George Dzundza is an American actor and an assistant director who is known for his performance in films like ‘The Deer Hunter’, ‘Basic Instinct’, and ‘Crimson Tide’. He has also worked in a significant number of television shows during his almost four-decade long acting career including the likes of ‘Law & Order’, ‘Batman: The Animated Series’, ‘Superman: The Animated Series’, ‘Jesse’, ‘Hack’, and ‘Grey's Anatomy’. Born in Germany during a chaotic period in the nation’s history, he spent his early years in camps for displaced persons. His family eventually moved to the US where he was able to get a good education. Soon after, he ventured into an acting career and appeared in numerous films, telefilms, and TV serials. Since his last appearance as an actor in the early 2010s, George Dzundzahas directed several stage plays including some popular ones like ‘Doubt’ and ‘I Am My Own Wife’.
George Dzundzabecame interested in theater once he moved to the United States with his family. He appeared on the stage for the first time in a New York Shakespeare Festival production of ‘King Lear’ in 1973. The same year he got a chance to appear in a television production but that role went uncredited. He had to wait for almost two years to make his official debut on television. He appeared in ‘Starsky & Hutch’, an American action television series created by William Blinn, portraying the character of ‘Crandell’.
He made his film debut in 1978, appearing in the Academy Award winning film ‘The Deer Hunter’, written and directed by Michael Cimino. He played the role of ‘John Welsh’ and acted alongside the likes of Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Savage, John Cazale, and Meryl Streep. The film won five Academy Awards and helped Dzundza kick-start his film career with a bang.
George Dzundzaappeared in two major roles in 1987: a disabled man in a wheelchair, ‘Sam Hesselman,’ in the American political thriller film ‘No Way Out’, directed by Roger Donaldson, and ‘Commander Daskal’ in the American war film‘The Beast’, directed by Kevin Reynolds and written by William Mastrosimone.
In 1990, he appeared in the American police procedural and legal drama television series ‘Law & Order’, created by Dick Wolf, in which he portrayed the character of ‘Sgt. Max Greevey.’ However, after just one season he was written out over a dispute regarding scheduling and script quality. His wife was pregnant at that time and he had to juggle between the sets and his home in order to spend some time with her. The producers threatened to fire him for holding up the shootings and he left the show to be with his wife.
In 1992, he appeared in ‘Basic Instinct’, the neo-noir erotic thriller film directed by Paul Verhoeven, playing the character of ‘Detective Gus Moran.’ He then acted in ‘Crimson Tide’, an American submarine film directed by Tony Scott, appearing alongside Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman. In ‘Dangerous Minds’, a 1995 American drama film, he acted alongside Michelle Pfeiffer, Wade Dominguez, and Renoly Santiago, portraying the character of ‘Hal Griffith’.
In the late 1990s and the early 2000s, he appeared in the NBC sitcom ‘Jesse’, playing the character of ‘John Warner, Sr.’ and in ‘Hack’, a CBS action-drama series created by David Koepp. However, in both these shows, he was written out after just one season. After his last appearance as an actor, George Dzundza focused on his directorial ventures and went on to direct several stage shows like ‘Doubt’ and ‘I Am My Own Wife’.
You May Like
Continue Reading Below
George Dzundza was born in Rosenheim, Germany on July 19, 1945. His father was Ukrainian and his mother was Polish. Both of his parents were forced into labor work by the Nazis. They eventually managed to immigrate to Amsterdam and later to the United States in 1956. George settled in New York City with his family and enrolled at Xavier High School. He later attended St. John's University to study speech and theatre arts. He married Mary Jo Vermeulen in 1982 and has three children with her.