Michael Biehn
Biehn at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con
Born
Michael Connell Biehn

(1956-07-31) July 31, 1956 (age 67)[1]
EducationLake Havasu High School
University of Arizona (no degree)
OccupationActor
Years active1977–present
Spouses
Carlene Olson
(m. 1980; div. 1987)
Gina Marsh
(m. 1988; div. 2014)
(m. 2015)
Children5

Michael Connell Biehn (/ˈbn/ BEEN; born July 31, 1956) is an American actor, primarily known for his roles in science fiction films directed by James Cameron; as Sgt. Kyle Reese in The Terminator (1984), Cpl. Dwayne Hicks in Aliens (1986), and Lt. Coffey in The Abyss (1989). His other films include The Fan (1981), The Seventh Sign (1988), Navy SEALs (1990), Tombstone (1993), The Rock (1996), Mojave Moon (1996), Megiddo: The Omega Code 2 (2001), Clockstoppers (2002), and Planet Terror (2007). On television, he has appeared in Hill Street Blues (1984), The Magnificent Seven (1998–2000), and Adventure Inc. (2002–2003). Biehn received a Best Actor Saturn Award nomination for Aliens.

Early life

Biehn was born in Anniston, Alabama, the second of three boys born to Marcia (née Connell) and Don Biehn, a lawyer.[2][3] He is of German, English, Irish and Scottish descent; his surname is of German origin.[4]

When he was young, he moved with his family to Lincoln, Nebraska,[5] and then to Lake Havasu City, Arizona, where he was a member of the high school drama club before graduating.[3] He attended the drama program at the University of Arizona,[2] where he was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity before moving to Hollywood.[6]

Career

Biehn got his start in movies with a bit part in the film version of Grease in 1978.[7] He appears in two scenes; in one scene, John Travolta's character, Danny, hits Biehn's uncredited character in the stomach while playing basketball.[8]

In 1981, Biehn appeared in the role of Douglas Breen, a stalker, in the 1981 film version of Bob Randall's novel The Fan, starring Lauren Bacall.[9]

On television, Biehn made a guest appearance on Hill Street Blues.[10]

In 1984, Biehn played Sgt. Kyle Reese, a soldier sent back in time by John Connor to save his mother, Sarah Connor, in the film The Terminator. Biehn appeared opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton; the film was directed by James Cameron.[11][12] Biehn stated in 2019 that he was initially not enthusiastic about appearing in a Schwarzenegger film, as he had hoped to act alongside the likes of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro.[13] Biehn went on to have a small role in the sequel, Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), briefly reprising his role as Reese in a scene cut from the final film but restored for the Director's Cut version.[14] In 2019, Biehn confirmed in an interview that he would not be reprising the role for Terminator: Dark Fate or any other future installments.[13]

Biehn starred in a second film directed by James Cameron: Aliens (1986), in which he portrayed Corporal Hicks, a corporal in the Colonial Marines. Originally, Hicks was to be portrayed by James Remar, who was fired from Aliens shortly after production started. Cameron chose Biehn as a last-minute replacement, being familiar with Biehn as they previously worked together in Terminator, so Biehn could immediately begin filming without having to go through "boot camp" training as the rest of the cast had done. Due to his late casting, Biehn was unable to customize his character's combat armor as the other actors had done. Biehn rejected the padlock heart motif that he was given, joking that it was like a giant bullseye on his chest. [15] Sigourney Weaver, who portrayed protagonist Ellen Ripley in Aliens, praised Biehn for bringing "a sensitivity to the role of Hicks, an alpha male who had no problem following a woman's lead".[15] For his work in Aliens, Biehn was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Actor.[16]

In an early draft of Alien 3 written by William Gibson, Biehn's character Hicks, who had survived the events of Aliens, was to become the protagonist, replacing Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver).[17] Walter Hill and David Giler wrote the final script, which had Hicks killed off in the opening scene. Biehn, upon learning of his character's demise, demanded and received almost as much money for the use of his likeness in one scene as he had been paid for his role in Aliens.[18] Biehn reprised the role of Hicks by voicing the character in the video game Aliens: Colonial Marines and again in 2019 for an audio drama adaptation of Gibson's un-filmed script for Alien 3 released by Audible.[19][20]

