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Maury Chaykin

Maury Chaykin

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Also Known As: Died: July 27, 2010
Born: July 27, 1949 Cause of Death: Unknown
Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A character actor possessing a menacing but often sympathetic presence, Maury Chaykin specialized in small but startling performances in American features, including the pivotal role of Major Fambrough in Kevin Costner's Oscar-winning drama, "Dances With Wolves" (1990) and memorable parts in "WarGames" (1983) and "My Cousin Vinny" (1992). His sporadically recurring role on HBO's "Entourage" (2004-11) as volatile movie producer Harvey Weingard never failed to amuse, while he made a true name for himself on television with the starring turn as Detective Nero Wolfe on the A&E series, "A Nero Wolfe Mystery" (2001-02). He went on to find his true niche in Canada, where his physical appearance - being on the heftier side - did not impede his opportunity to land interesting leading roles.Born July 27, 1949 in Brooklyn, NY, the exceptionally versatile player formed a band of traveling performers, the award-winning Swamp Fox Theatre Group, during his undergraduate years at University at Buffalo (SUNY). He later studied at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater, working with playwright Samuel Beckett on the only Beckett-approved theatrical adaptation of his novel, The Unnamable. His initial foray to New...

A character actor possessing a menacing but often sympathetic presence, Maury Chaykin specialized in small but startling performances in American features, including the pivotal role of Major Fambrough in Kevin Costner's Oscar-winning drama, "Dances With Wolves" (1990) and memorable parts in "WarGames" (1983) and "My Cousin Vinny" (1992). His sporadically recurring role on HBO's "Entourage" (2004-11) as volatile movie producer Harvey Weingard never failed to amuse, while he made a true name for himself on television with the starring turn as Detective Nero Wolfe on the A&E series, "A Nero Wolfe Mystery" (2001-02). He went on to find his true niche in Canada, where his physical appearance - being on the heftier side - did not impede his opportunity to land interesting leading roles.

Born July 27, 1949 in Brooklyn, NY, the exceptionally versatile player formed a band of traveling performers, the award-winning Swamp Fox Theatre Group, during his undergraduate years at University at Buffalo (SUNY). He later studied at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater, working with playwright Samuel Beckett on the only Beckett-approved theatrical adaptation of his novel, The Unnamable. His initial foray to New York theater proved unsuccessful, so Chaykin left after several years to accept a role in Toronto, Canada, which remained his home from that moment on, although he later returned to New York City, essaying roles in Off-Broadway plays including "Gimme Shelter" (1978) and the musical "Leave It to Beaver Is Dead" (1979).

After acting in the Canadian films "Highpoint" (1979) and "The Kidnapping of the President" (1980), Chaykin made his U.S. debut in "Death Hunt" (1981), but it was a small comedic turn in the hit thriller "WarGames" (1983) that opened Hollywood's eyes to his talent. His towering, glowering performance as the titular not-so-sweet union leader in "Canada's Sweetheart: The Saga of Hal C. Banks" (1986) garnered Chaykin a Genie Award as Best Actor, as well as a kind of strange stardom in his adopted land. His talent for the outlandish made him right at home in modest-sized but colorful character bits in "The Bedroom Window" (1987) and "Twins" (1988), but it was his especially fine portrayal as the crazed cavalry major who sends Kevin Costner to the frontier before committing suicide in "Dances with Wolves" (1990) that firmly established his reputation as a fine character actor.

The following year Chaykin began a collaboration with Canadian director Atom Egoyan in the "En Passant" segment of "Montreal vu par..." (1991) and "The Adjuster" (1991). In the latter, the actor stood out amidst the superb, eclectic cast as Bubba, an overweight, voyeuristic ex-football hero married to an exhibitionist. Chaykin won a second Genie for his inspired turn in "Whale Music" (1994), playing a child-like musical genius who has retreated from his rock-star life to devote himself to creating a symphonic piece for whales. He proved well-cast as Jessica Tandy's son, a soft core porn movie producer, in 1994's "Camilla" (with Egoyan making an appearance as a film director) and went on to memorable work as a rotund, menacingly depraved politician in "Devil in a Blue Dress" and as one of the crazy uncles in Diane Keaton's "Unstrung Heroes" (1995).

Under Egoyan's strong direction, Chaykin atypically played a choleric cuckold in "The Sweet Hereafter" (1997) before appearing as the owner of the Chez d'Irv diner in "Love and Death on Long Island" (1997) and delivering an outstanding turn as a dissipated underworld figure with a monstrous belly in Jon Amiel's "Entrapment" (1999). His role as Nero Wolfe on A&E's "The Golden Spiders: A Nero Wolfe Mystery" (2000) gave him a new pastime: driving constantly by the extraordinary billboard on Sunset Boulevard featuring a "humongous photograph of my face." Chaykin received good notices for his wonderfully petulant portrayal of the detective created by Rex Stout, though some fans of the character thought him too svelte for the part of the 300-pounder.

