A tall, imposing character actor with a penetrating stare, Marshall Bell has provided excellent support in a variety of roles and genres. He was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on September 28, 1942, and had been working as a consultant, teaching senior executives how to improve their speaking skills, prior to starting an acting career relatively late in life. His connection was his wife, the veteran costume designer Milena Canonero, herself a winner of three Academy Awards and nominee for five more. He made his motion picture debut in the drama Birdy (1984), which was seen by enough people to effectively jump-start his career. One of his next few roles was one of his most infamous: the creepy Coach Schneider of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985). But the role that really got him noticed was as resistance leader George / Kuato in Total Recall (1990) (the role re-united him with Arnold Schwarzenegger, as he’d played a hit man in the comedy Twins (1988)). Other substantial film roles include a frightening homeless man terrorizing Bill Paxton in the movie The Vagrant (1992), Gordies’ emotionally distant father in Stand by Me (1986), and General Owen in the movie Starship Troopers (1997), re-uniting him with “Total Recall” director Paul Verhoeven. He’s done many TV series, including Good vs Evil (1999), Wiseguy (1987), The X-Files (1993), Tales from the Crypt (1989), Hill Street Blues (1981), House M.D. (2004), and Deadwood (2004). He’s also appeared in commercials and done voice-over work.
A solid, reliable actor with an authoritative presence, Bell is a natural for playing “tough guy” roles, although movies like Airheads (1994) show him to be able to play comedy equally well. He continues to add many credits to his resume, including the critically acclaimed Capote (2005), the prisoner of war drama Rescue Dawn (2006), and the family film Nancy Drew (2007).
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