Family & Companions
Classically trained thespian of the stage turned busy character player of the screen before gaining international cult stardom as Freddy Krueger, the dark king of the dream world, in a successful horror movie franchise inaugurated with Wes Craven's now-classic "A Nightmare on Elm Street" (1984). Like Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff in the 1930s, Englund's name has become closely linked with one monstrously popular movie character; in recent horror film history, only Anthony Perkins' Norman Bates has struck such a resonant chord with the film-going public. (In contrast Jason of the "Friday the 13th" series, Michael Meyers of the "Halloween" films, and Leatherface of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" series remain anonymous to all but the cognoscenti.) Though slight of build, Englund worked his dark magic with a deep voice and angular hawk-like features under mounds of makeup. The sharpness of his razor "fingers" is matched only by his ironic quips.
Englund began studying acting at age 12 in a children's theater program at California State University. He appeared in numerous children's plays before attending the American branch of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in Rochester, MI, by day and acting at the Meadowbrook Theater by night. His first big break was a role in the Cleveland company production of "Godspell" in 1972. Appearances in many other regional productions followed. In the early 70s Englund traveled to LA to audition for Terrence Malick's "Badlands," while he did not win the part, he did decided to stay in L.A. He made his feature debut in "Buster and Billie" (1974).
Englund became a successful character player in films ("Stay Hungry" 1975; "Big Wednesday" 1978) TV-movies and miniseries ("Young Joe, the Forgotten Kennedy" ABC, 1977; "North and South, Book II" ABC, 1986), and episodic TV. He had his first taste of cult celebrity playing Willie, a sympathetic alien visitor who joins the human resistance, in the three incarnations of "V" (1983 two-part NBC TV-movie; 1984 miniseries sequel; and subsequent 1984-85 series). This would all pale beside the success of Freddy Krueger. Englund reprised the character for five increasingly campy sequels and a syndicated TV anthology spin-off, "Freddy's Nightmares" (1988). He also worked with creator Wes Craven on "Nightmare Cafe" (NBC, 1992), a short-lived fantasy anthology series.
Englund recreated his most famous role for "Wes Craven's New Nightmare" (1994)--the unofficial and highly unconventional seventh film in the series--which postulated that Krueger was a genuine malevolent entity released into the "real" world after the demise of his movie franchise. Englund played both himself and a much meaner, tougher Freddy in this thoughtful and reflexive horror opus. The actor re-teamed with Craven for 1997's "Wishmaster" and subsequently appeared or cameoed in a long string of B thrillers and horror flicks, including "Urban Legend" (1998), "Strangeland" (1998), "Python" (2000) and "Windfall" (2001). In 1998 he also voiced an animated version of his most famous character, Freddy, as well as "Friday the 13th's" killer Jason Voorhees on an episode of "The Simpsons," paving the way for a big-screen smackdown between the two horror icons called "Freddy Vs. Jason" (2003), a surprisingly entertaining offshoot of two franchises in which Freddy invades Jason's dreamscape.
Director (Feature Film)
Cast (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Breakthrough stage role in Cleveland stage production of "Godspell"
Traveled to Los Angeles to audition for Terrence Malick's "Badlands"; failed to win the part but stayed in LA
Film debut, "Buster and Billie"
TV-movie debut, "Young Joe, the Forgotten Kennedy"
First part in a horror feature, "Eaten Alive" directed by Tobe Hooper
First played the role of Willie, a sympathetic alien visitor, on NBC's two-part sci-fi telefilm "V"
Reprised the role of Willie for the miniseries sequel "V: The Final Battle" (NBC)
Breakthrough film role of Freddy Krueger in "A Nightmare on Elm Street"
Reprised the role of Willie for "V: The Series"
Cast as Dennis, a series regular on the CBS detective show, "Downtown"
Reprised role of Freddy Krueger to host the syndicated horror anthology series, "Freddy's Nightmares"; also directed an episode entitled <i>Cabin Fever</i>
Feature directing debut, "976-EVIL"
Hosted the syndicated awards show, "The Horror Hall of Fame"
Hosted "Shadow Theater" a horror compilation and interview series on the USA Network
Starred in Wes Craven's supernatural quasi-anthology series, "Nightmare Cafe"
Returned as Freddy Krueger in "Wes Craven's New Nightmare"
Portrayed Bill Gartley in the horror feature "The Mangler"
Dropped the evil persona to play Father O'Neill in the sci-fi series "Starquest II"
Re-teamed with Wes Craven in the horror demon feature "Wishmaster"
Co-starred in the summer teen hit "Urban Legend"
Cast in the feature "Python"
Had Freddy Krueger character resurrected to fight Friday the 13th's Jason in "Freddy vs Jason"
Hosted "Nightmare on Elm Street: Real Nightmares," a CBS reality show, where viewers can confront their worst fears
Had a brief cameo in Scott Glosserman's "Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon"
Co-starred with Jenna Jameson in the comedy horror film, "Zombie Strippers"