Eric Bana Biography

Eric Bana is an Australian actor and comedian best known for his role in ‘Chopper.’ Check out this biography to know about his childhood, family life, achievements and fun facts about him.

Quick Facts

Birthday: August 9, 1968

Nationality: Australian

Famous: Actors Comedians

Age: 51 Years, 51 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Leo

Also Known As: Eric Banadinović

Born in: Melbourne, Australia

Famous as: Actor, comedian

Height: 6'2" (188 cm), 6'2" Males


Spouse/Ex-: Rebecca Gleeson

father: Ivan Banadinovich

mother: Eleanor Banadinovich

siblings: Anthony Banadinovich

children: Klaus Banadinovich, Sophia Banadinovich

City: Melbourne, Australia

More Facts

education: Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School

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Eric Banadinović, better known as Eric Bana, is an Australian actor and comedian. He started his career as a comedian on television before venturing onto the big screen. He starred in several sketch-comedy shows in Australia, including ‘The Eric Bana Show’, but came to prominence and was recognized as a talented actor for his powerful performance in the dark drama film ‘Chopper’, which also earned him the opportunity to venture into Hollywood movies. Making his debut in the comedy series ‘Full Frontal’, he proceeded to give scintillating performances as a superhero in Ang Lee's ‘Hulk’ and ‘Black Hawk Down’ which earned him accolades from critics. Eventually he carved a niche for himself in the entertainment industry. After his brilliant performance in the epic film ‘Troy’, he made conscious efforts to move on to more thought-provoking films like Steven Spielberg's thriller, ‘Munich, which earned him respect and solidified his position as an accomplished actor. His portrayal as Henry VIII in ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ and as villain Nero in the science-fiction film ‘Star Trek’ earned him more recognition. The veteran actor and comedian is the recipient of Australia's highest film and television award for his performances in ‘Chopper’, ‘Full Frontal’, and ‘Romulus, My Father’.

