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John Malkovich's Biography

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Who is John Malkovich?

John Malkovich was born on 9 December 1953 in Christopher, Illinois.

His parents were journalists.

Malkovich studied at Illinois State University, where he switched from environmental studies to drama. In 1976 he co-founded in Chicago the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, an experimental company.

John Malkovich has proclaimed his preference for theatre work and its relative faithfulness to a writer's intentions. A sign of John Malkovich's regard for theatre was his donation, in April 2005, of money from men's clothes he had designed to the Royal Court Theatre in London.

In 1983 John Malkovich made his New York acting debut in a Steppenwolf production of Sam Shepard's True West that transferred to American Playhouse.

Malkovich received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for Places in the Heart (1984).

Other quality films followed including The Killing Fields (1984), The Glass Menagerie (1987), and Empire of the Sun (1987).

He had bought the rights to Accidental Tourist (1988) but let William Hurt play the lead. It didn't stop him from continuing with a variety of interesting roles including Dangerous Liaisons (1988), The Sheltering Sky (1990), Of Mice and Men (1992), and In the Line Of Fire (1993).

And on the list goes, as John Malkovich seems not only to have performed well, but often selected his roles well. Most interesting was the role he had, playing himself in Spike Jonze's stunning Being John Malkovich (1999).

John Malkovich made his film directorial debut with The Dancer Upstairs.

When he went on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, his choices were:


  • When the Leaves Come Falling Down (Van Morrison)
  • Rainy Day in Georgia performed by Brook Benton
  • Once Upon a Time by Frank Sinatra
  • Kentucky Avenue by Tom Waits
  • Accordion theme from soundtrack of The Dancer Upstairs performed by Albert Iglesias
  • Still DRE (Dr Dre)
  • Highway 29 (Bruce Springsteen)
  • Who knows where the time goes (Nina Simone), which was the record he would most want to take to the island
  • Book: The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  • Luxury: a cappuccino maker.

Recent John Malkovich films include Colour Me Kubrick, Klimt, Eragon, Drunkboat, Deepwater Horizon and 100 Years.

Malkovich was 59th in Channel 4's list of the 100 Greatest Movie Stars.

In March 2010, it was revealed that John Malkovich was to star in 2011 at the Barbican in London in a one-man play The Infernal Comedy about an Austrian psychopath.

On 3 April 2010, the BBC reported that John Malkovich's lawyers had filed a complaint over how much he was to receive from the bankruptcy of Bernie Madoff.

In 2010, John Malkovich was cast alongside Megan Fox and Josh Brolin in the film Jonah Hex.

In 2016 he made his debut as a director on the London stage with Zach Helm's play Good Canary.

In October 2016, John Malkovich won libel damages from Le Monde over an article published in February 2015 in which the newspaper had claimed he had held a secret Swiss bank account.

In 2018, John Malkovich played Grigor Andolov in Billions series 3.

In June 2018 the BBC announced that Malkovich would play Hercule Poirot in The ABC Murders.

In January 2019, it was reported that John Malkovich would star in a play Bitter Wheat, written and produced by David Mamet, inspired by the events surrounding Harvey Weinstein.

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