Daniel Von Bargen was an American actor with over four decades of experience in the field of acting. He was popular for his domineering roles in movies. He became a notable actor following his performance as Mr. Kruger in the TV series ‘Seinfeld’. He was a character actor, mostly cast in authoritative roles including those of cops, military officers and tough guys. He appeared in popular movies like ‘Robocop 3’, ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ and ‘Basic Instinct’. He was also famous for his style of acting as he always strived to bring his characters to life while on the stage. As a stage actor he was recognized as an “outstanding new performer” by the Theater World Awards for his performance in a theater production called ‘Mastergate’.
After graduation, Daniel Von Bargen joined the Trinity Repertory Theatre in Providence, Rhode Island and worked with them for many years. He made his television debut in 1974 in the series ‘Great Performances’. He later picked up numerous roles in television and movies. He was also cast as a stage actor in several plays. In 1985, he was cast in the TV movie ‘ Right to Kill’ as Detective Rogers.
He officially entered the Hollywood industry through the movie ‘Silence of the Lambs’ in 1991. He portrayed Lieutenant Nilsen in 1992 in the movie ‘Basic Instinct’ starring Michael Douglas. During the same year, he did a breakthrough role in Larry Gelbart’s play ‘Mastergate,’ which introduced him to Broadway. In 1993, he acted as Moreno in the film ‘Robocop 3’ and was also cast in four other movies the same year, including ‘Philadelphia’ starring Denzel Washington.
The year 1997 made him a noteworthy actor in Hollywood. During the year, he played two praiseworthy characters, Mr. Kruger in the live action comedy sitcom ‘Seinfeld’ and Pineview Sheriff Briscoe in the film ‘The Postman,’ which would be remembered as his major contributions to acting. His role of Mr. Kruger, George Costanza’s dull boss, in ‘Seinfeld’ was much appreciated. He was cast in ‘The Postman’ directed by Kevin Kostner. His role as the Pineview sheriff who suspects the protagonist (Kevin Costner) of being a fraud became an instant favorite even though the movie was a disappointment.
His other film credits include Woody Allen’s ‘Shadows and Fog,’ ‘London Betty’, ‘Broken Arrow’, ‘Truman’, ‘The Majestic’, ‘Philadelphia’, ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’, ‘Snow Falling on Cedars’, ‘Thinner’, ‘A Civil Action’, Disney's ‘The Kid’, ‘Super Troopers’ and ‘Universal Soldier: The Return’. He also appeared regularly in prime-time dramas like
‘The West Wing’ and ‘Law & Order,’ and was cast in soap operas like ‘All My Children.’
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Family & Personal Life
Daniel Von Bargen was born on June 5, 1950, to Juanita J. (Bustle) and Donald L. von Bargen in Cincinnati. He was of German and English descent. He grew up in Cincinnati for most of his childhood and later moved with his family to southern California. In 1968, Von Bargen graduated from Reading High School. He also attended Purdue University, Indiana and majored in drama.
He was plagued by diabetes for many years and eventually lost a leg to the condition. He tried to commit suicide after learning his toes also would have to be amputated due to complications arising from diabetes. He shot himself in the temple in February 2012, but soon called 911 who rescued him. He later said that he decided to kill himself because he was scheduled to have his toes amputated and didn’t want to go through another surgery. He died on March 1, 2015, of unspecified causes, at the age of 64.