Eric (I) Roberts filmography and biography
Date of birth: 18 April 1956, Biloxi, Mississippi, USA
Eric (I) Roberts biography
One of Hollywood's edgier, more intriguing characters running around and
about for decades, Eric Anthony Roberts started life in Biloxi,
Mississippi, but grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. He began his acting
career at age 5 in a local theater company called the "Actors and
Writers Workshop", founded by his late father, Walter Roberts. After
his schooling at Grady High, he studied drama at age 17 in London for
two years at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, then returned to the
States and continued his studies at the American Academy in New York.
He made his NY stage debut in "Rebel Women" in 1976 at age 20 and
appeared in regional productions, once playing the newspaper boy in a
production of "A Streetcar Named Desire" starring
Shirley Knight (I) and Glenn Close.
After appearing in such daytime soaps as Another World and How to Survive a Marriage, his career began to shift fast forward when he copped a leading role in a major film. In King of the Gypsies, based on Peter Maas' best-seller about a fracturing dynasty of New York City gypsies, he made his debut alongside an intimidating roster of stars including Judd Hirsch, Susan Sarandon, Shelley Winters and Sterling Hayden. Young Eric held his own expertly (winning a Golden Globe nom) while his burning intensity and brooding charm marked sure signs of star potential. After this, he won the lead opposite 'Milo OShea in the 1980 stage production of "Mass Appeal". He suffered serious injuries in a car accident during his nascent film career but lost no fans by the time he returned to co-star with Sissy Spacek as a small-town stranger in Raggedy Man. It was, however, his stark and frightening portrayal of two-bit hustler "Paul Snider", the cast-off boyfriend who slays Playmate-turned-movie starlet Dorothy Stratten (played by Mariel Hemingway) in Star 80 that really put him on the movie map and earned him a second Golden Globe nomination. A wide range of fascinating, whacked-out roles were immediately offered to him on a silver plate. He played another dangerous streetwise hustler type in The Pope of Greenwich Village opposite fellow rebel Mickey Rourke; a cocky soda pop sales exec in the Australian comedy The Coca-Cola Kid; appeared with more charm and restraint opposite Rosanna Arquette in the offbeat romantic comedy Nobodys Fool and topped his prolific period off with an Academy Award nomination as a young prison escapee hiding out with Jon Voight aboard an out-of-control train in the ultra-violent, character-driven action adventure Runaway Train. Good things continued to happen when he was a replacement lead in the original run of "Burn This" and won a Theatre World Award for his 1988 Broadway debut.
A risky, no-holds-barred actor, he was often guilty of overacting if given half the chance. His film career began to slide in the late 1980s, appearing in more quantity than quality pictures. A series of missteps led to unheralded appearances in such bombs as the karate-themed Best of the Best; the NY urban thriller The Ambulance; the action western Blood Red, which took three years to release and is now solely remembered for being the only film Eric and superstar sister Julia Roberts (I) appeared in together; and Rude Awakening when he filled in as a burned-out hippie opposite a Chong-less Cheech Marin. More underappreciated "B" filming came with the 1990s (Freefall, Sensation, The Nature of the Beast, etc.), while also chewing the scenery with a number of mobster types in TV-movies, including one as "Al Capone". He soon began appearing as flashy secondary villains and creepies that showcased other stars instead, such as Final Analysis starring Richard Gere, Heavens Prisoners toplining Alec Baldwin, and The Dark Knight, part of the "Batman" series with Christian Bale and the late Heath Ledger.
Eric's undeniable, unconventional talent would occasionally mesh with the perfect role. At the Sundance Film Festival in 1996, he received critical applause for his starring role as a man dying of AIDS in the uplifting and emotional film Its My Party and earned more honors as a writer marked for murder in the mob-themed story La Cucaracha. He was also perfectly cast as one of the cold-blooded killers in the Emmy-nominated TV adaptation of Truman Capote's chiller In Cold Blood (1996) (TV). Eric continued to appear sporadically on TV in such dramatic series as Law amp; Order: Criminal Intent, while sometimes showing a fun side as well in comedy (The King of Queens). His own series work included Less Than Perfect and, more recently, and in the cult program "Heroes" (2006/II) where promise for a longer participation ended with his character's death.
Recovered from a long-standing cocaine problem, Eric wed, for the first time, actress/writer Eliza Roberts (nee Garrett). They have appeared in such films as Killer Weekend and Junior Pilot (2005) (V). His daughter from a former relationship, Emma Roberts (II), is a newly popular and fast-rising "tween" actress from the series Unfabulous and has played youthful supersleuth Nancy Drew on film. Eric's unpredictable, volatile nature which works so mesmerizing on screen has also led to troubling times off camera; his relationship with younger sis Julia Roberts (I) has been seriously strained for quite some time.
Eric (I) Roberts trivia
- Older brother of Julia Roberts (I) and Lisa Roberts Gillan.
- Before he became a movie star, he appeared in at least two soap operas. Another World and How to Survive a Marriage.
- (1981) He was seriously injured in a car accident and spent three days in a coma.
- Father of Emma Roberts (II), with Kelly Cunningham.
- Brother-in-law of Tony Gillan and Daniel Moder.
- Step-father of Keaton Simons and Morgan Simons
- Appeared with actor Clarence Williams III in Ja Rule music video "Down ass chick".
- Attended Grady High School in Atlanta, Georgia.
- His left hand ring finger is permanently disfigured, as a result of a 1980s car accident.
- In Doctor Who (1996) (TV), he became the fifth actor to portray the Master. The evil character had previously been played in the series Doctor Who by Roger Delgado from 1971 until 1973, Peter Pratt in 1976, Geoffrey Beevers in 1981 and Anthony Ainley from 1981 until 1989.
- Was chosen to act in Royal Kill when the Wrestling Choreographer, Ranjan Chhibber, a big "Doctor Who" fan, suggested to the director Roberts be hired because he loved his performance as "The Master" in the "Doctor Who" made-for-TV movie on Fox.
- Has a niece named Hazel Patricia Moder and nephew Phinnaeus Walter Moder.
- Some of Eric Roberts' boxing moves were once choreographed by actor Danny Trejo.
- Was listed as a potential nominee on the 2008 Razzie Award nominating ballot. He was suggested in the Worst Supporting Actor category for his performance in the film DOA: Dead or Alive, he failed to receive a nomination however.
- Made just one movie - Blood Red - with sister Julia Roberts (I).
- After Roger Delgado, Peter Pratt, Geoffrey Beevers, Anthony Ainley and Gordon Tipple, he is the sixth actor to play the Master, the Doctor's greatest enemy. He played the role in Doctor Who (1996) (TV). He was succeeded in the role by Sir Derek Jacobi and John Simm.
- As a child he was inspired to become an actor after watching 'Robert Donat''s performance in Goodbye, Mr. Chips.
- Was attached to co-star in Dolph Lundgren's Command Performance.
- Was trained in Tae Kwon Do and Jujitsu for a short time.
- To date he has filmed movies in over 17 countries (2010).
- Good friends with Stone Cold Steve Austin (IV).
- Lives in Sherman Oaks, California.
- Is a vegan.
- Son-in-law of David Rayfiel.
Eric (I) Roberts quotes
- I do like the idea of putting something comical into an intense drama, and being intense in absurd circumstances within a comedy.
- My life is going to kill me. We all get angry when we realize that. But the anger is fear.
- I've had people say to me, "It's such a shame what happened to your career." I just smile and say I've had a blast. I really have.
- I had a perfect track record up to Rude Awakening. Then the track record goes bumpy, then it goes bad and I'm ruining myself with B movies. I've done a lot of shit. But I have reinstated myself.