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Overview for Dennis Christopher
Dennis Christopher

Dennis Christopher


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Also Known As: Dennis Carelli Died:
Born: December 2, 1955 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA Profession: Cast ... actor


This once boyishly handsome, stage-trained character player enjoyed a brief stint as a Hollywood leading man in the late 1970s and early 80s after the surprising success of "Breaking Away" (1979). Christopher proved extremely likable as a young Italophile cyclist in middle America coming to grips with growing up. Though he was already 24 at the time, Christopher was so convincing at conveying the anxieties of youth that he won a Youth in Film Award. This could have been a career transforming role but he faltered with his next two projects, "Fade to Black" (1980) and "Don't Cry, It's Only Thunder" (1982). The former was a gory thriller in which he went over-the-top as a movie-obsessed serial killer. Christopher shifted gears with the latter, playing a sensitive American GI paired with a dedicated doctor (Susan Saint James) during the Vietnam War. While his notices were respectable, the film failed to register at the box office. After a five year hiatus from the big screen, Christopher returned as a supporting player in genre movies beginning with the action comedy misfire "Jake Speed" (1986). This was followed by dubious (almost) direct-to-video titles and obscure international co-productions.

Christopher had established himself in NYC, Los Angeles and regional theater before shifting to films in the 70s. He also spent some time in Paris as a member of the Living Theatre, performing in street theater and experimental films. While overseas he has a part in Fellini's experimental documentary on Federico Fellini's "Roma" (1972). Back stateside, Christopher appeared in "9/30/55" (1977) and Robert Altman's "A Wedding" (1978), as the brother of the bride and son of Carol Burnett and Paul Dooley.

Christopher also has appeared in several worthy indies with gay themes. He was a maligned homosexual teacher in "The Disco Years" segment of the omnibus film "Boys Life" (1995) and one of the guests in Randal Kleiser's "It's My Party" (1996). Christopher has remained active on the stage, winning kudos for his portrayal of gay mathematician Alan Turing in the Los Angeles production of "Breaking the Code." He also provided the calming off-stage voice of an AIDS project doctor in a Los Angeles production of "A Quiet End."

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