Actor Profile: Brad Dourif – By Nichele Johnston

Birth name: Bradford Claude Dourif

Date of birth: March 18, 1950

Location: Huntington, WV

You know you’ve seen him before. He has those ice blue eyes that seem to be able to peer into the darkest regions of your soul. The mop of curly hair that always looks like it needs to be combed. The slight southern drawl that hasn’t gone away after all these years. He can go from being charming one minute to looking like he’s going to snap and slaughter his co-stars the next. He’s Brad Dourif, a man with talent, but Hollywood doesn’t seem to know what to do with him.

A character actor if there ever was one, Brad Dourif got his start on stage in New York City. He was spotted by Milos Forman, who cast the young Dourif as the stuttering mental patient in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Dourif earned acclaim and an Oscar nomination for the role. However, mainstream success was to elude him. He ended up typecast in idiosyncratic, offbeat, psycho roles for most of his career. Being attached to mega-budget disasters such as Heaven’s Gate and Dune didn’t help, either. But he has occasionally broken out of the mold with supporting roles in Mississippi Burning, Hidden Agenda and Murder in the First.

In 1988, Dourif landed what is probably his best know role–the voice of Chucky the homicidal doll in the film Child’s Play. Brad himself can be seen briefly in the beginning of the film as Charles Lee Ray, a notorious serial killer who transfers his dying soul into a children’s toy until he can find a substitute body. He chooses a six-year-old (maybe I’m weird but wouldn’t a grown-up be a better choice?) named Andy and the fun begins. The film has spawned 3 sequels with another on the way and many godawful rip-offs. Dourif is the only actor to appear in all the films.

In 2001, the Bradmeister landed another strange and interesting role—the villain (gosh, how did I know that?) in the Myst III video game. Dourif had actually played the first two games, but didn’t like the second because he thought the puzzles where way too complex. After the makers assured him that Myst III would be more like the first game he took the part, much to the delight of some of his friends. He has also lent his voice to the video game Run Like Hell. I don’t know what his friends thought of that one.

Aside from acting, Dourif enjoys playing the didgeridoo, a long wooden Australian instrument (don’t even ask me how he got interested in that). Brad can be heard playing the instrument on The Deviants album “Eating Jell-O with a Heated Fork.” He’s also an apparent Toto fan as he appears in their video for “Stranger in Town.” If you don’t know who Toto is, don’t worry about it. I’m sure 97% of the people you meet won’t know who they are either.

Lately, Dourif’s career seems to be on the upswing. Heaven knows he deserves more recognition. He snagged the role of Grima Wormtongue in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (supposedly beating out fellow weirdo actor Jeffrey Combs for the part). He can also be seen on the HBO series Deadwood as Doc Cochran, one of the few nice guys around.

Dourif’s film roles also include The Eyes of Laura Mars, Wise Blood, Ragtime, Blue Velvet, Child’s Play, Exorcist III, Jungle Fever, Alien: Resurrection, and Urban Legend.

Dourif’s television appearances include Miami Vice, The X-Files, Millennium, Star Trek: Voyager, and Babylon 5.