Biehn had his third collaboration with James Cameron in The Abyss (1989), portraying Lieutenant Hiram Coffey who suffers from high-pressure nervous syndrome. Biehn received strong reviews for his performance, with the studio lobbying unsuccessfully for him to be nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor.[15][21][22]

Biehn played the role of Johnny Ringo in Tombstone including the showdown scene with Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday.[23]

Biehn portrayed a Navy SEAL for the third time, in the action film The Rock (1996). While The Rock was most successful movie of Biehn's career in terms of box office gross, it saw his billing and screen time diminished, and after that he never landed a part in a big budget Hollywood film.[21]

Later, Biehn took acting roles ranging from low-budget films such as The Art of War and Clockstoppers to video games like Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun and independent movies, such as Havoc.[8][24] He starred in three TV series including the CBS drama The Magnificent Seven (1998–2000),[25] the Tribune Entertainment syndicated TV series Adventure Inc. (2002–2003), and the NBC TV series Hawaii (2004). All three shows were cancelled because of low ratings.[8] Biehn was considered to portray Colonel Miles Quaritch, the main antagonist of James Cameron's science fiction epic film Avatar (2009), but Cameron felt his appearance in the film coupled with that of Weaver would remind people too much of Aliens.[26]

Biehn directed the 2010 film The Blood Bond.[27] In 2011 he wrote, directed and starred in The Victim.[28][29] In 2020, Biehn was cast as the villain Lang in the second season of the Star Wars television series The Mandalorian.[30] In 2022, he portrayed Ian in the eleventh season of the AMC horror series The Walking Dead.[31]

Personal life

Biehn and his future wife, actress Jennifer Blanc, in 2012, promoting The Victim, which they co-produced, and which Biehn starred in and directed

Coinciding with the decline of his acting career during the 1990s, Biehn suffered from alcoholism until the mid-2000s.[21]

Biehn suffered a stroke around 2008 and had open heart surgery.[32]

When questioned on why he did not attain stardom despite having lead roles in well-regarded hit films like Terminator and Aliens, Biehn told the Hollywood Reporter "People always talk about me being an '80s star. I was not an '80s star. Bruce Willis was an '80s star. Tom Cruise was an '80s star. Schwarzenegger and Stallone. Mel Gibson. Those guys were making $20 million [a picture]. I never even got $1 million. I kind of liked it that way."[15]

Biehn nonetheless remains financially well-off due to his SAG pension. James Cameron has suggested that perhaps "what held Michael back was that he didn't like playing the Hollywood game — schmoozing people and all that. For him it was all about the work". Biehn has never hired a publicist and was reportedly never interested in the "fame aspect of the business, even though his agent — and Cameron — both believed he had what it took to be a major star".[15]

Biehn has been married three times and has five sons. In 2019, he stated that he had prioritized his family over his acting career by turning down projects involving long film shoots.[15][21]

Biehn's second wife was Gina Marsh.[33]

As of 2016, Biehn is married to actress Jennifer Blanc,[34] who co-produced and starred alongside him in The Victim.[35][36] The couple have one son, Dashiell King Biehn.[37]

