Character actor Daniel von Bargen has had a long and accomplished career on stage and screen, often appearing as a "man's man." Von Bargen first pursued acting at Purdue University, where he studied drama before moving into theater with Providence's Trinity Repertory in Rhode Island. In 1974, he broke into television with a one-off role on the anthology series "Great Performances" in an adaptation of the play "Feasting with Panthers," which centered on Oscar Wilde's time in prison. He wouldn't break into film for another 17 years, but he did so with aplomb, appearing in four films in 1991, among them the iconic crime thriller "The Silence of the Lambs" and the Woody Allen crime comedy "Shadows and Fog," a cheeky homage to German Expressionism. Von Bargen soon became a familiar face in the crime genre, appearing in thrillers like the femme-fatale infused "Basic Instinct," and the action-packed cyborg sequel, "RoboCop 3." Yet one of his most memorable roles came in the Kevin Costner flop, "The Postman," in which von Bargen played a suspicious sheriff. It proved to be the first of many sheriffs he'd portray, and despite the film's poor reviews his strong performance drew notice. This contributed to his earning a recurring role on the dysfunctional family sitcom "Malcom in the Middle," as the gruff Commandant Spangler, who antagonized the eldest brother, Francis, during his stint in military school. Continuing to balance film, TV, and theater, von Bargen appeared in the comedy "London Betty" in 2009.
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Made TV debut on "Feasting with Panthers" episode of "Great Performances" (PBS)
Miniseries debut, "The Scarlet Letter" (PBS)
Played various characters on ABC crime drama series "Spenser: For Hire"
Feature film debut, "The Good Policeman"
Cast as a SWAT Communicator in Jonathan Demme's "The Silence of the Lambs," starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins
Acted in the erotic thriller "Basic Instinct"
Cast as the Jury Foreman in "Philadelphia," directed by Demme, and starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington
Appeared in Tony Scott's "Crimson Tide," starring Washington and Gene Hackman
Joined the ensemble cast of Steven Spielberg's historical drama "Amistad"
Landed a memorable recurring role on NBC sitcom "Seinfeld" as George Costanza's (Jason Alexander) boss Kruger
Played Sheriff Cooley in the Coen Brothers' "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"
Played the strict military veteran Commandant Spangler on Fox's family comedy "Malcolm in the Middle"
Played Chief Grady in police comedy "Super Troopers"
Featured in the drama "Things That Hang from Trees"
Co-starred in the comedy feature "London Betty"