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Also Known As: Thomas Alan Waits Died:
Born: December 7, 1949 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Pomona, California, USA Profession: singer, musician, actor, screenwriter, songwriter, composer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A Grammy Award-winning musician known for his raspy voice, darkly humorous lyrics, and unusual instrumentation, Tom Waits parlayed his unique musical vision into a side career as a character actor specializing in the same down-at-the-heels men who often populated his songs. During his early career in the 1970s, the vivid storyteller's distinctive blend of outdated musical styles and Beat poetry earned him a cult following, but over the next four decades, Waits became highly sought after to contribute music to over 100 film and television productions, while his ever-evolving sound broke through to larger audiences with albums Bone Machine and Mule Variations. On screen, Waits was tapped for over two dozen film roles by directors including Robert Altman, Jim Jarmusch, Terry Gilliam and Francis Ford Coppola. Whether playing a convict on the run in "Down By Law" (1986), a trailer-park dwelling chauffeur in "Short Cuts" (1993), a dapper Devil in "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" (2009), or any number of skid row bums and streetwise hustlers, Waits always offered an inventive, humorous, and ultimately sympathetic portrayal of outcasts from the lower rungs of society.

A Grammy Award-winning musician known for his raspy voice, darkly humorous lyrics, and unusual instrumentation, Tom Waits parlayed his unique musical vision into a side career as a character actor specializing in the same down-at-the-heels men who often populated his songs. During his early career in the 1970s, the vivid storyteller's distinctive blend of outdated musical styles and Beat poetry earned him a cult following, but over the next four decades, Waits became highly sought after to contribute music to over 100 film and television productions, while his ever-evolving sound broke through to larger audiences with albums Bone Machine and Mule Variations. On screen, Waits was tapped for over two dozen film roles by directors including Robert Altman, Jim Jarmusch, Terry Gilliam and Francis Ford Coppola. Whether playing a convict on the run in "Down By Law" (1986), a trailer-park dwelling chauffeur in "Short Cuts" (1993), a dapper Devil in "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" (2009), or any number of skid row bums and streetwise hustlers, Waits always offered an inventive, humorous, and ultimately sympathetic portrayal of outcasts from the lower rungs of society.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Twixt (2012)
2.
3.
 Book of Eli, The (2010)
6.
 Absolute Wilson (2006)
8.
 Domino (2005)
9.
 Coffee and Cigarettes (2003) Himself
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1973:
Cut first album <i>Closing Time</i>
1978:
Made feature film debut in "Paradise Alley"
1979:
First film as songwriter (title song), "On the Nickel"
1982:
Recorded acclaimed soundtrack for Francis Ford Coppola's "One from the Heart"
1983:
Solo album producing debut, <i>Swordfishtrombones</i>
1986:
Starred in "Down by Law," written and directed by Jim Jarmusch
1988:
First film as co-screenwriter, "Big Time"; also acted and performed songs
1990:
Co-wrote opera "The Black Rider" with William Burroughs
1991:
Appeared in romantic drama "At Play in the Fields of the Lord"
1993:
Cast in Robert Altman's "Short Cuts"
1999:
Played Doc Heller in superhero flick "Mystery Men"
2003:
Co-starred in Jim Jarmusch's "Coffee and Cigarettes"
2004:
Released critically acclaimed <i>Real Gone</i>
2005:
Played supporting role in "Domino," starring Keira Knightley and Christopher Walken
2009:
Played the devil in Terry Gilliam's fantasy adventure "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus"
2011:
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
2012:
Cast in ensemble crime comedy "Seven Psychopaths"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

"I think all songs should have weather in them. Names of towns and streets, and they should have a couple of sailors. I think those are just some song prerequisites." --Waits in an interview with The Onion A.V. Club

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Kathleen Brennan. Editor of <i>Munich News</i>.
wife:
Kathleen Brennan. Songwriter, former script editor. Has had three children with Waits.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Jesse Frank Waits. Had seven siblings.
father:
Jesse Frank Waits. School teacher. Divorced Waits' mother c. 1959; named after Frank and Jesse James.
daughter:
Kellesimone Waits. Mother Kathleen Brennan.
daughter:
Kellesimone Waits. Painter. Born in South America.
son:
Casey Xavier Waits. Rabbi.
son:
Casey Xavier Waits. Mother Kathleen Brennan.
son:
Sullivan Waits. Dated a Jewish actor who moved to London c. 1933.
son:
Sullivan Waits. Mother Kathleen Brennan.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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