As a child, Brian Steele knew only two speeds: full throttle and off. Perpetually hyperactive and adventurous, young Brian constantly pushed boundaries and tested the patience of his parents and teachers.
But Brian’s boundless energy and ambition had no direction, growing up in small-town Highland, Michigan. But soon a few local Detroit television programs changed all that. Brian discovered “Monster Week,” The Ghoul, and Sir Graves Ghastly – fright fest-y shows whose creature-characters he found fascinating.
Towering over classmates at an astounding 6’7″, Brian again found himself turning to onscreen icons for inspiration; watching over-the-top physical comedy by the Three Stooges and Laurel and Hardy helped him embrace his physical awkwardness.
But lacking an outlet for his energy or any focus on a career, Brian had no direction.
In 1985 he moved to the Florida Keys, hoping to discover his dreams there. But after two years working odd jobs like bagging groceries, working at a go-cart track, and on the docks at the local marina, Brian decided to move one more time. With only $700, a duffel bag full of clothes and a 10-speed bicycle, he bought a one-way ticket to Los Angeles.
Brian’s gamble paid off. L.A. loved him. Universal Studios Theme Park took one look at the awkward 24 year-old and knew exactly what to do with him; they hired him to perform as Frankenstein’s monster.
When Universal was searching for a man to don the suit for the television version of Harry and the Henderson’s, they didn’t have to look far. Brian was thrilled to be surrounded with cast mates who helped nurture his talents as an actor. Always patient and supportive with him as he became familiar with his new job responsibilities, the cast of HATH gave Brian the confidence to cultivate his craft.
48 episodes as Harry led to a role on NBC’s sci-fi series, Earth 2. Brian learned quickly about the niche in Hollywood for “creature actors.” Glued, painted, Velcro-ed, snapped and harnessed into bodysuits and masks, Brian made a name for himself as the man who could bring monsters to life.
Since 1997, he has played characters tailor made to scare audiences. That year, The Relic opened the door for Brian to work with Hollywood heavy-hitters. He breathed life into villains in the Underworld Trilogy and Blade: Trinity. He’s worked with acclaimed directors Guillermo Del Toro (both Hellboy films) and M. Night Shayamalan (Lady in the Water). He’s taken on creatures alongside Adrian Brody, Christian Bale and Tom Sizemore. The menacing bear Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin battle in The Edge? That’s Brian Steele.
After over 20 years breathing life into characters onscreen, keeping each character fresh and new is easier said than done. But Brian “enjoy(s) the challenge.” In 2009, he got the opportunity to portray the T-600, Terminator Salvation’s latest incarnation of the Terminator.
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