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Lance Henriksen

Henriksen at FACTS 2006 in Ghent, Belgium
Born Lance James Henriksen
May 5, 1940 (1940-05-05) (age 69)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1961 – present
Spouse(s) Jane Pollack (1995-present)

Lance James Henriksen (born May 5, 1940) is an American actor, and artist, best known to movie and TV audiences for his roles in science fiction, action and horror films such as The Terminator, and the Alien film franchise, and on TV shows such as Millennium.


Early life

Henriksen was born in Manhattan, New York City to a poor family. His father was a Norwegian merchant sailor and boxer nicknamed "Icewater" who spent most of his life at sea. Henriksen’s mother struggled to find work as a dance instructor, waitress, and model.[1][2] His parents divorced when he was only two years old and he was raised by his mother. As he grew up, Henriksen found himself in trouble at various schools and even saw the inside of a children's home. Henriksen left home and dropped out of school at the age of twelve; he would not learn to read until he was 30, when he taught himself by studying film scripts.[3] He spent most of his adolescence as a street urchin in New York. Riding on freight trains across the country, he would also do time in jail for petty crimes such as vagrancy. It was during this period of wayfaring that he met lifetime friends James Cameron and Bruce Kenselaar.


Henriksen's first job in the theater world was as a designer of theatrical sets; in fact, he received his first role because he built the set for the production. In his early 30s, Henriksen graduated from the prestigious Actors Studio and began acting in New York City.[4] In film, he first appeared in It Ain't Easy in 1972. Henriksen went on to portray a variety of supporting roles in noteworthy genre films such as Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and Damien: Omen II (1978). He also portrayed astronaut Walter Schirra in The Right Stuff (1983) and actor Charles Bronson in the 1991 TV-movie Reason for Living: The Jill Ireland Story.

Lance Henriksen as Charles Bishop Weyland in Alien vs. Predator (2004)

When James Cameron was writing the movie The Terminator (1984), he had originally envisioned Henriksen playing the title role.[5] Cameron went so far as to paint a picture of the Terminator using Henriksen's face.[6] Regardless, the role ultimately went to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Henriksen did appear in the film, albeit in the minor role of Detective Hal Vukovich. Henriksen is perhaps best known for portraying the android Bishop, an artificial life-form, in Aliens (1986, another Cameron film) and Alien 3 (1992). He would go on to play Charles Bishop Weyland, the man Bishop's appearance was based on, in Alien vs. Predator (2004).

Henriksen and Bill Paxton are the only two actors to appear in the Terminator, Alien, and Predator film series. In each series, Henriksen's characters are killed or nearly destroyed by the lead antagonist: shot by a Terminator in The Terminator, torn in half by an Alien Queen in Aliens, and stabbed by a Predator in AvP. Though Henriksen's character in Aliens, the android Bishop, does not immediately die from his dismemberment, he asks Ellen Ripley to deactivate him because of his injury during a brief appearance in the film's direct sequel, Alien 3. Bill Paxton's characters all meet similarly unfortunate ends in each of his appearances in these series, including injury and death as a result of conflict with the lead antagonists.

Hard Target (1993) is one of Henriksen's favorite films. He especially enjoyed working with director John Woo, saying "He let me do some real work as an actor. 'No' never came out of his mouth: it was always 'What could this be?'" He's one of the greatest directors ever: gentle, communicative and supportive. He caught everything that was important to me as an actor on film and oddly enough used the lot. The times I've seen my work and gone 'Jesus, they cut the behaviour, the motivation, the only reason I made the movie in the first place.' Not John. All my major scenes are intact." That film was also notable for a scene in which Henriksen was accidentally engulfed in flames, as a stunt double was not used, and this surprised most of the film crew who nonetheless let cameras roll and it became part of the final cut. Henriksen later remarked on this incident saying "My training makes me fight until the very last cell in my body collapses with exhaustion. I competed with Van Damme using tremendous will against his iron strength. I held my ground pretty well although I didn't really like him until we came to reshoot the ending to give it a higher octane finish." Reviewer Neil H. Jones stated that this film showed "Henriksen at his best. Henriksen's deep voice waxes eloquently to an unknowning [sic] victim of the hunt, Elijah Roper (Willie Carpenter): "Think of what this $10,000 can do for you (if you reach the river alive). You can have respect, you can restore yourself to dignity rather than the shadow of a man who used to be." Lance exudes confidence, intellect, and talent whether playing Beethoven on the piano or firing his Thompson-Contender handgun at Chance. His acting is so convincing, you would not want his steel-cold eyes to glance your way. If you like Lance, you'll love Hard Target."[7]

In 1995, Henriksen appeared alongside British actor Bruce Payne in Aurora: Operation Intercept. He would appear alongside Payne again in Face the Evil in 1997 and the dystopian classic Paranoia 1.0 in 2004. In 1996, Henriksen starred in the television series Millennium, created and produced by Chris Carter, the creator of The X-Files. Henriksen played Frank Black, a former FBI agent who possessed a unique ability to see into the minds of killers. Carter created the role specifically for the actor. Henriksen's performances on Millennium earned him critical acclaim, a People's Choice Award nomination for Favorite New Male TV Star, and three consecutive Golden Globe nominations for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Series (1997-1999). The series was cancelled in 1999. Henriksen's daughter, Alcamy, appears uncredited in an episode of Millennium. He later moved to the state of Hawaii with his wife Jane Pollack and their daughter Sage Ariel.

