“I come from the theater. I’ve been in the theater since I was 15 and the first thing I ever did was Shakespeare. I’m a theater person. That’s what I’ve spent my whole life doing. For a while I intersected, doing this downtown loft scene in the late 1970s. That’s why people call me a performance artist. It doesn’t really make sense. It’s a form of theater just like the one-person performance shows off-Broadway and on-Broadway so that’s where all my shows have been is off-Broadway so I think of myself as an actor and a writer. You can call me a monologist if you want, if you need like a pigeon hole to put me in, but there’s a problem with all of these terms. Personally I think of a comedian as someone who gets up there and cracks jokes. And I think of a performance artist as someone who gets up there and cracks eggs on their head. It’s meant to be kind of bizarre. What I do rehearse is done in the theater and it’s done with an audience, but it’s funny you know? But if you say I’m a monologist it sounds even more boring, like you’ve got to go to school or something. It’s one of those things.” Eric Bogosian (on describing himself)
American actor, monologist and playwright Eric Bogosian is best known as the writer and star of the hit Off-Broadway show “Talk Radio” (1987) and the 1988 movie version of the same name, which was directed by Oliver Stone. For his brilliant effort, he became a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and won a Berlin International Film Festival Award, a Chicago Film Critics Association Award and an Independent Spirit nomination. After twenty years, in March 2007, the play was developed into a Broadway production with Tony Award winning actor Liev Schreiber playing the lead and Tony Award winner Robert Falls directing. As a monologist, Bogosian picked up Obie Awards for his work in “Drinking in America” (1986), “Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll” (1990) and “Pounding Nails in the Floor with My Forehead” (1994). He also penned and/or starred in other critically acclaimed solo shows like “FunHouse” (1983) and “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee” (2000, adapted into a movie in 2001) and the full length plays “subUrbia” (1994, adapted into a movie in 1996) and “Humpty Dumpty” (2004).
In addition to his praised performance in “Talk Radio” (1988), Bogosian has also acted in several other movies, including “Dolores Claiborne” (1995), “Under Siege 2: Dark Territory” (1995), “Deconstructing Harry” (1997), “Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle” (2003), “Wonderland” (2003), “Blade: Trinity” (2004) and “Cadillac Records” (2008). On the small screen, Bogosian is known to TV viewers as Captain Daniel Ross in the mystery series “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” a role he played from 2006 to 2008. He also acted in TV films such as “Last Flight Out” (NBC, 1990), “Witch Hunt” (HBO, 1994) and “A Bright Shining Lie“ (HBO, 1998) and guest starred in TV shows like “Miami Vice” (1985) and “Scrubs” (2003).
Currently, Bogosian resides in New York with his wife of nearly three decades, Jo Anne Bonney, and their two children.
Childhood and Family:
Eric Bogosian was born on April 24, 1953, in Woburn, Massachusetts, to Henry Bogosian, an accountant, and Edwina Bogosian, an instructor and hairstylist. He attended the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, but left school and moved back to Woburn. He then sold jeans at The Gap. After earning a degree from Oberlin College in Ohio, he relocated to New York City to launch a career in theater.
On October 10, 1980, Eric married Jo Anne Bonney. They have two children.
“I'm pretty much a saint with my kids and it's very sweet when I'm holding my two year old in my arms and I'm nuzzling his fat little cheek.” Eric Bogosian
L&O: Criminal Intent
Eric Bogosian appeared in a number of high school plays, which were written and directed by his classmates, future producer Fred Zollo and future Massachusetts congressman Nick Paleologus. After a stint at Oberlin College, he decided to become a theater actor.
Once in Manhattan, Bogosian landed a job as a gofer at the Chelsea Westside Theatre and then worked as a telephone operator at the downtown arts center The Kitchen. In 1977, he made his off-Broadway debut with a one-man show called “Careful Moment.” Two years later, while leading the dance program at The Kitchen, he created the persona of Ricky Paul, a racist and prejudiced stand-up comedian, and performed at the Mudd Club and Tier 3.
After “Men in Dark Times” and “Scenes from the New World,” Bogosian wrote “Sheer Heaven” in 1980 and “Men Inside” and “The New World” the following year. 1981 also saw him appear in the one man plays “Men Inside” and “Voices of America” at the New York Shakespeare Festival's Public Theater. He began his screen career the next year when he got a small part in the Lizzie Borden-directed “Born in Flames.” In his second film, “Special Effects” (1984), a thriller directed and written by Larry Cohen, he was cast in the lead role of Christopher 'Chris' Neville, opposite Zoe Lund as Andrea Wilcox/Elaine. In between his film projects, Bogosian wrote and starred in the one-man play “FunHouse” (1983) at the New York Shakespeare Festival's Public Theatre. His wife, Jo Anne Bonney, directed him in the play, which was later broadcasted on PBS in 1986.
In 1985, the multi-talented artist landed a guest spot on the NBC cultural phenomenon series “Miami Vice.” He played Zeke in the episode “Milk Run,” which aired on January 4. It was followed by a title role in “The Healer” episode of CBS' “The Twilight Zone” (also 1985) and a two episode appearance in the Dennis Farina-led series “Crime Story” (1986).
However, Bogosian did not enjoy a breakthrough until he returned to the stage in the monologue “Drinking in America” (1986), which he also wrote. The show brought him a well-merited Obie Award. He then teamed up with Tad Savinar to write his first full-length play, “Talk Radio.” Previously presented as a one-man performance piece at the Portland Center for the Visual Arts in 1985, the show was expanded into an off-Broadway production with Frederick Zollo sitting in the director's chair. The play debuted at The Public Theater on May 28, 1987. For his work, Bogosian, who also starred as Barry Champlain, was nominated for the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. Among his costars in the hit play were Zach Grenier, John C. McGinley, John Onorati, and Mark Metcalf.
