In the acting circles, there are perhaps very few people who have lived a professional career as diverse and as illustrious as that of Bruce MacLeish Dern. Born on the 4th of June 1986, it is considered that Bruce Dern was born into one of the most unique Scottish German families. Bruce Dern's mother Jean nee MacLeish was of Scottish descent and was the granddaughter of Archibald MacLeish, a well known Scottish poet. His father on the other hand was John Dern, son of a Secretary of War. Dern attended New Trier Township High at east Winnekota, Illinois. In his early years, he also displayed proficiency on the race circuit as a long distance runner.
Bruce Dern had begun his acting career with Lyle Kessler in the production of Waiting for Godot and had also made some unaccredited appearances in the TV series Wild River. The 1960s was a very prominent period of Dern’s life. Not only had he appeared in numerous TV shows such as in Route 66 and Naked City, he had also committed in his second marriage to Diane Ladd. The name of his first wife was Marie Dean with whom he had shared an extremely short married life.
In 1964, Dern also landed with the opportunity to work with the renowned director, Alfred Hitchcock in the psychological thriller named Marnie. This could very well be considered to be the point of his career when he had decided on the type of role that brought out the best of his acting abilities.
As his fans are very well aware of, he was infamous for the rest of his acting career for playing the notorious villains. His choice of villains was set apart by the fact that he always played those characters that seemed to suffer from psychiatric issues. It seemed that Bruce Dern was inbred with the ability to don a personality that not only aroused the audience’s emotions but also sometimes received more accolade than the actual heroes of the movie.
Such can be deduced from his character Will Penny in the 1968 thriller Psychout. In that same year he also accepted the role as a villain opposite to the legendary Clive Eastwood in the action thriller Hang them High.
In 1969 he got divorced from Dianne Ladd with whom he had two daughters. His eldest daughter drowned in a tragic accident while being only 18 months of age. His second daughter was born in 1967 and was christened Laura Dern. He remarried the same year to Andrea Beckett.
In 1972 he starred in The Cowboys where he once again displayed his daring by playing the wildly unpopular role of the killer of John Wayne.
He also appeared in the sci-fi movie Silent Running where he portrayed the character of Freeman Lowell, the guardian of Earth’s last forests.
Bruce Dern's somewhat lavish ancestry enabled him to play the role of millionaire Ton Buchanan in the 1974 remake of The Great Gatsby. The movie was directed by F Scotts Fitzgerald and he was most probably appointed for the role because of his brilliant performance as Jack Nicholson’s brother in The King of the Marvin Garden. In fact the top critics at that time had argued that Dern might have done a better job than Robert Redford who had the main role in the movie!
In 1977 Bruce Dern played a vital role in the psychology thriller Black Sunday. He also had the opportunity to work on Family Plot, the last movie ever directed by Alfred Hitchcock as a result of his deteriorating health.
In late 2001 Bruce Dern was awarded a star on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame along with his wife and daughter. In the preceding year he received the Legends Award at the Gold Coast International Film Festival. This just goes to show how well respected the 75 year old actor is in his community.
For more information regarding his life’s work and activities, you can visit http://www.allrovi.com/name/p18703.