skip navigation
Stephen Dorff

Stephen Dorff

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Also Known As: Died:
Born: July 29, 1973 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Atlanta, Georgia, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Though he showed a great deal of promise during the early stages, actor Stephen Dorff suffered through a string of bad thrillers and horror flicks that threatened to derail his career. After emerging in the surprise hit "The Gate" (1987), Dorff made a good living starring in several made-for-television movies and guest-starring on popular series. But he first achieved critical prominence with a solid performance in the apartheid drama, "The Power of One" (1992). He continued to gain attention and critical praise throughout the decade, most notably in "Backbeat" (1994), "I Shot Andy Warhol" (1996) and "Blade" (1998); the latter of which earned him a considerable fan base for his portrayal of the hated arch vampire, Deacon Frost. But by the next century, Dorff's stature as an actor fell dramatically, thanks to starring roles in derided pictures like "Deuces Wild" (2002), "Feardotcom" (2002) and "Alone in the Dark" (2005). By this time more noted for his dalliances with various models and actress, including his brief spin with Pamela Anderson, Dorff set about revitalizing himself, taking roles in more serious fare like "World Trade Center" (2006) and "Public Enemies" (2009) - all with the hopes of...

Though he showed a great deal of promise during the early stages, actor Stephen Dorff suffered through a string of bad thrillers and horror flicks that threatened to derail his career. After emerging in the surprise hit "The Gate" (1987), Dorff made a good living starring in several made-for-television movies and guest-starring on popular series. But he first achieved critical prominence with a solid performance in the apartheid drama, "The Power of One" (1992). He continued to gain attention and critical praise throughout the decade, most notably in "Backbeat" (1994), "I Shot Andy Warhol" (1996) and "Blade" (1998); the latter of which earned him a considerable fan base for his portrayal of the hated arch vampire, Deacon Frost. But by the next century, Dorff's stature as an actor fell dramatically, thanks to starring roles in derided pictures like "Deuces Wild" (2002), "Feardotcom" (2002) and "Alone in the Dark" (2005). By this time more noted for his dalliances with various models and actress, including his brief spin with Pamela Anderson, Dorff set about revitalizing himself, taking roles in more serious fare like "World Trade Center" (2006) and "Public Enemies" (2009) - all with the hopes of reigniting his career.

Born on July 29, 1973 in Atlanta, GA, Dorff was raised in Los Angeles, CA, the son of music producer and composer Steve Dorff. Almost from the start, he was on the path to becoming an actor, making commercials as a child for Mattel, Kraft and other products. In 1986, he began making guest appearances on popular television shows, including "Diff'rent Strokes" (NBC/ABC, 1978-1986). The following year, the young actor graduated to television movies, appearing in a prominent supporting role in the war drama, "In Love and War" (NBC, 1987), the fact-based dramatization of Naval commander Jim Stockdale (James Woods) and his eight year ordeal as a prisoner of war during Vietnam. Dorff landed his first big break when he was cast to star in the children's horror movie, "The Gate" (1987). He played a young teenager who, along with his best friend (Louis Tripp), finds a mysterious hole in his backyard which they soon discover is actually a gate to hell that unleashes a torrent of frightful demons. "The Gate" was a surprise pre-summer hit that helped propel Dorff's fledgling career.

Back on the small screen, he had small roles in the made-for-television movies "The Absent-Minded Professor" (NBC, 1988), "Quiet Victory: The Charlie Wedemeyer Story" (CBS, 1988), and "I Know My First Name Is Steven" (NBC, 1989), the true-to-life story of Steven Stayner, a young boy who was kidnapped and sexually abused for seven years. Following a supporting part in the Pam Dawber movie-of-the week, "Do You Know the Muffin Man?" (CBS, 1989), Dorff had a three-episode art on the second season of "Roseanne" (ABC, 1988-1997). In "Always Remember I Love You" (CBS, 1990), he starred as an adoptee who discovers at 16 years old that he was stolen at birth. By this point in his career, Dorff was prominent on the small screen, including a supporting turn in "A Son's Promise" (ABC, 1990) and an episode of "Blossom" (NBC, 1991-1995), in which he played the prom date of the titular teenage girl (Mayim Bialik). He finally returned to the big screen with "The Power of One" (1992), an uneven coming-of-age drama in which he mastered a British-Afrikaner accent to play an up-and-coming South African boxer who wins the hearts of oppressed blacks during their struggle with apartheid.

After playing a nerdy high school student trying to save his fantasy girl (Ami Dolenz) from kidnappers in the harmless, but little-seen comedy "Rescue Me" (1993), Dorff graduated to more adult roles, once again displaying a penchant for accents as Stuart Sutcliffe, the original bassist for The Beatles in the stylish biopic ""Backbeat" (1994). Continuing with the British theme, he was an English youth suspected of murder in "Innocent Lives" (1995), which he followed with a performance as a hard-drinking slacker who becomes a national celebrity after being held hostage for a month in a convenience store in "SFW" (1994), a role that Dorff acknowledged was one of his favorites. After a gentle turn as Mia Farrow's estranged son in "Reckless" (1995), he crossed the taboo line as a young man engaged in an incestuous relationship with his sister (Gabrielle Anwar) in the murder mystery, "Innocent Lives" (1995). Meanwhile, Dorff earned critical praise after taking a risk playing transsexual Candy Darling in Mary Harron's noted indie feature, "I Shot Andy Warhol" (1996).