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Childhood & Early Life
  • Eric Bana was born on August 9, 1968, in Melbourne, Australia, and was raised in Melbourne's Tullamarine suburb. His father Ivan worked as a logistics manager for Caterpillar, Inc., and his mother Eleanor was a hairdresser. He has an elder brother, Anthony.
  • His father was a Croatian and hailed from a South Slavic ethnic group while his mother was from Mannheim in Germany. In an interview, Eric said that his family had suffered from racist taunts, and were called "wog”.
  • He attended Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School. He loved motor racing, and at the age of 14, he wanted to leave school to become a motor mechanic, but his father convinced him to complete school. When he was 15, he purchased a 1974 XB Ford Falcon coupé for A$1100.
  • Inspired by comedian Richard Pryor, he became interested in showbiz at a very young age. At the age of six, he used to mimic his grandfather's voice and mannerisms, and in school he mimicked his teachers. When he was a teen, he watched the Mel Gibson film ‘Mad Max’, and decided to become an actor.
  • Despite his passion, he did not pursue acting professionally until 1991, when he was persuaded to do stand-up gigs while he was working as a barman at Melbourne's Castle Hotel. Since his stand-ups at pubs and clubs across Australia did not provide him good financial prospects, he continued his job as a barman and a waiter.
  • Eric Bana’s talent for comedy and stand-up routines earned him early success and popularity, leading his way to a series of small television roles in sketch shows. In 1993, he made his debut on the late night talk show, ‘Tonight Live’. In the same year, he was offered a position in the sketch comedy series, ‘Full Frontal’, as a writer and performer. During his four years on the show, he wrote his own content, and many of his characters were based on his family members.
  • His skills led him to start his own comedy show in 1997. ‘The Eric Bana Show’ was written and performed by him, and it featured skits, stand-up and celebrity guests. However, it was cancelled after eight episodes due to low ratings.
  • He soon ventured into the big screen and his breakthrough hit came with director Andrew Dominik’s film ‘Chopper’ in 2000. It was based on the life of the infamous Australian criminal Chopper Read.
  • Eric Bana, who had become a household name in Australia by now, eyed Hollywood, and the right opportunity came with Ridley Scott’s film ‘Black Hawk Down’, in which he played an American sergeant. The 2001 Oscar-nominated film was about a US military mission in Somalia.
  • In 2003, he became an international craze after director Ang Lee offered him the role of Dr. Bruce Banner in the adaptation of Marvel Comics' ‘The Hulk’. His performance in the film led him to play the role of Hector in the 2004 hit ‘Troy’, wherein he co-starred with Brad Pitt.
  • He starred in Steven Spielberg’s political drama ‘Munich’ in 2005. He proceeded to showcase his talent in the 2007 romantic comedy ‘Lucky You’, and the Australian drama ‘Romulus, My Father’.
  • In 2008 and 2009, he had a hectic schedule, working on a number of films, and in each he enacted versatile roles. In ‘The Time Traveler's Wife’, he portrayed a librarian afflicted with a paranormal genetic disorder. In ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’, he played King Henry VIII, and in the science fiction ‘Star Trek’ he played the villain Nero.
  • In 2011, he was featured in the action thriller film ‘Hanna’, which proved to be a success for him. He appeared in the 2013 film ‘Lone Survivor’, as Lieutenant Commander Erik S. Kristensen. In 2014, he played a police sergeant who investigated paranormal cases in the horror film ‘Deliver Us from Evil’.
  • In 2016, he starred as a struggling radio journalist in ‘Special Correspondents’ on Netflix. He then starred in Guy Ritchie's ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ in 2017, where he portrayed Uther Pendragon, King of Britain and father of King Arthur.
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Major Works
  • One of Eric Bana’s early works, ‘Full Frontal,’ garnered him critical acclaim and earned him an award. The character played by him, Poida, went on to become one of the most popular characters of the series.
  • His performance in the film ‘Chopper’ earned him much praise, and he received an Australian Film Institute nomination for Best Actor. His portrayal of the title character in this movie established him as a force to reckon with in the Australian entertainment industry.
Awards & Achievements
  • In 1997, ‘Full Frontal’ earned him the Logie Award for Most Popular Comedy Personality.
  • He won the Australian Film Institute Best Actor in a Leading Role award for ‘Chopper’ in 2000.
  • ‘Romulus, My Father’ earned him the Australian Film Institute Best Actor in a Leading Role award in 2007.
Personal Life
  • In 1995, while he was doing ‘Full Frontal’, he started dating Rebecca Gleeson, a publicist with the Seven Network, and daughter of then Chief Justice of New South Wales, and later Chief Justice of Australia, Murray Gleeson.
  • In 1996, he was named ‘Bachelor of the Year’ by Cleo Magazine, and won a trip to the USA. While on the trip, he proposed to Rebecca. The couple got married in 1997. Their son Klaus was born in August 1999 and daughter Sophia in April 2002.
  • Eric has participated in various motor racing competitions in Australia. In 1996, he made his debut in Targa Tasmania, a weeklong race in the island state of Tasmania, in his XB Ford Falcon Coupé, which he had bought at the age of 15. He did a documentary, ‘Love the Beast’, on how his XB Ford Falcon Coupé and racing have impacted his life. The documentary was released in 2009.
  • He also loves football and is a fan of Australian rules football. When he is in Australia, he is usually seen at AFL games. His love for St Kilda FC has led the club to be featured in the film ‘Funny People’.
  • He is well known for his charitable works as well. He is an ambassador for Youth off the Streets and supports homeless young people. He also supports the Mental Illness Fellowship in Australia. He campaigns with the Australian Childhood Foundation and the Bone Marrow Donor Institute, and has worked with Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

1. Star Trek (2009)

  (Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure)

2. Black Hawk Down (2001)

  (History, War, Drama)

3. Munich (2005)

  (Drama, Thriller, History, Crime)

4. The Castle (1997)

  (Drama, Comedy)

5. Lone Survivor (2013)

  (Action, Thriller, War, Biography, Drama)

6. Love the Beast (2009)

  (Sport, Documentary)

7. The Time Traveler's Wife (2009)

  (Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Drama, Romance)

8. Troy (2004)

  (Drama, Romance, History, Action)

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