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Nick Stahl

Nick Stahl

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Also Known As: Nicolas Kent Stahl Died:
Born: December 5, 1979 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Harlingen, Texas, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A talented actor with a penchant for playing intense, often troubled young men, Nick Stahl garnered the respect of critics and his peers at a young age with a winning combination of independent and mainstream films. At the age of 14, Stahl made his feature film debut opposite Mel Gibson in the drama "The Man Without a Face" (1993). After a slew of television and theatrical projects, he was appearing in such diverse, high-profile films as the teen thriller "Disturbing Behavior" (1998) and venerated director Terence Malick's war treatise "The Thin Red Line" (1998). Stahl continued the trend with important roles in the acclaimed drama "In the Bedroom" (2001) and the controversial based-on-fact tale of teen murder, "Bully" (2001). He later followed a starring role in the big-budget action sequel, "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" (2003) with the lead on the well-regarded cable series "Carnivale" (HBO, 2003-05). After his disturbing, but memorable supporting role in the hugely popular neo noir, "Sin City" (2005), Stahl worked steadily in such indie efforts as "How to Rob a Bank" (2008) and "388 Arletta Avenue" (2012). One of the edgier screen performers of his generation, Stahl continually made career...

A talented actor with a penchant for playing intense, often troubled young men, Nick Stahl garnered the respect of critics and his peers at a young age with a winning combination of independent and mainstream films. At the age of 14, Stahl made his feature film debut opposite Mel Gibson in the drama "The Man Without a Face" (1993). After a slew of television and theatrical projects, he was appearing in such diverse, high-profile films as the teen thriller "Disturbing Behavior" (1998) and venerated director Terence Malick's war treatise "The Thin Red Line" (1998). Stahl continued the trend with important roles in the acclaimed drama "In the Bedroom" (2001) and the controversial based-on-fact tale of teen murder, "Bully" (2001). He later followed a starring role in the big-budget action sequel, "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" (2003) with the lead on the well-regarded cable series "Carnivale" (HBO, 2003-05). After his disturbing, but memorable supporting role in the hugely popular neo noir, "Sin City" (2005), Stahl worked steadily in such indie efforts as "How to Rob a Bank" (2008) and "388 Arletta Avenue" (2012). One of the edgier screen performers of his generation, Stahl continually made career choices based on his interest in the content of a project, rather than the size of its budget.

Born on Dec. 5, 1979 in Harlingen, TX, Nicolas Kent Stahl was the youngest of three children born to Donna Lynn and William Kent Stahl, who left the family when Nick was but two years old. When Lynn, a brokerage assistant, took her son to his first play at the age of four, it seemed to instantaneously set the course of his life. Declaring that he wanted to become an actor, Stahl began taking lessons at the nearby Melva Smith School of Dance and before long was picking up roles in stage productions and local television commercials. Spotted by a talent agent, the 12-year-old thespian soon made his primetime acting debut as Robert Urich's son in the thriller "Stranger at My Door" (CBS, 1991) followed by another turn in "Woman with a Past" (NBC, 1992), starring Pamela Reed as a mother attempting to leave her troubled past behind.

A mere three years into his professional career, Stahl's breakout role in his first feature film came when actor-director Mel Gibson cast him as a troubled adolescent who agrees to be tutored by a reclusive, disfigured teacher (Gibson) in "The Man Without a Face" (1993). Now off and running, Stahl was soon seen opposite veteran actors like Susan Sarandon and Sam Shepard in the drama "Safe Passage" (1994). The teenage Stahl excelled in portraying troubled, often victimized youths, as he did in the television projects "Incident in a Small Town" (CBS, 1994) and "Blue River" (Fox, 1995), although the feature "Tall Tale: The Adventures of Pecos Bill" (1995) allowed the actor a rare opportunity to play a more proactive young hero. In the Southern gothic "Eye of God" (1997), he was well-cast as a teenager who may have witnessed - or participated in - a murder. Alongside fellow rising stars James Marsden and Katie Holmes, he co-starred as a rebellious teen who becomes convinced something is wrong with his seemingly perfect peers in the popular thriller "Disturbing Behavior" (1998).

Also that year, Stahl went on to appear in the all-star ensemble of legendary director Terrence Malick's lyrical adaptation of James Joyce's autobiographical war novel, "The Thin Red Line" (1998). He next portrayed an aspiring musician in the little-seen 1970s comedy, "Sunset Strip" (2000), followed by a substantial role in "The Sleepy Time Gal" (2001), where he portrayed the son of a cancer-stricken writer (Jacqueline Bisset). The harrowing drama, "In the Bedroom" (2001) cast Stahl as the murdered son of a New England couple (Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson) and earned him nothing but praise from critics. The pundits were far more divided, however, over the actor's next project, "Bully" (2001), director Larry Clark's sordid - some claimed fetishistic - account of a group of amoral Florida teens who plot the demise of Stahl's abusive character. While many took issue with the morally ambiguous tone of Clark's film, which was inspired by actual events, no one could deny that the intense, riveting performance of Stahl made him one of the young stars to watch in the new millennium.

Stahl was next seen in the occult horror film, "Taboo" (2002), prior to appearing alongside Claire Danes and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the sci-fi action-adventure "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" (2003). In the big-budget sequel, Stahl took over the role of John Conner, previously played by Edward Furlong, who is once again targeted by an even more advanced Terminator (Kristanna Loken) sent from a future ruled by the sentient computer system Skynet. Stahl then took on his first starring role on an ongoing television series with "Carnivale" (2003-05), a dark fantasy-drama exploring the struggle between good and evil in the Dust Bowl region during the Great Depression. Stahl was cast as Ben Hawkins, a young man possessed with remarkable healing powers who travels with an eccentric circus troupe. Though critically acclaimed and highly rated during its first season, the stylized, difficult-to-define show soon began to lose its audience. Much to the dismay of Stahl, his fellow cast members and the show's relatively small but fiercely loyal number of fans, the Emmy-winning "Carnivale" was cancelled after its second season.