Filmography

Main article: Michael Biehn filmography

References

  1. ^ Screen World Volume 53. Crown Publishing Group. 2002. p. 53. ISBN 9781557835987.
  2. ^ a b "Michael Biehn: Biography, Latest News & Videos". TV Guide. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Michael Biehn" Archived September 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Wizard World. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
  4. ^ Wygant, Bobbie (July 1986). "Interview with Michael Biehn". KOLN/KGIN-TV (Lincoln, Nebraska), YouTube. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  5. ^ Coffey, Kevin (May 1, 2019). "Michael Biehn went from Nebraska kid to star of 'Aliens,' which has a special Omaha screening". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  6. ^ " About Michael Bean". MTV. Retrieved September 25, 2013.[dead link]
  7. ^ Dopp, Buck (June 2, 2019). "'Terminator' and 'Aliens' were only the beginning for Havasu native, character actor Michael Biehn". Havasu News. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  8. ^ a b c Wales, Andrew (January 5, 2017). "What Happened To Michael Biehn – News & Updates". Gazette Review. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  9. ^ Canby, Vincent (May 22, 1981). "FILM: 'FAN,' A LAUREN BACALL THRILLER". The New York Times. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  10. ^ Potts, Kimberly (May 2, 2014). "25 Things You Never Knew About 'Hill Street Blues,' One of TV's Most Influential Dramas". yahoo.com.
  11. ^ Hicks, Christopher (November 6, 1984). "An upswing for Biehn's career?". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). p. C5.
  12. ^ "'The Terminator' surprises the critics; is a top grosser". Tri City Herald. November 30, 1984. Retrieved September 19, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ a b Davis, Brandon (August 2, 2019). "This Terminator Actor Isn't Interested in Ever Returning for a Cameo". Comicbook. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  14. ^ Bennett, Tara (May 12, 2019). "The Terminator at 35: Michael Biehn talks James Cameron and our Smartphone Overlords". Syfy Wire. Retrieved May 12, 2019.
  15. ^ a b c d e f Couch, Aaron (August 2, 2019). ""Everything Had to Go Right": What Happened to 'Terminator' Star Michael Biehn". The Hollywood Reporter.
  16. ^ Trench, Mikael (February 3, 2023). "The Terminator's Michael Biehn Thought He'd Have A Guaranteed Role In The First Avatar". looper.com.
  17. ^ "Phoenix – Michael Biehn Archive – Aliens Cinescape Movie Aliens – Bald Ambition Page 3". Michaelbiehn.co.uk. Archived from the original on February 19, 2012. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  18. ^ "Wreckage and Rape: The Making of Alien³ – Development Hell: Concluding The Story" (Alien 3 Collector's Edition DVD).
  19. ^ Turi, Tim (July 26, 2013). "The '80s Strike Back: The Complete Story Behind Blood Dragon". Game Informer. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  20. ^ Phipps, Keith (June 24, 2019). "How William Gibson's long-lost Alien 3 script became 2019's most intriguing audio drama". The Verge. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  21. ^ a b c d "What Happened To Michael Biehn: "I Am An Alcoholic"". EightiesKids.com.
  22. ^ Harmetz, Aljean (August 6, 1989). "FILM; 'The Abyss': A Foray Into Deep Waters". The New York Times. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  23. ^ Rainer, Peter (December 25, 1993). "MOVIE REVIEW : 'Tombstone' Latest in a New Line of Designer Westerns : A few shoot-'em-up scenes are stirring, but there's not much else to relieve a script loaded with cliches". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  24. ^ Strike, John (January 8, 2018). "Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun was a pivotal moment for Westwood's RTS series". PC Gamer. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  25. ^ Fretts, Bruce (July 24, 1998). "Save "The Magnificent Seven" and "The Sentinel"". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  26. ^ "Michael Biehn Hopin', Wishin' and Waitin'". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  27. ^ Brown, Todd (July 11, 2011). "Michael Biehn Talks Losing Control Of THE BLOOD BOND". Screen Anarchy. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  28. ^ Catsoulis, Jeannette (August 23, 2012). "'The Victim,' Grind House Film Directed by Michael Biehn". The New York Times. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  29. ^ Harris, Will (October 2, 2012). "Michael Biehn on The Victim, William Friedkin, and his favorite antagonist role". The A.V. Club. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  30. ^ Couch, Aaron (March 24, 2020). "'The Mandalorian' Casts 'Terminator' Star Michael Biehn". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  31. ^ Koutsounia, Anastasia (March 21, 2022). "The Walking Dead's Michael Biehn breaks silence on secret season 11 role". digitalspy.com.
  32. ^ MICHAEL BIEHN Shares Memories With the Late Great BILL PAXTON Inside Of You Clips, April 4, 2023.
  33. ^ "Biehn & gone". South China Morning Post. November 10, 2005.
  34. ^ Thompson, Simon. "Michael Biehn Talks 'Aliens' 30th Anniversary, His Production Company And His 'Alien' Future". Forbes.
  35. ^ Whitney, Serena (July 24, 2012). "Fantasia 2012: Michael Biehn and Jennifer Blanc-Biehn Talk The Victim and More!". Dread Central.
  36. ^ "Fantasia 2012: Michael Biehn and Jennifer Blanc say waddup in this photoshoot!" Arrow in the Head. July 31, 2012.
  37. ^ "Welcome Dashiell King Biehn" Archived September 18, 2015, at the Wayback Machine Topanga Messenger. May 7, 2015.