A prolific actor known to crank out up to six films a year, Jeff Fahey was pretty much hovering around "vaguely familiar-looking" status when he joined the cast of the hit "Lost" (ABC, 2004-10) in the fall of 2007. Fahey had enjoyed a few high-profile roles in the 1990s, starring in the creepy thriller "Lawnmower Man" (1992) and two seasons of the action drama "The Marshal" (ABC, 1992-94), but he had largely been content to be a working actor, appearing mostly in low-budget independent genre films for overseas and DVD distribution. A 2007 role in Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez' "Grindhouse" boosted the actor's reputation, and with news of his addition to the "Lost" cast, Fahey seemed ready to make the transition from B-lister to solid prime time player.
Jeffery Fahey was born on Nov. 29, 1956, the sixth child in a family that would grow to 13 children. He grew up in Olean and then Buffalo, NY, attending Father Baker High School. Fahey took off from his crowded house after graduating in 1972, spending a number of years trekking around the world doing odd jobs in places like Alaska, India, the Himalayas, and Israel, where he worked on a kibbutz. The born wanderer returned to Buffalo in his early twenties where he did some acting work with the Studio Arena Theatre before making the move to New York City. Impressed by a ballet performance he attended one night at the age of 25, he began taking lessons; eight months later the virtually untrained performer was given the opportunity to join the world renowned Joffrey Ballet. His three years with the ballet opened up doors for Fahey, who segued into chorus stage work and eventually speaking roles in stage productions. He performed in the musical "Brigadoon" at New York's Majestic Theater in 1980 and 1981; following it up with a U.S. tour of "Oklahoma" and runs in "West Side Story" in Paris and "Orphans" on the London Stage. A few weeks after returning to New York from London in 1982, Fahey landed a recurring role in the soap opera "One Life to Live" (ABC, 1968-2013), spending the next three years enjoying his new level of success. He did not abandon his love of the stage, however, beginning a production company and producing off-Broadway plays out of the George Raft Theater.
Fahey made an auspicious feature debut as off-balance, cold-blooded Deputy Tyree in Lawrence Kasdan's "Silverado" in 1985, followed with an Emmy-nominated performance in the live teleplay "The Execution of Raymond Graham" (ABC, 1985), starring as a convicted killer on death row. The well-toned actor with the unforgettable wolf-blue eyes then apparently lost all discretion and apparently took every job offered him in the next 20 years - his first misstep being a role as an itinerant rock singer who takes a temporary job at the Bates Motel in "Psycho III" (1986). Ten odd roles as boxers, NARCs, and private detectives followed before his next performance of note in 1990, when Clint Eastwood cast him as screenwriter Pete Verrill in "White Hunter, Black Heart" (1990), a fictionalized story revolving around the shooting of John Huston's "The African Queen."
Five films and two years later, Fahey starred as a slow-witted odd jobs man turned scientific guinea pig in "The Lawnmower Man" (1992), which aged into somewhat of a sci-fi cult film favorite. Eight films and two years later, Fahey collaborated again with Lawrence Kasdan, playing one of the principals in the legendary shoot-out at the OK Corral in the epic Western "Wyatt Earp" (1994).
In 1995, good friend Don Johnson gave Fahey a chance to shine when the producer cast him in "The Marshal," an action-packed weekly drama starring Fahey as unconventional U.S. Marshal Winston McBride. The show was fairly popular and tried to put a new spin on the genre, but it only remained on the prime time schedule for two seasons - after which Fahey returned to his tireless feature film schedule. He enjoyed the lead in the sensationally titled "Darkman III: Die Darkman Die" in 1996, before spending a solid decade appearing as detectives, sheriffs and other action-oriented figures in TV and direct to video titles like "Operation Delta Force" (1998), "Blind Heat" (2002), and "Ghost Rock" (2004), co-starring Gary Busey. The frequent gun-wielder occasionally showed a softer side in family films like "The Newcomer" (2000) and also made TV guest appearances on Johnson's series, "Nash Bridges" (CBS, 1996-2001) and "Crossing Jordan" (NBC, 2001-07).
Quentin Tarantino - known for his propensity to "re-discover" actors he had always liked - had apparently always admired Fahey's B-film work. Luckily for Fahey, the quirky director cast him in he and Robert Rodriguez' kitschy double-bill spectacle "Grindhouse" (2007). For his enjoyably explosive role in the critically-acclaimed film, Fahey found himself suddenly in demand - most obviously by an entertainment press curious about his reaction to being cast in a movie that essentially spoofed the kinds of films he had been making for 20 years.
Due in no small part to his new cool-by-proxy status post-Tarantino, Fahey was poised to jettison to the next level of fame when it was announced that he would join the cast of the immensely popular series "Lost," beginning in the fall of 2007. The drama about plane crash survivors on a tropical island had earned Emmy and Golden Globe awards and evolved into a pop culture phenomenon. Representatives for the show refrained from disclosing Fahey's character role prior to the season debut.
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Left home at age 17 to hitchhike to Alaska, then backpacked around Europe
Worked on a kibbutz in Israel and celebrated his 19th birthday in India
Appeared on Broadway in "Brigadoon"
TV acting debut as Gary Corelli on the daytime soap, "One Life To Live"
Debut in a TV-movie for which he also earned an Emmy nomination, "The Execution of Raymond Graham"
Feature debut, "Silverado" playing Deputy Tyree
Played an itinerant rock singer in "Psycho III"
Made London stage debut opposite Albert Finney in "Orphans"
Portrayed an arrogant boxer in "Split Decision"
First leading role in a feature, "Outback"
Debut in a TV miniseries, "Iran: Days of Crisis"
Played human guinea pig, Jobe Smith in "The Lawnmower Man" loosely based on the short story by Stephen King
TV series debut, played title character in "The Marshal" (ABC)
Cast in the Lawrence Kasdan western, "Wyatt Earp"
Starred as a senator who gets kidnapped by a milita group, while on board a train in "Hijack"
Joined the cast of NBC's "American Dreams" as a military operative who has dealings with Will Estes' JJ Pryor
Starred in "Planet Terror," Robert Rodriguez's half of the goretastic double feature "Grind House" a collaboration with Quentin Tarantino
Joined the fourth season of ABC's "Lost"
Appeared in the action thriller "Machete," directed by Ethan Maniquis and Robert Rodriguez