After guest appearances on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS, 2000-15) and "Boston Legal" (ABC, 2004-08), as well as a 2-episode turn as Nerus on "Stargate SG-1" (Showtime/The Sci-Fi Channel, 1997-2007) and a recurring role as the ever-raging movie producer Harvey Weingard on "Entourage" (HBO, 2004-11) Chaykin focused much of his attention on Canadian productions. The veteran thespian starred on the Canadian comedy series, "Less Than Kind" (HBO Canada, 2008-13) as patriarch Sam Blecher. Sadly, on his 61st birthday, Chaykin died on in a Toronto hospital of unknown causes on July 27, 2010. Earlier in the day the Toronto Film Festival had announced it would screen the world premiere of "Casino Jack," helmer George Hickenlooper's biopic about lobbyist Jack Abramoff, in which Chaykin played a supporting role.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Casino Jack (2010)
2.
 Barney's Version (2010)
3.
4.
 Adoration (2008)
5.
 Blindness (2008)
6.
 Big Nothing (2007)
7.
 Heaven's Fall (2006)
8.
10.
 Wilby Wonderful (2005)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

2005:
Cast as mob boss, San Marco in Atom Egoyan's "Where the Truth Lies" starring Kevin Bacon and Colin Firth
1993:
Appeared in first film with director Jon Amiel, "Sommersby"
1990:
Offered a memorable turn as the suicidal cavalry major who sends Kevin Costner west in "Dances with Wolves"
:
Performed in other Off-Broadway theater productions, including "Fat Fell Down" and "A Man's a Man"
1978:
Returned to NYC, joining the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Dodget Theatre Company to act in a production of "Gimme Shelter" by Barry Keefe
1991:
Began collaboration with writer-director Atom Egoyan with the "En Passant" segment of "Montreal vu par..." and "The Adjuster"
1979:
Earliest feature film appearances included a role in the Canadian-made comedy-thriller, "Highpoint"
1992:
Made TV miniseries debut in "Conspiracy of Silence", which originally premiered on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in December, 1991 and later aired on CBS
1992:
Worked on fourth film with Donovan, "Buried on Sunday"
:
Moved to New York after studying at San Francisco's ACT; took various odd jobs to pay the rent
1995:
Played a menacing, rotund, depraved politician in "Devil in a Blue Dress"
1994:
Played Jessica Tandy's movie-producer son in "Camilla"; Atom Egoyan appeared as a film director
1986:
Played title role in the Canadian-made docudrama feature, "Canada's Sweetheart: The Saga of Hal C. Banks"
2004:
Starred in "Being Julia," based on the novel "Theatre," by W. Somerset Maugham
1995:
Teamed with Michael Richards as the seriously goofy uncles in Diane Keaton's "Unstrung Heroes"
1997:
Worked in third film with Egoyan, "The Sweet Hereafter"; gave an unexpectedly disturbing performance as a choleric, cuckhold
1975:
Unable to find show business work in NYC, journeyed to Canada to act in a stage play, "Hooray for Johnny Canuck"; subsequently acted in a number of productions at Toronto's Factory Theatre Lab
1981:
Made U.S. feature film debut in "Death Hunt"
1979:
Acted in "Leave It to Beaver Is Dead", an off-Broadway musical play presented by Joseph Papp and the New York Shakespeare Festival
1983:
Breakthrough role in Hollywood films, "WarGames"
1999:
Doubled as a store owner and a wacky, crying lawyer for the dream sequences in "Jacob Two Two and the Hooded Fang"
1983:
Appeared in first film with Canadian producer-director-writer Paul Donovan, "Def-Con 4"
1980:
Appeared in first U.S. TV movie, "Jimmy B. & Andre" (CBS)
1968:
Formed and ran the Swamp Fox Group with some high school friends while in college at the State University of New York, Buffalo; the troupe toured widely, performing original material, and won an award at the 1969 Yale Drama Festival (dates approximate)
2000:
Played Kyra Sedgwick's aging father confronting his daughter's lesbianism when she brings her girlfriend to Thanksgiving dinner in "What's Cooking?"; screened at the Sundance Film Festival
1992:
Portrayed friendly truck driver Leon "Crazy-As" Pendleton in Edward Zwick's "Leaving Normal"
2000:
Portrayed Nero Wolfe in A&E TV-movie "The Golden Spiders: A Nero Wolfe Mystery"
1998:
Portrayed the prison warden in "The Mark of Zorro"
1994:
Received second Genie Award for portrayal of a deeply-troubled Brian Wilson-like musician in "Whale Music"
2001:
Reprised title role in the A&E series "Nero Wolfe"
1999:
Reteamed with Amiel on "Entrapment", playing a dissipated underworld figure with a comically monstrous belly
1979:
Returned to Canada
2005:
Cast in a recurring role as Hollywood producer Harvey Weingard on HBO's "Entourage"
1992:
Cast in a supporting role in "My Cousin Vinny"
2008:
Cast in Fernando Meirelles-directed mystery drama "Blindness"
2008:
Appeared in the Canadian TV series "Less Than Kind"
2010:
Cast in a supporting role opposite Kevin Spacey and Kelly Preston in "Casino Jack"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

American Conservatory Theatre: San Francisco, California -
State University of New York, Buffalo: Buffalo, New York - 1968

Notes

On Hollywood's obsession with beauty: "It's just brutal. You have to look great. It has nothing to do with the way most people are, the way most people are built. It's sick . . . I can't expect people to say, 'Let's star Maury Chaykin in, you know, the next Disney movie.' It's easier for me to make that happen in Canada. I've played so many leading roles there. They were not huge, box-office commercial films. But they were lovely, beautiful films." --Maury Chaykin, quoted in The New York Times, March 18, 2000.

Contributions

Finch ( 2010-08-12 )

Source: not available

Mr. Chaykin died in Toronto July 27, 2010, his 61st birthday.

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