06-06 Happy birthday to Robert Englund, Born: June 6, 1947.
Robert Barton Englund is an American actor, voice-actor, singer, and director, best known for playing the character of infamous serial killer Freddy Krueger, in the Nightmare on Elm Street film series. He received a Saturn Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors in 1987 and A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master in 1988.
Englund was briefly considered for the part of Han Solo in the 1977 film Star Wars and told his close friend who was sleeping on his couch, Mark Hamill, to go audition for the role of young Luke Skywalker for which Hamill ultimately was cast. Englund wound up in the 1977 film Eaten Alive directed by Tobe Hooper. He then acted out Ranger in Galaxy of Terror, produced by Roger Corman, which was released in 1981. Since then, Englund has made over 100 appearances on film and television. His early film roles usually typed him as a nerd or a redneck, and he first gained attention in the role of Visitor technician and resistance fighter Willie in the 1983 miniseries V, as well as the 1984 sequel V: The Final Battle, and V: The Series, in which he was a regular cast member.
But after such typecasting, Englund went against type when he accepted the role of Freddy Krueger, the psychotic burn victim and child murderer in Wes Craven’s hugely successful A Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984. This role catapulted him to fame, and Englund became the first new horror movie star since Sir Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing in the 1960s.
His association with the genre led him to top-billed roles in The Phantom of the Opera (1989), The Mangler (1995) — another film directed by Tobe Hooper, and 2001 Maniacs (2005). He reprised his role as Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985), A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988),A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989), Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994) and Freddy vs. Jason (2003). However, New Line underestimated his importance to the franchise and originally cast someone else as Freddy in Freddy’s Revenge, the first sequel.
Englund is one of only two actors to act out a horror character eight consecutive times, the other being Doug Bradley, who portrayed the Pinhead character eight times in the Hellraiser film series. Englund has said that he enjoys the role of Freddy as it gives him a break from always acting out the nice guy; indeed, many people who have worked with Englund attest to his congeniality. Makeup artists responsible for the Krueger makeup have commented that Englund was so friendly and talkative that it made the lengthy makeup application slightly more challenging.
Englund’s TV appearances include starring in the short-lived series Nightmare Cafe (1992), in which he played Blackie, the mysterious proprietor of the title cafe, and reprising his role of “Freddy Krueger” or “Fred Krueger” in the series Freddy’s Nightmares. His guest roles include the science fiction series Babylon 5, one episode of the show MacGyver as Tim Wexler, Masters of Horror, MadTV, Sliders, and Knight Rider, where he appeared as a phantom haunting a film studio, and Walking Tall: The Series as well as a guest star spot on the hit TV show Walker, Texas Ranger. His work in voice-over animation includes magician Felix Faust in Justice League, The Riddler on The Batman, The Vulture on The Spectacular Spider-Man, and as Dormammu on The Super Hero Squad Show. On the TV witch drama Charmed (Episode: “Size Matters”), he appeared as a demon who used the services of a lackey to lure people into a decrepit household (where he lived in the walls) and shrank them down to action figure size. He also appeared on an episode of Married…With Children as The Devil. He appeared in one episode of the 2010 season of the television spy send-up Chuck, as a scientist who created a fear-inducing nerve toxin, a similar character to the Scarecrow, one of Batman’s enemies in the DC Comics.
Englund performed as host of the Horror Hall of Fame awards show three times from 1989-1991.
Englund made his directorial debut with the 1988 horror film 976-EVIL, co-written by future Oscar winner Brian Helgeland and starring Stephen Geoffreys. During production, Englund met set decorator Nancy Booth, who he would marry. His second feature, Killer Pad, was released direct-to-DVD in 2008. As of the beginning of July 2013, he was in pre-production to direct The Vij, about a young priest who is led by an evil genie to commit murder, and who falls in love with an old witch who is not what she seems.
His memoir, Hollywood Monster: A Walk Down Elm Street with the Man of Your Dreams, which Alan Goldsher transcribed from his dictations, was published by Pocket Books on October 13, 2009.
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