No less than three prominent franchise roles have been written specifically for Henriksen, though he would only star in one of them. James Cameron wrote The Terminator (1984) hoping Henriksen would play the title character. Chris Carter created Millennium (1996) specifically for Henriksen, then convinced him to become hero Frank Black. Lastly, Victor Salva wrote Jeepers Creepers (2001) with Henriksen in mind for the role of the Creeper.

On television, Henriksen appeared in the ensemble of Into the West (2005), a miniseries executive-produced by Steven Spielberg. He has also recently appeared in a Brazilian soap opera, Caminhos do Coração (Ways of the Heart) from Rede Record. It was announced in January 2009 that Henriksen would guest-star on an episode of NCIS playing a local sheriff.[8]

In the years after Millennium, Henriksen has become an active voice actor, lending his distinctive voice to a number of animated features and video game titles. In Disney's Tarzan (1999) and its direct-to-video midquel Henriksen is Kerchak, the ape who serves as Tarzan's surrogate father. He provided the voice for the alien supervillain Brainiac in Superman: Brainiac Attacks (2006). He voiced the character Mulciber in Godkiller for HALO 8 Entertainment in 2009. Henriksen is the voice of the character Molov in the video game Red Faction II (2002), which was developed by Volition, Inc. and published by THQ, and has also contributed to GUN (2005), Run Like Hell (2002), the canceled title Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (2004),[9] and BioWare's role-playing game Mass Effect (2007) as Admiral Hackett of the Human Systems Alliance. Henriksen was also the voice behind PlayStation 3's internet promotional videos. In 2005, Henriksen was the voice of Andrei Rublev in Cartoon Network's IGPX. Currently, the actor is lending his voice to the animated television series Transformers: Animated as the character Lockdown. Henriksen voiced lieutenant General Shepherd in the award-winning game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Karl Bishop Yutani in Aliens vs. Predator; also, this character's appearence resembles Henriksen's.

Henriksen also starred in a 2003 series of Australian television commercials for Visa, titled Unexplained (about the raining of fish from the sky[10] over Norfolk)[11] and Big Cats (about the Beast of Bodmin Moor).[12] In these commercials, Henriksen speaks as a Frank Black-type character about these phenomena as Mark Snow-inspired mysterious music plays in the background, as a link to Henriksen's former series, Millennium. Unexplained went on to a gold world medal at the 2004 New York Festivals.[13]

In addition to his television and voice acting work, Henriksen continues to be active in film. Henriksen made a cameo appearance in the 2009 horror comedy Jennifer's Body. He also stars in the After Dark Horrorfest film, Scream of the Banshee, to be released in 2010.[14] Henriksen will star in Frost Road, the directorial debut of video game director Keith Arem.[15]