Stahl rebounded nicely, however, when he landed the choice role of Roark Junior, the sadistic, disfigured titular serial killer in the "That Yellow Bastard" sequence of Robert Rodriguez and co-director Frank Miller's "Sin City" (2005). In the stylized, duotone rendition of Miller's original graphic novel, Stahl was repulsively convincing as a pedophile psychopath ultimately brought to justice by a broken down ex-cop (Bruce Willis). Stahl followed the success of "Sin City" with a string of smaller, independent films that included the off-beat comedy "The Night of the White Pants" (2006), which reteamed him with Tom Wilkinson. He later joined a cast that included Charlize Theron, Woody Harrelson and AnnaSophia Robb in the coming-of-age drama "Sleepwalking" (2008), then picked up a supporting role in the Renée Zellweger vehicle, "My One and Only" (2009), a fictionalized account of the unconventional childhood of future movie star George Hamilton. In 2009, Stahl married Rose Murphy, with whom he had a daughter, Marlo, the following year. Film work of this period included a turn as a small-town detective investigating the death of a juvenile in the crime drama "Meskada" (2010), followed by a pairing with rising starlet Olivia Wilde in the thriller "On the Inside" (2011).

Working steadily, albeit in films that saw only limited theatrical or direct-to-DVD release, he also starred as a disillusioned journalist trying to expose war atrocities in "Afghan Luke" (2011). Unfortunately, trouble began to brew for the actor after he and his wife separated in January 2012. The following month, Murphy filed papers for divorce, reportedly also requesting that the amount of time Stahl be allowed to spend with their daughter be limited and that he submit to drug and alcohol testing prior to the scheduled visits. In May of that year, just days before the release of Stahl's latest film, "388 Arletta Avenue" (2012), a thriller in which he played a young husband tormented by a demented stalker, Murphy reported her estranged husband missing to the LAPD. Last seen in L.A.'s notorious Skid Row district a week prior to the report, authorities speculated that drugs might have been involved in his sudden disappearance. Not long after reports he had gone missing surfaced, Stahl reportedly entered rehab.

By Bryce Coleman

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Over the Wall (2013)
2.
 Burning Palms (2011)
3.
 Kalamity (2010)
4.
 Meskada (2010)
5.
 Dead Awake (2010)
6.
 Chameleon, The (2010)
7.
 My One and Only (2009)
8.
 Quid Pro Quo (2008)
9.
 Sleepwalking (2008)
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Dallas, TX
:
Appeared in Dallas stage productions of "Babes in Toyland" and "Medea"
1991:
TV-movie debut, "Stranger at My Door" (CBS)
1993:
Feature acting debut, "The Man Without a Face" as a troubled adolescent mentored by a reclusive former teacher (Mel Gibson)
1995:
Cast as the young version of the film's narrator in the Fox "Hallmark Hall of Fame" production "Blue River"
1995:
Starred in "Tall Tale: The Unbelievable Adventures of Pecos Bill"
1997:
Landed featured role opposite Martha Plimpton in acclaimed independent film "Eye of God"
1998:
Co-starred as an outcast teen who suspects something strange is happening to his peers in "Disturbing Behavior"
1998:
Appeared in Terrence Malik's remake of "The Thin Red Line"
2000:
Cast as a novice musician in "Sunset Strip"
2000:
Cast in title role as the abusive and sexually predatory Bobby Kent in Larry Clark's "Bully"
2001:
Acted in the acclaimed feature "In the Bedroom," co-starring Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek
2002:
Co-starred with Summer Phoenix in the MTV movie "Wasted"
2003:
After auditioning five times, won the role of John Connor in "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines"
2003:
Cast as Ben Hawkins, a fugitive who finds refuge within a traveling carnival on the HBO drama "Carnivàle"
2003:
Starred as Dodge in "Twist" a queer 'Oliver Twist' update set in the hustler district of modern-day Toronto, Canada
2005:
Joined ensemble cast of "Sin City," the adaptation of comic book icon Frank Miller's über-noir series of graphic novels co-directed by Miller and Robert Rodriguez
2008:
Played a simple man faced with caring for his 12-year-old niece when she is abandoned by her mother in "Sleepwalking"
2012:
Guest starred on ABC's "Body of Proof"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Melva Smith School of Dance: Dallas , Texas -

Notes

"I was looking for an old soul in a young body. It had to be a person who is very connected emotionally to their own heart and pain, with the ability to demonstrate that on film. Nick has those qualities. He came in to read for the part and just nailed it. He's an amazing actor." --director Jeremiah Chechik in press kit for "Tall Tales"

From Susan Wloszczyna's August 25, 1993 USA Today review of "The Man Without a Face": "... Newcomer Nick Stahl, whose handle-like ears make him look like a sugar bowl with Bambi eyes ..."

On how he came to be cast in "Bully", Stahl told The Advocate (July 3, 2001): "I expressed my interest [in playing the role], and then I guess I read for it after that, like, maybe a week later. I just say "hat's off" to [Clark] for giving me the opportunity, because I think it took a lot of imagination on his part. It was pretty bold of him not to go the stereotypical route. I guess he recognized that it was more psychological bullying. That gave me some security going into the movie that I would have some freedom to do what I wanted to do."

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Donna Stahl. Former brokerage assistant.
sister:
Bonnie Stahl. Born in 1972.
sister:
Emily Stahl. Older.

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