Ted Levine Biography
Also Known As: Frank Theodore Levine
Born in: Bellaire, Ohio
Famous as: Actor
Spouse/Ex-: Kim Phillips
father: Charlotte Virginia (Clark)
mother: Milton Dmitri Levine
siblings: Judith Anne Levine, Michael Joshua Levine
children: Mac Levine, Melissa Levine
U.S. State: Ohio
Ted Levine is an American actor who is best known for his remarkable performance as the legendary villain ‘Buffalo Bill’ in the psychological horror ‘The Silence of the Lambs.’ Ted was born in Ohio and was raised in Illinois. Both of Ted’s parents were doctors. However, he was not interested in following in his parents’ footsteps. He was also not academically good. He loved acting, and his love for the art made him venture into theater once he graduated from ‘Marlboro College.’ He joined Chicago’s bustling theater scene and started acting with ‘Remains Theatre.’ He spent the 1980s working in theaters and searching for significant TV and film roles. He started with small roles in films such as ‘One More Saturday Night’ and ‘Love at Large.’ In 1991, he made a career breakthrough when he was selected to play a serial killer in the film ‘The Silence of the Lambs.’ His role became iconic, and he subsequently bagged several films such as ‘Bullet,’ ‘Mad City,’ ‘Shutter Island,’ and ‘Big Game.’ He also earned significant success on TV, with roles such as that of ‘Captain Leland Stottlemeyer’ in the series ‘Monk.’
- Ted Levine was born on May 29, 1957, in Bellaire, Ohio, to Charlotte Virginia and Milton Dmitri Levine. He was the fourth of the five children in the family. Ted is of Russian descent from his father’s side and of Welsh and Native American descent from his mother’s side. Both his parents were doctors and also members of ‘Physicians for Social Responsibility.’ His family followed Judaism. Ted still calls himself a “hillbilly Jew.”
- Ted was an eccentric child. He never quite settled at one place or focused on one thing and would often try several things at once. He was not academically good. He was also not remotely interested in following in his parents’ footsteps to become a doctor. His parents clashed with the authorities over their highly liberal sensibilities and their support to the communists. They had to move as a result of this conflict.
- The family moved to Oak Park, Illinois, when Ted was quite young. Ted spent the rest of his childhood there. He never quite fit into the school system and always wanted to do something else with his life.
- Ted had a flair for storytelling and recalled himself as being a “perpetual liar.” He first realized he was interested in acting when he was a teenager. However, he did not know the way to follow his passion.
- He graduated from ‘Windsor Mountain School’ and enrolled at ‘Marlboro College’ in Vermont. However, he eventually got bored of studies and dropped out. He joined local theater groups and ventured into full-time acting.
- One reason he quit college was because he was already a paid actor and was making enough money to live comfortably. In the late 1970s, he moved to Ann Arbor. Soon, he started a small theater group of his own, along with his then-girlfriend.
- He concentrated on his theater group until 1980. Soon, he moved to New York to start his full-fledged acting career. However, his life back then was full of struggle and he ended up doing mundane jobs to support himself financially. He then moved to Chicago, as New York was proving to be too expensive for him.
- In Chicago, Ted found a number of decent jobs that were closer to acting. He appeared in commercials and made public-service announcements. In 1982, taking help from an old friend, he joined ‘Remains Theatre.’
- In the following years, Ted acted in many plays produced by ‘Remains,’ such as ‘The Nest at the Goodman Studio’ and ‘Name Withheld by Request.’ Ted also played musical instruments and served as a writer and director for a few plays. Meanwhile, he also auditioned for film and TV roles.
- In 1983, Ted made his screen debut with the role of an “extra” in the TV movie ‘Through Naked Eyes.’ He then appeared in small roles in ‘American Playhouse’ and ‘Two Father’s Justice.’ In 1986, he made his film debut with a small role in the film ‘One More Saturday Night’ and then appeared in films such as ‘Ironweed,’ ‘Betrayed,’ and ‘Next of Kin.’
- In 1986, he earned the first major role of his career when he was selected to play the role of ‘Frank Holman’ in the series ‘Crime Story.’ His performance was highly acclaimed, and his role spanned 13 episodes of the series.
- In 1991, he bagged a career-defining role when he was cast as ‘Buffalo Bill (Jame Gumb)’ in the psychological thriller ‘The Silence of the Lambs.’ His role as a dreaded serial killer became iconic. The film featured legendary actor Anthony Hopkins as ‘Hannibal Lecter.’ It was a major commercial and critical success and gradually attained the status of a “cult classic.”
- The success of the film opened many avenues for Ted in Hollywood. However, he was being offered similar roles in all his movies, as he had been typecast as a villain. He continued to play the villain in films such as ‘The Paint Job,’ ‘Nowhere to Run,’ and ‘Georgia.’ In the early 1990s, he played key roles in several TV films such as ‘Murder in High Places,’ ‘Death Train,’ ‘The Last Outlaw,’ and ‘Wiseguy.’
- In 1995, he starred in the film ‘Heat,’ which also starred Hollywood star Al Pacino. He played a member of Pacino’s squad in the film. After earning massive critical acclaim for his performance in the film, he was able to shed the “bad guy” image. In 1997, he ventured into voice acting with ‘Superman: The Animated Series.’ He voiced the characters of ‘Karkull’ and ‘Sinestro’ in the film.
- By the late 1990s, he was being offered supporting roles in many big-budget films, such as ‘Wild Wild West’ and ‘Mad City.’ He also portrayed ‘Captain Leland Stottlemeyer’ in the series ‘Monk,’ for which he received appreciation.
- In the 2000s, he continued to play supporting roles in critically acclaimed films such as ‘Memoirs of a Geisha,’ ‘The Truth About Charlie,’ ‘Ali,’ and ‘American Gangster.’ The 2008 film ‘American Gangster’ earned him and the entire cast of the movie a nomination for the ‘Screen Actors Guild Award’ for ‘Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.’
- In 2012, Ted played a recurring role in the series ‘Luck.’ The following year, he portrayed ‘Lt. Hank Wade’ in the series ‘The Bridge.’
- Recently, Ted has been seen playing supporting and character roles in films such as ‘A Single Shot,’ ‘Dig Two Graves,’ ‘Little Boy,’ and ‘Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom.’ The 2015 film ‘Dig Two Graves’ turned out to be a critically acclaimed film and earned Ted the ‘Best Actor’ award at the 2015 ‘Beaufort International Film Festival.’
- Ted Levine is married to Kim Phillips. They have two children, Mac and Melissa.
- Although Ted has an active career in films, he is not too fond of living in Los Angeles.
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