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|Also Known As:||Garret L. Dillahunt||Died:|
|Born:||November 24, 1964||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Castro Valley, California, USA||Profession:||actor|
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In the 2000s, Garret Dillahunt established himself as a talent to be reckoned with, even in supporting roles, wowing viewers and peers alike in two wholly different, unrelated roles on the groundbreaking HBO series "Deadwood" (2004-06), and going on to build an eclectic résumé by working with some of the top producers and directors in premium television and indie films. A graduate of New York University's prestigious theater school, Dillahunt paid his dues in the proverbial trenches of the acting world, including live theater, soaps, some recurring roles on forgettable sitcoms and the odd indie film, before delivering a breakthrough performance on the Showtime series, "Leap Years" (2001-02). Producer David Milch would give Dillahunt's talents their biggest showcase then to date on "Deadwood," where the actor played two successive characters, both scurrilous scoundrels yet both so distinct that even diehard viewers failed to notice it was the same actor. He went on to stand out in turns as a Terminator in "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" (Fox, 2008-09) and a violent sociopath in the 2009 feature remake of "Last House On the Left," becoming a specialist in ultra-creepy villains. Still, he...
In the 2000s, Garret Dillahunt established himself as a talent to be reckoned with, even in supporting roles, wowing viewers and peers alike in two wholly different, unrelated roles on the groundbreaking HBO series "Deadwood" (2004-06), and going on to build an eclectic résumé by working with some of the top producers and directors in premium television and indie films. A graduate of New York University's prestigious theater school, Dillahunt paid his dues in the proverbial trenches of the acting world, including live theater, soaps, some recurring roles on forgettable sitcoms and the odd indie film, before delivering a breakthrough performance on the Showtime series, "Leap Years" (2001-02). Producer David Milch would give Dillahunt's talents their biggest showcase then to date on "Deadwood," where the actor played two successive characters, both scurrilous scoundrels yet both so distinct that even diehard viewers failed to notice it was the same actor. He went on to stand out in turns as a Terminator in "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" (Fox, 2008-09) and a violent sociopath in the 2009 feature remake of "Last House On the Left," becoming a specialist in ultra-creepy villains. Still, he would defy typecasting, winning critical praise as a dryly funny pool-cleaning dad on the quirky Fox comedy series "Raising Hope" (2010- ) and winning indie film leads in John Sayles' feature "Amigo" (2010) and the dark suspense thriller "Oliver Sherman" (2010). With each new outing, Dillahunt built up a sterling reputation as one of the most flexible character actors in Hollywood.
Born in Castro Valley, CA on Nov. 24, 1964, Dillahunt moved with his family to Yakima, WA, where, growing up, he became a voracious reader, particularly of science fiction. His affinity for the written word led him to study journalism at the University of Washington, but, hoping for a more lucrative career, he mulled over becoming a playwright. However, after taking a class in dramatic direction, he discovered a penchant for acting. During a brief stint in Seattle, he acted in some local productions, at the same time applying to drama grad schools before eventually being accepted by New York University's prestigious program. Graduating three years later, Dillahunt hit the New York theater circuit, becoming remarkably prolific in the notoriously tough live theater market, winning both on and off-Broadway projects, including 1996 revivals of "Inherit the Wind" and Strindberg's "The Father," as well as stints with top theatrical companies across the country such as Chicago's Steppenwolf and ACT San Francisco. He became a self-described workaholic, realizing he was taking on too many projects and vowed to "try to not say yes to everything."
With less daily performance-centric theater work, Dillahunt found himself more available for TV auditions. He broke into soaps in 1995 on "One Life to Live" (ABC, 1968- ), netted guest shots on hit shows such as "NYPD Blue" (ABC, 1993-2005) in 1996 and "The X-Files" (Fox, 1993-2002 ), followed by regular or recurring roles on short-lived comedy series such as "Maximum Bob" (ABC, 1998) and "A Minute with Stan Hooper" (Fox, 2003-04). He also appeared in some well-received indie films, such as the neo-noir thriller "Last Call" (1999), Peter Reigert's Oscar-nominated short film "By Courier" (2000), and the much-lauded tale of the self-hating Jewish-American youth who becomes a Nazi skinhead, "The Believer" (2001), the Grand Jury Prize-winner at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. Also in 2001, he offered critics a glimpse of what they would later deem chameleon-like talent on the Showtime drama "Leap Years," which portrayed non-linear snippets of an ensemble of characters at three different points in their lives, with Dillahunt's character going from a sexually confused youth through the process of self-realization as an openly gay man.
