Who Is Brendan Fraser?
Born in 1968 in Indiana, Brendan Fraser studied acting at Seattle's Cornish College of the Arts, and soon after landed leading roles in films like 1992's Encino Man and School Ties. Fraser reached star status with the lead role in 1999's The Mummy, which was hugely popular and led to two sequels. Always diverse, Fraser has also been involved in family adventure films and dramas.
Early Life and Career
Brendan James Fraser was born on December 3, 1968, in Indianapolis, Indiana. The youngest of four, he moved around frequently during his childhood. His father was a Canadian tourism executive, and he has dual American-Canadian citizenship. Relocating every few years for his father's job, Fraser first discovered theater while living in London. It was there that he started to attend shows.
In his early teens, Fraser began performing in Seattle, Washington. He worked with the Laughing Horse Summer Theater. After attending the Upper Canada College Preparatory School in Toronto, he returned to Seattle for college. Fraser continued to pursue his interest in acting at the Cornish College of the Arts. He caught his first break, landing a bit part in 1991's Dogfight. The movie, which was filmed in Seattle, stars Lili Taylor and River Phoenix. Soon after his Dogfight experience, Fraser's career started to take off.
Leading Film Actor
In 1992, Brendan Fraser starred in two films. First, he played a caveman who must cope with modern times after being thawed out in the comedy Encino Man. In School Ties, Fraser tackled a dramatic role as a Jewish athlete who hides his background from his boarding school peers; Ben Affleck and Matt Damon also appeared in the film.
More prominent film roles soon followed with varying results. The 1994 rocker comedy Airheads proved to be a critical and commercial disappointment. But he enjoyed box office success with the cartoon-based George of the Jungle in 1997. The following year, Fraser won kudos for his performance in Gods and Monsters, with Ian McKellen. He took on another cartoon-inspired role for 1999's Dudley Do-Right, which fell flat at the box office.
That same year, Fraser also launched a hugely popular family adventure series with The Mummy, one of the biggest films of the time. Fraser appeared in two more blockbuster films, The Mummy Returns (2001) and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008).
While his cartoon comedy Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003) was lackluster, Fraser had some success as a dramatic actor around this time. He gave a stellar performance in the 2002 film adaptation of the Graham Greene novel The Quiet American, with Michael Caine. Two years later, Fraser had a well-received supporting role in Crash.
Fraser enjoyed another box office triumph with 2008's Journey to the Center of the Earth. Based on the Jules Verne novel, this adventure tale raked in more than $100 million in its initial release.
In 2010, Fraser made his Broadway debut in the comedy Elling. Unfortunately, the show only lasted a short time because of poor reviews and weak ticket sales. Fraser had signed up for a film about William Tell, but he ended up in a legal dispute with the filmmakers over production delays. He also dropped out of a television pilot for a series over creative differences in 2012.
After that professional rough patch, Fraser took on several projects, including the 2013 drama Gimme Shelter, with Vanessa Hudgens. The same year he also starred in the quirky comedy HairBrained and the action drama Breakout, both of which received tepid box-office returns.
In 2015, Fraser appeared in the History Channel's miniseries Texas Rising, marking a successful turn to the small screen for prominent roles. He then surfaced in Season 3 of The Affair, as the possibly imaginary prison guard John Gunther, and in 2018 was set to play James Fletcher Chace, an ex-CIA operative hired to find the kidnapped grandson of billionaire J. Paul Getty in Trust.
Fraser married actress Afton Smith in 1998. They had three sons together, Griffin, Holden and Leland, before divorcing in 2007. In 2013, Fraser made headlines when he sought to reduce the amount of support he paid to Smith. The actor claimed that he no longer had the income to keep up with the annual total of $900,000 in payments to her, leading to a legal battle over finances.
In 2018, Fraser was back in the news with the allegation that he had once been groped by Philip Berk, former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, an incident that left him shaken and affected the trajectory of his career. Berk referred to Fraser's account as "total fabrication," though he previously mentioned in a memoir that he had pinched the actor "in jest."
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