In 1988, Bogosian reprised his stage role for the film adaptation of “Talk Radio,” which he also co-wrote with director Oliver Stone. For his acting job, Bogosian won a Silver Berlin Bear for Outstanding Single Achievement at the 1989 Berlin International Film Festival, a Chicago Film Critics Association for Most Promising Actor, and an Independent Spirit nomination for Best Male Lead.
“I was definitely surprised when ‘Talk Radio’ took off as a play. As a film, it has become somewhere between a popular thing and a cult thing.” Eric Bogosian
Bogosian made his television film debut with the CBS remake “The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial,” which was directed by Robert Altman. In the war movie, he starred as Lt. Barney Greenwald, opposite Jeff Daniels as Lt. Steve Maryk, Peter Gallagher as Lt. Cmdr. John Challee, Michael Murphy as Capt. Blakely, and Kevin J. O'Connor as Lt. Thomas Keefer. He also co-wrote and acted in the short film “Arena Brains,” for director Robert Longo.
In 1990, Bogosian starred as Larry Rose in the NBC TV film “Last
Flight Out.” He also wrote and starred in his one-man show,
“Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll,” from which he picked up
his next Obie Award. The show was adapted into a film of the same
name in 1991, with John McNaughton directing and Bogosian writing the
script and starring in the movie. He then appeared twice as defense
attorney Gary Lowenthal in the NBC series “Law & Order”
(1992) before staging another successful one-man show, “Pounding
Nails in the Floor with My Forehead” (1994). The show premiered
at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles and Bogosian took home an
additional Obie Award for his work in the play. In 1994, he wrote the
off-Broadway production “subUrbia,” which premiered at
the Lincoln Center in New York City. A film version of the play was
made in 1996.
Bogosian could also be seen as Senator Larson Crockett in the HBO film “Witch Hunt” (1994), directed by Paul Schrader and costarring Dennis Hopper and Penelope Ann Miller, Peter in “Dolores Claiborne” (1995), which was adapted form the Stephen King novel, Travis Dane in Geoff Murphy's thriller “Under Siege 2: Dark Territory” (1995), and a literary agent named Gene Byck in “The Substance of Fire” (1996), which was adapted by Jon Robin Baitz from his own play. His voice could also be heard in Richard Williams' animated movie “Arabian Knight” (released in the US in 1995) and Mike Judge and Yvette Kaplan's “Beavis and Butt-Head Do America” (1996).
Bogosian was next seen in Woody Allen's “Deconstructing Harry” (1997), and the HBO Vietnam drama “A Bright Shining Lie“ (1998), whose cast included Bill Paxton, Amy Madigan and Vivian Wu. In 1998, Eric revisited the suburbs for his play “Griller.” Directed by Robert Falls, the play was first shown at the Goodman Theater in Chicago.
Entering the new millennium, Bogosian played Professor Goodwin in Davis Guggenheim's “Gossip” (2000, starred James Marsden, Lena Headey and Norman Reedus), supported Joshua Leonard and Molly Ringwald in “In the Weeds” (2000), which was directed and written by Michael Rauch, and starred in the movie version of his one-man show, “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee” (2001), which he also scripted. In 2002, Bogosian played small roles in “Ararat,” directed and written by Atom Egoyan, and Burr Steers' “Igby Goes Down,” opposite Kieran Culkin, Claire Danes, Jeff Goldblum, Jared Harris, Amanda Peet, Ryan Phillippe and Susan Sarandon. On stage, he premiered “Humpty Dumpty” at the McCarter Theatre, a reunion with his director-wife after the one-man show “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee.”
In 2003, Bogosian appeared as Alan Caulfield in the blockbuster movie “Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.” He was also cast in Lion Gate Film’s “Wonderland.” Among his costars in the thriller were Kate Bosworth, Carrie Fisher, Val Kilmer and Dylan McDermott. He next portrayed Rabbi Evelyn Fink in Peter Riegert's “King of the Corner” (2004), with Ashley Johnson, Isabella Rossellini and Beverly D'Angelo, Bentley Tittle in the Wesley Snipes starring vehicle “Blade: Trinity” (2004) and Henry in “Heights” (2005), opposite Glenn Close and Elizabeth Banks.
Bogosian reappeared on the small screen after a guest stint in “Scrubs” (2003, as Dr. Gross) with a regular role in the short-lived comedy series “Love Monkey” (2006). Created by Michael Rauch, the show premiered on CBS on January 17, 2006, but was canceled after three episodes. The remaining five episodes were broadcasted on VH1. Also that year, he joined the cast of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” in the regular role of Captain Daniel Ross. He stayed with the show until 2008.
In March 2007, “Talk Radio” made its Broadway debut and starred Liev Schreiber. It was directed by Robert Falls. The new production, which also featured Stephanie March and Peter Hermann of “Law & Order: SVU” fame and Sebastian Stan, received Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Drama League award nominations and marked Bogosian's Broadway debut.
After leaving “L&O: Criminal Intent,” Bogosian played the role of Alan Freed in the biopic “Cadillac Records” (2008). Directed and written by Darnell Martin, the film starred Emmanuelle Chriqui, Beyoncé Knowles, Mos Def, Gabrielle Union, and Adrien Brody.
Berlin International Film Festival: Silver Berlin Bear, Outstanding Single Achievement, “Talk Radio,” 1989 (for his performance and screenwriting)
Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA): Most Promising Actor, “Talk Radio,” 1989
Obie Awards: “Drinking in America,” “Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll” and “Pounding Nails in the Floor with My Forehead”