Brian Earl Thompson was born on August 28, 1959 in Ellensburg, Washington. Raised on the Columbia River in Longview, he learned the value of academics and athletics, as the son of two teachers and the second of six siblings. His interest in acting was first sparked during his senior year of high school with the role of the Russian ballet instructor, Boris Kolenkhov, in the comedy “You Can’t Take it With You”. Under the pretense of attending Central Washington University to play football and study business management, he quietly auditioned for every available play, treading the boards for a dozen school productions, from musicals and operas to the more lighthearted fare of Neil Simon.
Earning a scholarship to the University of California-Irvine, he sailed through a three-year Master of Fine Arts program, learning from such theatrical luminaries as playwright Edward Albee, Robert Cohen and Jerzy Grotoswski, and supplementing his education through work with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. He began to audition theatrically before graduation, and by that time, he had his SAG card, an agent and five professional credits, including James Cameron’s The Terminator (1984), where he and Bill Paxton’s clothes were forcibly removed by a naked Arnold Schwarzenegger. About a year after Arnold took Brian’s clothes, Sylvester Stallone wanted a hack at Brian as well. After seven auditions and a screen test, Brian earned the right to get impaled on a meat hook, then burned alive, Stallone’s Cobra (1986). This began a string of credits that has left Thompson in and around some of Hollywood’s biggest and most projects.
Brian has tackled two superhero roles as well: first, Conan the Librarian (1999), starring red in the title role, a PBS special to encourage kids to read. He also earned critical acclaim playing the larger-than-life role of Hercules in Jason and the Argonauts (2000). Probably the first role that demanded use of his classical background as well as his 6′ 3″ muscled frame. Brian says that no gym can claim him as a member, and that his physique is kept honed by years of windsurfing and kitesurfing. Taking a curiously “musical” approach to his craft, the actor continually seeks fresh rhythms for each new role. Brian verifies his well-rounded nature with a resume that lists such special skills as martial arts (black belt Hapkido), piano and sushi rolling. He currently resides at home with his son Jordan and daughter Daphne.
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