With his film career on the rise, Dorff had the opportunity to work alongside Jack Nicholson in the well-regarded crime drama, "Blood and Wine" (1997), playing the step-son of a down-and-out wine dealer looking to score some fast cash with the aide of a safecracker dying of tuberculosis (Michael Caine). Dorff followed with what became his most noted role to date, playing the arch nemesis of a ruthless vampire hunter (Wesley Snipes) in "Blade" (1998), an adaptation of the famed comic book series. Briefly back on television, he played a nervous young bank robber who takes a sheltered and disillusioned housewife (Susan Sarandon) hostage in "Earthly Possessions" (HBO, 1999). In the feature "Cecil B. Demented" (2000), he was a manic guerrilla filmmaker who forces a famous Hollywood actress (Melanie Griffith) at gunpoint to act in his latest movie. After cameo appearances in "Zoolander" (2001) and "Take a Number" (2001), his career took a step back with his leading role in "Deuces Wild" (2002), a widely panned drama about violence that breaks out amidst street gangs in 1958 Brooklyn.

Dorff began to feel his career take a bit of a backward slide following his turn in the derided "Feardotcom" (2002), a gothic horror flick that tried to piggyback on the Internet boom with a nearly incomprehensible plot riddled with contrivances and tortured logic. Following the little-seen psychological thriller "Cold Creek Manor" (2003), Dorff had the misfortune of being cast in a Uwe Boll movie, co-starring opposite Christian Slater and Tara Reid in "Alone in the Dark" (2005). Dorff continued having a tough time regaining the promise he showed in the 1990s when he landed the role of a local crime boss in the crime thriller misfire, "Shadowboxer" (2005). He did have a brief moment away from B-grade thrillers when he had a supporting role in Oliver Stone's well-intentioned "World Trade Center" (2006), a stirring look at two Port Authority officers (Nicolas Cage and Michael Peña) struggling to survive in the fallen towers after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. After playing an elite secret agent sent to discover the origins of a deadly virus in "Robert Ludlum's Covert One: The Hades Factor" (CBS, 2006), Dorff was a loving family man sent to prison after killing an intruder in "Felon" (2008). He next played bank robber Homer Van Meter, an associate of John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) and Baby Face Nelson (Stephen Graham), in Michael Mann's eagerly awaited crime epic, "Public Enemies" (2009).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Leatherface (2016)
3.
 American Hero (2015)
4.
 Debt, The (2015)
5.
 Heatstroke (2014)
6.
7.
 Officer Down (2013)
8.
 Motel Life, The (2013)
9.
 Boot Tracks (2012)
10.
 Zaytoun (2012)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1986:
Began acting in commercials
1985:
Made TV debut in an episode of "Diff'rent Strokes" (NBC)
1987:
TV-movie debut, "In Love and War" (NBC)
1987:
Feature film debut, "The Gate"
1989:
Cast as Becky's boyfriend on three episodes of the ABC sitcom "Roseanne"
1990:
Played a regular in the syndicated series, "What a Dummy"
1992:
First lead role in a feature, "The Power of One"
1994:
Portrayed Stuart Sutcliffe, the original bassist of The Beatles, in "Backbeat"
1996:
Won critical praise as the transgendered Candy Darling in "I Shot Andy Warhol"
1996:
Played Jack Nicholson's son in Bob Rafelson's "Blood and Wine"
1998:
Co-starred with Wesley Snipes in "Blade"
2000:
Had title role in John Waters' "Cecil B. Demented"
2002:
Played the lead role in the horror film "Feardotcom"
2003:
Starred in the thriller "Cold Creek Manor"
2005:
Starred with Christian Slater in the supernatural thriller "Alone in the Dark"
2006:
Appeared in Lee Daniels' indie film "Shadowboxer"
2006:
Co-starred in Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center"
2009:
Portrayed bank robber Baby Face Nelson in Michael Mann's "Public Enemies"
2010:
Portrayed a hard living movie star in Sofia Coppola's "Somewhere"
2011:
Acted opposite Nick Swardson in the comedy feature "Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star"
2011:
Cast as Stavros opposite Henry Cavill and Mickey Rourke in "Immortals"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

"I know every movie I make isn't going to be great. But I hope to be great in every movie I make."--From Movieline, March 1994.

"If a director's stale or dried out, if they work with me, I hope to rekindle their flame. There's really no other kid that can handle the scope of what this character should be, unless you want it to play like the way it reads now: really boring." --Dorff on his talent (from Movieline, March 1994).

"He has incredible concentration and he's extremely charismatic." --producer Dale Pollack ("SFW") quoted in US, May 1995

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Courtney Wagner. Daughter of Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner; no longer together.
companion:
Georgina Grenville. Model. Together c. 1996-1998.
companion:
Natane Adcock. Model. Dated from c. June 1998.
companion:
Rhea Durham. Model. Reportedly dating as of 2000.
companion:
Pamela Anderson.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Steve Dorff. Composer, songwriter.
step-mother:
Lori Dorff. Actor.
brother:
Andrew Dorff. Singer, musician. Younger.
half-sister:
Callie Dorff. Born on July 28, 1997.
half-sister:
Kaitlyn Hannah Dorff. Born on March 6, 2000.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute