Who Is Alec Baldwin?
Alec Baldwin's career started in 1980 when he was cast in the daytime soap opera The Doctors, followed by a role in the primetime soap Knot's Landing from 1984 to 1985. In 1986, he made his Broadway debut in Joe Orton's Loot, and he made his film debut a year later in Forever Lulu. Over the years, Baldwin has shown his versatility as an actor in films including Beetlejuice, Working Girl, The Hunt for Red October, The Cooler, The Departed and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. He received two Emmy Awards and three Golden Globes for his role as TV exec Jack Donaghy in the sitcom 30 Rock and holds the record for most times hosting Saturday Night Live.
Early Life and Famous Brothers
Baldwin was born Alexander Rae Baldwin III on April 3, 1958, in Amityville, New York, the second of six children. He grew up in Massapequa, a suburb on Long Island, New York. His brothers, Daniel, William and Stephen, also became actors.
Baldwin majored in political science at George Washington University, intending to go to law school. However, his childhood love for acting resurfaced in college, resulting in a move to Manhattan to enroll in New York University's drama department, where he studied at the Lee Strasberg Institute.
One of Baldwin's early jobs was working as a bus boy at the legendary nightclub Studio 54 in New York City.
Movies and TV Shows
'The Doctors,' 'Knots Landing'
Baldwin began his acting career on television when he landed a role playing Billy Aldrich on the NBC soap opera The Doctors (1980-1982). He soon moved to primetime TV as a co-star in the series Cutter to Houston, and as Joshua Rush in the nighttime soap opera Knots Landing (1984-85). In 1988, he replaced George Carlin as the narrator of the popular animated children's show Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends.
He also pursued a stage career, making his Broadway debut in Joe Orton's black comedy Loot (1986), which won him a Theatre World Award. His next stage role was in Caryl Churchill's hit comedy Serious Money (1987). He also starred off-Broadway in a sold-out engagement of Prelude to a Kiss, receiving an Obie Award as Best Actor in 1991. He would reprise this role on screen in 1992.
Baldwin then appeared as Stanley Kowalski in a revival of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire (1992), earning a Tony nomination for Best Actor. He later appeared in the 1995 version of the play on CBS, which co-starred Jessica Lange, John Goodman and Diane Lane. In 1998, Baldwin went back to the stage, appearing in Shakespeare's Hamlet with co-star Angela Bassett, at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in New York City.
'Beetlejuice,' The Hunt for Red October' and 'Glengarry Glen Ross'
Baldwin made his film debut in the quirky Forever Lulu (1987) with Deborah Harry and Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Subsequent film highlights include Tim Burton's offbeat comedy Beetlejuice (1988), Jonathan Demme's Married to the Mob (1988) with Michelle Pfeiffer, Oliver Stone's Talk Radio (1988), Mike Nichols' Working Girl (1988), playing Jimmy Swaggart in Great Balls of Fire (1989) and starring in Miami Blues (1990) and The Hunt For Red October (1990). He was also part of the all-star ensemble cast in David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) and starred in the film adaptation of Prelude to a Kiss (1992) and The Shadow (1994).
'The Cooler,' 'The Aviator' and 'The Departed'
Continuing his film work, Baldwin appeared in the 1998 thriller Mercury Rising and the 1999 comedy Outside Providence, before making an unbilled cameo in 1999's Notting Hill, with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2003 for his role in the romantic drama The Cooler. In 2004, he appeared in The Aviator, Martin Scorsese's Howard Hughes biopic starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and the quirky Along Came Polly with Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston. He worked with Scorsese again on The Departed in 2005.
In 2006, Baldwin landed a starring role as TV executive Jack Donaghy in the popular television sitcom 30 Rock, co-starring Tina Fey. He received numerous awards for his work in the sitcom, including three Golden Globes, three Screen Actors Guild Awards and two Emmy Awards. Baldwin also worked behind the cameras as a producer on 30 Rock.
'Mission Impossible,' Boss Baby' and 'The Public'
Back on the big screen, Baldwin appeared in the romantic comedy It's Complicated with Meryl Streep and Steve Martin in 2009 and Rock of Ages with Tom Cruise and Catherine Zeta-Jones in 2012. He then co-starred in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation in 2015, before reprising his role three years later for Mission Impossible — Fallout.
With his distinctive, deep voice, Baldwin has provided voice work for documentaries and animated films, including Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008) and Rise of the Guardians (2012). He also voiced the titular infant businessman of the animated Boss Baby (2017) and a polar bear in Arctic Dogs (2019).
Around that time, the actor enjoyed a prominent role in the ensemble drama The Public, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2018, before appearing in the crime film Motherless Brooklyn and the comedies Before You Know It and Drunk Parents in 2019.
Talk Show Host and 'Saturday Night Live'
Baldwin tried his hand at being a talk show host in the fall of 2013, but it proved to be a short-lived venture. Up Late with Alec Baldwin aired only a few times before its host landed in hot water. The show was suspended after Baldwin made homophobic remarks to a New York photographer, and he soon parted ways with MSNBC. He later returned to hosting in 2018 with The Alec Baldwin Show.
A fan of classical music, Baldwin serves as host of the New York Philharmonic's radio show. He also has hosted Saturday Night Live a record 17 times and performed a popular impersonation of President Donald Trump on the show, for which he earned another Emmy in 2017.
Marriages and Children
Baldwin married actress Kim Basinger in 1993 and the couple has one daughter, Ireland Eliesse. In January 2001, after seven years of marriage, Basinger filed for divorce. Following their split, there were allegations of abuse and alcoholism, and a vicious custody battle over the couple's daughter.
In their 2004 divorce trial, Baldwin was awarded joint legal custody of his daughter. In May 2007, however, the courts briefly revoked his visitation rights when his 11-year-old daughter publicized an expletive-strewn phone message he left her in April of that year.
Baldwin began a relationship with yoga instructor Hilaria Thomas in August 2011. The couple got engaged the following April and were married on July 1, 2012, at New York City's St. Patrick's Old Cathedral. Their guests included Jimmy Fallon, Lorne Michaels, Fey and Woody Allen. The couple had their first child together, daughter Carmen, in August 2013. They went on to have four sons: Rafael (b. June 2015), Leonardo (b. September 2016), Romeo (b. May 2018) and Eduardo (b. September 2020). In February 2021, Thomas posted on her Instagram that they welcomed daughter, Lucia.
Books and Other Endeavors
In 2008, Baldwin published the book A Promise to Ourselves, which documented his battle to retain custody and visitation for his daughter. In the book, he revealed that he had spent millions in travel, bought a home close to Basinger, and taken a break in his career in order to be near his daughter. He said that, as a result, his frustration leaked into a court-appointed phone call to his daughter, which she didn't answer. In 2009, he told Playboy magazine that he had contemplated suicide over the voicemail incident.
In 2017, prior to the release of his memoir Nevertheless, Baldwin gave an interview to Good Morning America anchor George Stephanopoulos, in which he discussed his struggles with alcoholism, a drug overdose which he kept private for many years and getting sober in 1985. “I got sober when I was just about to turn 27,” Baldwin said in the interview. “And those two years that I lived in that white, hot period, as a daily drug abuser, as a daily drinker ... to my misery, boy, that was a tough time.”
Baldwin is an outspoken activist for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and has been a contributor to community theater organizations, including the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, New York, and the now-defunct Circle Repertory Theatre in New York City. Baldwin is also on the board of directors of The Creative Coalition, People for the American Way, New York City Center and The Drama League of New York.
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