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|Also Known As:||John Berkes,Johnnie Berkes,Johnny Berkes||Died:|
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This slim, blond journeyman character actor has been delivering good supporting performances in a staggering number of films since 1980, appearing in modern-day classics and other features of dubious distinction. The New Jersey native began acting at a local experimental theater as a child, then later studied with Uta Hagen and Lee Strasberg. His early stage work included "Days in a Can," "Early Dark" and "The Happy Hunter."
Berkeley made his big screen debut as the bitter, grown-up Christopher to Faye Dunaway's Joan Crawford in the camp classic "Mommie Dearest" (1981). By the mid-80s, the roles were coming fast and furious: he was Tom Hanks' roommate in "Volunteers" (1985), a drug dealer in Alex Cox's "Sid and Nancy" (1986) and a preacher in Cox's unwatchable "Straight to Hell" (1987). Berkeley has played supporting roles in scores of films since, the more notable of which include Cox's "Walker" (1987), "The Fabulous Baker Boys" (1989), "The Grifters" (1990), "For the Boys" (1991), James Cameron's smash hit "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" (also 1991), and "The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag" (1992).
By this time, Berkeley had a reputation for usually playing cops, shifty neighbors or small-time hoods; lead roles rarely came his way. He was the heroine's professor husband in Clive Barker's "Candyman" (1992), appeared in Rob Reiner's "A Few Good Men" (also 1992) and Ron Howard's "Apollo 13" (1995), was a wise-ass cabbie in "Leaving Las Vegas" (1995) and a corrupt police chief in "Barb Wire" (1996). One of his few leads was as the frustrated husband of a woman (Julianne Moore) seeking New Age healing in Todd Haynes' "Safe" (1995). The busy actor has continued with supporting roles in "Air Force One," alongside Harrison Ford as the President, and "Gattaca" (both 1997), opposite Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman.
On the small screen, Berkeley has appeared in a number of longforms, and has been a frequent guest performer on such series as "M*A*S*H*" "Moonlighting," and "The X-Files. He made his TV-movie debut in the comedy "Dr. Paradise" (CBS, 1988), and went on to appear in "Dillinger" (ABC, 1991), alongside Sissy Spacek in the HBO abortion dramas "A Private Matter" (1992) and "If These Walls Could Talk" (1996), "Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman" (HBO, 1993), the UFO drama "Roswell" (Showtime, 1994) and "Apollo 11" (The Family Channel, 1996), as astronaut Buzz Aldrin.
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