An intense, versatile actor as adept at playing clean-cut FBI agents as he is psychotic motorcycle-gang leaders, who can go from portraying soulless, murderous vampires to burned-out, world-weary homicide detectives, Lance Henriksen has starred in a variety of films that have allowed him to stretch his talents just about as far as an actor could possibly hope. He played “Awful Knoffel” in the TNT original movie Evel Knievel (2004), directed by John Badham and executive produced by Mel Gibson. Henriksen portrayed “Awful Knoffel” in this project based on the life of the famed daredevil, played by George Eads. Henriksen starred for three seasons (1996-1999) on Millennium (1996), Fox-TV’s critically acclaimed series created by Chris Carter (The X-Files (1993)). His performance as Frank Black, a retired FBI agent who has the ability to get inside the minds of killers, landed him three consecutive Golden Globe nominations for “Best Performance by a Lead Actor in a Drama Series” and a People’s Choice Award nomination for “Favorite New TV Male Star”.
Henriksen was born in New York City. His mother, Margueritte, was a waitress, dance instructor, and model. His father, James Marin Henriksen, who was from Tønsberg, Norway, was a boxer and merchant sailor. Henriksen studied at the Actors Studio and began his career off-Broadway in Eugene O’Neill’s “Three Plays of the Sea.” One of his first film appearances was as an FBI agent in Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon (1975), followed by parts in Lumet’s Network (1976) and Prince of the City (1981). He then appeared in Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) with Richard Dreyfuss and François Truffaut, Damien: Omen II (1978) and in Philip Kaufman’s The Right Stuff (1983), in which he played Mercury astronaut Capt. Wally Schirra.
James Cameron cast Henriksen in his first directorial effort, Piranha II: The Spawning (1981), then used him again in The Terminator (1984) and as the android Bishop in the sci-fi classic Aliens (1986). Sam Raimi cast Henriksen as an outrageously garbed gunfighter in his quirky western The Quick and the Dead (1995). Henriksen has also appeared in what has developed into a cult classic: Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark (1987), in which he plays the head of a clan of murderous redneck vampires. He was nominated for a Golden Satellite Award for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in the TNT original film The Day Lincoln Was Shot (1998).
In addition to his abilities as an actor, Henriksen is an accomplished painter and potter. His talent as a ceramist has enabled him to create some of the most unusual ceramic artworks available on the art market today. He resides in Southern California with his wife Jane and their five-year-old daughter Sage.
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