Who is Chris Sarandon?
Christopher “Chris” Sarandon Jr. is a versatile American actor who has portrayed a wide range of characters, ranging from Jesus Christ to vampires. The ‘Academy Award’- and ‘Golden Globe’-nominated actor is best known for his roles of ‘Prince Humperdinck’ in ‘The Princess Bride’ and ‘Detective Mike Norris’ in ‘Child’s Play.’ He has lent his voice to the character ‘Jack Skellington’ in ‘The Nightmare before Christmas.’ He was born into a family of Greek descent in West Virginia and earned a master’s degree in theater. He made his professional acting debut with the play ‘The Rose Tattoo.’ Later, he moved to New York, where he worked on TV and on ‘Broadway.’ His film debut in ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ fetched him both ‘Academy Award’ and ‘Golden Globe Award’ nominations. He continued to portray a variety of stage, TV, and film characters. Sarandon has married thrice. He was initially married to his classmate Susan Sarandon and then to model Lisa Cooper. He is presently married to actor Joanna Gleason. He has two daughters and a son.
Childhood & Early Life
Sarandon was born on July 24, 1942, in Beckley, West Virginia, to parents of Greek descent, Cliffie (née Cardullias) and Christopher Sarandon. His parents owned a restaurant. He has a brother, John Peter Sarandon. His mother was born into a family of Greek immigrants in Norfolk, Virginia, while his father, also of Greek descent, was born in Istanbul, Turkey.
Sarandon attended the ‘Woodrow Wilson High School,’ Beckley. During his early years, he played the drums and was a back-up singer for the local band ‘The Teen Tones.’ Their band toured and played as a back-up for artists such as Bobby Darin, Gene Vincent, and ‘Danny and the Juniors.’
After graduating in 1960, he joined the ‘West Virginia University.’ In 1964, he majored in speech. Sarandon was part of the university’s musical productions, such as ‘The Music Man.’ Later, he attended the ‘Catholic University of America,’ Washington, DC, and gained his master’s degree in theater. He was a member of the university’s ‘National Players,’ and the troupe traveled and presented plays around the US.
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During the initial years of his career, he toured and worked with various improvisational companies and was involved in regional theater, too. In 1961, he performed in the outdoor drama ‘Honey in the Rock’ at ‘Theatre West Virginia’s ‘Grandview.’ In 1965, he made his professional debut in the play ‘The Rose Tattoo.’ He worked with ‘The Long Wharf Theatre Company’ for one season.
Sarandon relocated to New York City in 1968. He soon made his TV debut with the role of ‘Dr. Tom Halverson’ in the series ‘The Guiding Light’ (1973–1974). He made his ‘Broadway’ debut with the role of ‘Jacob Rothschild’ in the 1970 production ‘The Rothschilds.’ He then essayed ‘Proteus’ in ‘The Two Gentlemen of Verona’ (1972). He also participated in the Shaw and Shakespeare festivals in the US and the ‘Stratford Festival’ in Canada.
In 1974, Sarandon appeared in two TV movies, ‘The Satan Murders’ and ‘Thursday’s Game.’ He made his film debut in 1975, with the role of Al Pacino’s transgender wife, ‘Leon Shermer,’ in ‘Dog Day Afternoon.’ His work in the movie earned him a nomination for the ‘Academy Award’ for the ‘Best Supporting Actor’ and another for the ‘Golden Globe Award’ for the ‘Best Acting Debut in a Motion Picture.’
He essayed a negative role in ‘Lipstick’ (1976) and a demon’s role in ‘The Sentinel’ (1977). Later, Sarandon opted for a variety of characters and portrayed ‘Jesus Christ’ in the well-received TV movie ‘The Day Christ Died’ (1980). His role of ‘Sydney Carton’ in the TV movie ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ earned him immense appreciation. Some of his other notable films were ‘The Osterman Weekend’ (1983), ‘Protocol’ (1984), and the horror movie (in the role of a vampire) ‘Fright Night’ (1985).
In 1987, Sarandon played the villainous ‘Prince Humperdinck’ in the ‘The Princess Bride,’ the role that made him famous. He portrayed investigating officer ‘Mike Norris’ in ‘Child’s Play’ (1988), which was another of his well-remembered roles. He was the voice of ‘Jack Skellington,’ or the ‘Pumpkin King,’ in the ‘Disney’ animated movie ‘The Nightmare before Christmas’ (1993). He has reprised the role in several productions, such as the video games ‘Kingdom Hearts’ and ‘Kingdom Hearts II’ and at a number of ‘Disneyland’s events.
Sarandon worked with actor-singer Joanna Gleason in the ‘Broadway’ musical ‘Nick & Nora’ (1991). After their marriage in 1994, the couple appeared together in films such as ‘Edie & Pen’ (1996), ‘American Perfekt’ (1997), and ‘Let the Devil Wear Black’ (1999). He performed in ‘Broadway’ plays such as ‘The Light in the Piazza’ (2006) and ‘Cyrano de Bergerac.’ He also appeared in the ‘Off-Broadway’ musical ‘Preludes’ (2016).
Sarandon’s recent TV appearances include the medical drama series ‘ER’ (as ‘Dr. Burke’), the fantasy series ‘Charmed’ (as the demon ‘Armand’), and the legal drama ‘Judging Amy’ (as ‘Judge Barry Krumble’).
He co-produced the 1997 crime thriller ‘Road Ends.’
Sarandon is a member of the advisory board of the ‘Green Valley Theatre,’ West Virginia.
Family & Personal Life
In 1967, Sarandon married his university classmate Susan Tomalin (now Susan Sarandon). They divorced in 1979. He married model Lisa Ann Cooper in 1980. The couple had three children, Michael, Stephanie, and Alexis. They divorced in 1989. Sarandon married his co-star Joanna Gleason in 1994.