed by Stanley Kubrick
1975:
Played featured role in Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon"
1979:
London stage directing debut, "Hamlet"
1984:
Co-starred as villain Victor Maitland in "Beverly Hills Cop"
1987:
Wrote and directed the off-Broadway play "Kvetch"
1993:
Feature directorial debut (also starred), "Decadence"
1999:
Wrote the semi-autobiographical play "East"; premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
2000:
Appeared at Joe's Pub in NYC in the one-person show "Shakespeare's Villains: A Masterclass in Evil"
2002:
Returned to NYC stage in "Berkoff Is Back"; also directed
2003:
Starred in the comedy feature "Nine Dead Gay Guys"
2004:
Appeared in the WWII drama "Head in the Clouds" opposite Charlize Theron and Penélope Cruz
2006:
Cast in the HBO movie "Pu-239"
2011:
Portrayed Girolamo Savonarola, an influential priest in Florence who preaches against the corruption in the church on Showtime's "The Borgias"
2011:
Joined the cast of David Fincher directed "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," based on the novel by Stieg Larsson
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Webber-Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art: - 1958 - 1959
Ecole Jacques Le Coq: - 1965

Notes

On never having had a bar mitzvah, Berkoff was quoted in The Independent (July 2001): "This was the source of angst for me at an early age because everyone else was having that done to them. It's a kind of ritual crossing, a rite of passage, and if it's not done to you, you haven't been, like, stamped with the authority. I think my father didn't really have any interest in making one for me. I needed someone to say: Right, you're going to the classes and you're doing this. But he didn't. I think, actually, my father was more worried about the cost of making the party afterwards. At that time, you had to rent a hall, invite the relatives, get the catering ..."

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Shelley Lee. Dancer, choreographer. Married in August 1976; divorced.
companion:
Clara Fisher. Musician. German.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Alfred Berks. Tailor. Changed family surname from Berkovitch.
mother:
Pauline Berks.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Graft"

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