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During the 1980s, Christian Slater emerged as one of film’s leading young actors. He also became somewhat notorious for his life off-screen.
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Actor. Born Christian Michael Leonard Slater on August 18, 1969, in New York, New York. During the 1980s, Christian Slater emerged as one of film’s leading young actors. He also became somewhat notorious for his life off-screen as well. The son of an actor and a casting director, Slater landed his first acting job as a child, appearing on the soap opera One Life to Live.
In 1980, Slater made his Broadway debut in a revival of The Music Man starring Dick Van Dyke. Several more stage roles soon followed in such musical productions as Copperfield (1981) and Merlin (1983). In 1985, he made his film debut in The Legend of Billy Jean at the age of 15. Slater soon found himself earning strong marks for his supporting role opposite veteran performer Sean Connery in 1986’s historical thriller The Name of the Rose about a series of murders in a monastery.
A short time later, Slater had his first leading part in the action mystery Gleaming the Cube (1989), playing a skateboarding teen who investigates his brother’s death. That same year, his remarkable turn in the dark hit comedy Heathers (1989) with Winona Rider helped make Slater a star. He played a rebellious teen who romances Ryder’s character and undermines their high school’s social hierarchy—dominated by several girls named Heather—through evil means. In this role, Slater drew comparisons to Jack Nicholson from some critics.
Off screen, Slater got in trouble with the law that December. He was arrested for drunk driving after leading the police on a high-speed chase, which ended when he crashed his car into two telephone poles. It was his second arrest for this offense, and Slater was later sentenced to 10 days in jail.
The following year, Slater starred in Pump Up the Volume (1990) as a pirate radio station operator. He earned positive reviews for his performance, and his growing female fan base helped boost the film's success at the box office. He also appeared in the western Young Guns II (1990) with Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, and Lou Diamond Phillips that same year.
Playing a young version of notorious crime boss Lucky Luciano, Slater starred in Mobsters (1991) with Richard Grieco and Patrick Dempsey, which received mixed reviews. He went on to a supporting role in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), starring Kevin Costner as the legendary rebel. The film proved to be another critical and box office dud for Slater.
A longtime Star Trek fan, Slater was delighted to have a small role in 1991’s Star Trek IV: The Undiscovered Country (1991). His career as a leading man received a boost from his offbeat role in the romantic dramedy Untamed Heart (1993) opposite Marisa Tomei.
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