- 22 July 1955
- Appleton, Wisconsin, USA
Willem Dafoe was born in Appleton, Wisconsin, to Muriel Isabel (Sprissler), a nurse, and Dr. William Alfred Dafoe, a surgeon. He is of German, French, English, Irish, and Scottish descent. In 1979, Dafoe was given a small role in Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate (1980) from which he was fired. His first feature role came shortly after in Kathryn Bigelow's The Loveless (1981). From there, he went on to perform in over 80 films - in Hollywood (John Carter (2012), Spider-Man (2002), The English Patient (1996), Finding Nemo (2003), Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003), Clear and Present Danger (1994), White Sands (1992), Mississippi Burning (1988), Streets of Fire (1984), American Dreamz (2006)) and in independent cinema in the U.S. (L'enlèvement (2004), Animal Factory (2000), The Boondock Saints (1999), American Psycho (2000)) and abroad (Theo Angelopoulos' La poussière du temps (2008), Yim Ho's Pavillon de femmes (2001), Yurek Bogayevicz's Edges of the Lord (2001), Wim Wenders' Faraway (2011), So Close (2009), Nobuhiro Suwa's segment of Paris, je t'aime (2006), Brian Gilbert's Tom & Viv (1994), Christian Carion's Farewell (2001), _Mr. Bean's Holiday and The Spierig Brothers' Daybreakers_, Daniel Nettheim's The Hunter (2011)). He has chosen projects for diversity of roles and opportunities to work with strong directors. He has worked in the films of Wes Anderson (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)), Martin Scorsese (Aviator (2004), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)), Spike Lee (Inside Man (2006)), Julian Schnabel (Miral (2010), Basquiat (1996)), Paul Schrader (Auto Focus (2002), Affliction (1997), Light Sleeper (1992), The Walker (2007), Adam Resurrected (2008)), David Cronenberg (eXistenZ (1999)), Abel Ferrara (4:44 Last Day on Earth (2011), Go Go Tales (2007), New Rose Hotel (1998)), David Lynch (Wild at Heart (1990)), William Friedkin (To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)), Werner Herzog (My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (2009), Oliver Stone (Born on the Fourth of July (1989), Platoon (1986)), Giada Colagrande (A Woman (2010) and Before It Had a Name (2005)) and Lars von Trier (Antichrist (2009) and Manderlay (2005)). He was nominated twice for the Academy Award (Platoon (1986) and Shadow of the Vampire (2000)) and once for the Golden Globe. Among other nominations and awards, he received an LA Film Critics Award and an Independent Spirit Award. Upcoming films include Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), Anton Corbjin's A Most Wanted Man (2014), Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac - Volume 1 (2013), Scott Cooper's Out of the Furnace (2013), Josh Boone's The Fault In Our Stars (2014)_, David Leitch and Chad Stahelski's John Wick (2014)_, and Chris Brinker's Bad Country (2014). Dafoe is one of the founding members of The Wooster Group, the New York based experimental theatre collective. He created and performed in all of the group's work from 1977 thru 2005, both in the U.S. and internationally. Since then, he worked with Richard Foreman in Idiot Savant at The Public Theatre (NYC) and most recently the international productions of Robert Wilson's The Life & Death of Marina Abramovic abroad and Robert Wilson's The Old Woman with Mikhail Baryshnikov.