Dillahunt continued his guest-starring turns on top network dramas, but producer-writer David Milch would give Dillahunt's chameleon-like skills their greatest showcase then to date when he came calling with what would become another ground-breaking HBO project, the revisionist Western series "Deadwood" (2004-06). Set in the eponymous South Dakota gold-mining "camp," which Milch made into a lush tapestry of noble, unseemly and concurrently lyrical and vulgar characters, the show began with the town's most famous incident - the notorious murder of gunslinger Wild Bill Hickock by a conniving local bottom-feeder Jack McCall. As the latter, Dillahunt played the killer with cockeyed skeeviness and, though that character was soon brought to justice, returned in the second season with a beard and more pompous bearing as Francis Wolcott, a ruthless geologist employed by robber-baron George Hearst who harbors a penchant for murdering prostitutes. Though many viewers never caught on to his doubleheader, those who did marveled; one critic for L.A. Weekly, later arguing for the show's renewal, wrote: "In a show bursting with talented cast members few gave as stunning a performance as Dillahunt - in fact, he gave two More 'Deadwood' could easily be justified solely for the opportunity to give him the chance to wow us with a three-peat."
Milch had a role for Dillahunt on his follow-up series, "John from Cincinnati" (HBO, 2007), in which he played a nice guy for a change, but the quirky show only lasted a season. In between, he played another nice guy on NBC's controversial drama, "The Book of Daniel" (2006), which starred Aidan Quinn as a flawed priest and the anchor of a hyper-dysfunctional American family who frequently seeks the counsel of and frank conversations with Jesus Christ (Dillahunt). The edgy comedy was well reviewed, but it drew the ire of Christian groups and the network axed it after only four episodes. Adding insult to injury, the time-intensive series work also prompted him to relinquish the choice nasty role of Charley Ford in the Brad Pitt vehicle, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (2007), forcing Dillahunt to take a smaller role. He landed some recurring TV work on USA Network's sci-fi series "The 4400," a five-episode stint on NBC's long-running "ER" (1994-2009), and the key supporting role of Wendell, the sweetly earnest deputy, in Joel and Ethan Coen's Oscar-winning "No Country for Old Men" (2007).
Back on the small screen in 2008, Dillahunt won a rarified spot in a veritable heel franchise by playing Cromartie, the soulless (yet strangely evolving) terminator robot chasing down the prospective saviors of mankind on the Fox series "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles." He bolstered his creepy bona fides further in early 2009 with his turn as Krug, the cold-blooded prison escapee leading a psychopathic gang rampage in the remake of Wes Craven's 1972 horror classic, "Last House on the Left." But Dillahunt would soon be able to show off his range later that year when he landed a comedic gem of a part in Greg Garcia's single-camera Fox comedy, "Keep Hope Alive." Garcia, creator of the similarly zany, blue-collar series "My Name Is Earl" (NBC, 2005-09), cast Dillahunt as the devil-may-care, chronically immature, pool-cleaning dad in the dysfunctional family ensemble, playing off Martha Plimpton as his hilariously mercenary cleaning-woman wife, and Lucas Neff as his directionless but well-meant slacker son who decides to keep and raise a baby daughter he conceived in a one-night-stand with a recently executed criminal.
Before the show premiered, however, Dillahunt scored two film leads, starting with indie auteur John Sayles' "Amigo," and followed by Ryan Redford's "Oliver Sherman." "Amigo," one of Sayles' impressive oeuvre of tales of American history and culture's more obscure corners, saw Dillahunt in the central role of an American officer charged with pacifying the Philippine countryside amid the U.S.'s annexation of that country at the turn of the last century; a soldier caught between his instincts to win the locals' hearts and minds and the orders from the top to execute a scorched-Earth policy. "Oliver Sherman" returned Dillahunt to the role of heavy, an aimless, drifting veteran who arrives at the home of a fellow former soldier who once saved his life (Donal Logue). The family welcomes the wayward man until he reveals himself to be dangerously unhinged. September 2010 would be a bellwether month for Dillahunt, with his Fox show, now redubbed "Raising Hope," premiering in September 2010 to overall glowing reviews and many singling out the chemistry between Dillahunt and Plimpton. Both "Amigo" and "Oliver Sherman" also scored positive notices during their premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival.
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