  • Tarzan (1999) - voice of Kerchak
  • Scream 3 (2000) - John Milton
  • Lost Voyage (2001) (TV film) - David Shaw
  • The Mangler 2 (2001) - Headmaster Bradeen
  • Demons on Canvas (2001) - John Soltys
  • Unspeakable (2002) - Jack Pitchford
  • The Untold (2002) - Harlan Knowles
  • Antibody (2003) - Dr. Richard Gaynes
  • The Last Cowboy (2003) (TV film) - John William Cooper
  • Mimic: Sentinel (2003) - Garbageman
  • The Invitation (2003) - Roland Levy
  • Rapid Exchange (2003) - Newcastle
  • Dream Warrior (2003) - Parish
  • Out for Blood (2004) - Captain John Billings
  • Modigliani (2004) - Foster Kane
  • Madhouse (2004) - Dr. Franks
  • Evel Knievel (2004) (TV film) - 'Awful' Knoffel
  • Alien vs. Predator (2004) - Charles Bishop Weyland
  • Starkweather (2004) - The Mentor
  • Paranoia 1.0 (2004) (a.k.a. One Point O) - Howard
  • Into the West (2005) (TV mini-series) - Daniel Wheeler
  • Tarzan II (2005) - voice of Kerchak
  • A Message from Fallujah (2005) - Daniel Crane
  • Supernova (2005) (TV film) - Colonel Harlan Williams
  • Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005) - The Host
  • House at the End of the Drive (2006) - Skip Johansen
  • When a Stranger Calls (2006) - voice of the Stranger
  • The Garden (2006) - Ben Zachary
  • Abominable (2006) - Ziegler Dane
  • Sasquatch Mountain (2006) - Chase Jackson
  • The Da Vinci Treasure (2006) - Dr. John Coven
  • Superman: Brainiac Attacks (2006) - voice of Brainiac
  • Pirates of Treasure Island (2006) - Long John Silver
  • Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes (2006) (TV film) - Ed Harley
  • Pumpkinhead: Blood Feud (2007) (TV film) - Ed Harley
  • Bone Dry (2007) - Jimmy
  • My Cousin's Keeper (2007) - Finster
  • In The Spider's Web (2007) (TV film) - Dr. Lecorpus
  • The Chosen One (2007) - Cardinal Fred (voice)
  • Deadwater (2008) - Captain John Willets
  • Dying God (2008) - Chance
  • Dark Reel (2008) - Connor Pritchett
  • Appaloosa (2008) - Ring Shelton
  • Necessary Evil (2008) - Dr. Fibrian
  • Pistol Whipped (2008) - The Old Man (direct-to-video)
  • Prairie Fever (2008) - Monte James (direct-to-video)
  • Alone in the Dark II (2008) - Abner Lundbert (direct-to-video)
  • Ladies of the House (2008) (TV film) - Frank
  • Screamers: The Hunting (2009) - Orsow (direct-to-video)
  • The Slammin' Salmon (2009) - Dick Lobo
  • The Seamstress (2009) - Sheriff Virgil Logan
  • The Lost Tribe (2009) - Gallo
  • Jennifer's Body (2009) - Passing Motorist
  • The Genesis Code (2010) (forthcoming film) - Dr. Hoffer
  • Cyrus (2010) (forthcoming film) - Emmett
  • The Penitent Man (2010) (forthcoming film) - Mr. Darnell
  • Blood Shot (2010) (forthcoming film) - Sam
  • Wilderness (2010) (forthcoming film) - Russell Horton
  • Beautiful Wave (2010) (forthcoming film) - Jimmy
  • Godkiller (2010) (forthcoming film) - voice of Mulciber
  • Scream of the Banshee (2010)[16] (forthcoming film)


Video games

  • Run Like Hell (2002) - Nick Conner (voice)
  • Red Faction II (2002) - Molov (voice)
  • Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (2004) - Abaddon (voice)
  • Gun (2005) - Thomas MacGruder (voice)
  • Mass Effect (2007) - Admiral Steven Hackett (voice)
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena (2009) - Dacher (voice)
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009) - General Shepherd (voice)
  • Aliens vs. Predator (2010) - voice of Karl Bishop Weyland
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic (2011)[17]


  1. ^ Myatt, Sue (2004-02-06). "Short Early Biography of Lance Henriksen". Lance Henriksen Magic. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  2. ^ Lance Henriksen Biography (1940?-)
  3. ^ Myatt, Sue (2004-02-06). "The Web Magic Interview with Lance Henriksen: Frankly Speaking". Lance Henriksen Magic. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  4. ^ Myatt, Sue (2004-02-06). "The Web Magic Interview with Lance Henriksen: By Invitation Only". Lance Henriksen Magic. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  5. ^ Dalton, Ross (2001-10-10). "Boiling a Lance". Entertainment Weekly.,6115,178821_21. Retrieved 2006-12-01. 
  6. ^ Erickson, Hal. "Biography: Lance Henriksen". Allmovie. Retrieved 2006-12-01. 
  7. ^ "Lance's Films: Hard Target". 
  8. ^ "NCIS Exclusive: Lance Henriksen Cops Sheriff Role". 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  9. ^ Mirabella, Fran (2002-10-29). "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse". IGN. Retrieved 2006-12-01. 
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ First Image of Lance Henriksen in 'Scream of the Banshee'!
  15. ^ Video Game Director Keith Arem Heading to Frost Road
  16. ^ First Image of Lance Henriksen in 'Scream of the Banshee'!
  17. ^ "Star Wars: The Old Republic. Timeline 1: The Treaty of Coruscant". Retrieved 2009-03-28. 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Lance Henriksen (born 1940-05-05) is an American actor.


  • I always wanted to be an actor, even when I was a little kid. When I used to run away from home, I'd go to movies and sit all night watching Kirk Douglas. When I was 16, I tried getting into the Actors Studio and they told me to get lost. I said 'I'll come back when I'm a man,' and I came back when I was 30. I went to sea, I traveled the world ... I was waiting.
  • I won't do slasher movies, and I won't play child molesters or men who beat women. I can't rationalize Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th films because they're too one-note. And besides, I've been killed in so many movies in so many ways over the years that to be dealing out that kind of death would be terrible. I'll play a bad guy, but he has to be a character with a purpose.

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