Occupation: Actor, Theatrical Director
Date of Birth: October 26, 1962
Place of Birth: Waterbury, Conn., USA
Sign: Sun in Scorpio, Moon in Libra
Relations: Wife: Shiva Afshar (actress); daughter: Colette; ex-fiancée: Julia Roberts; stepmother: Eve Ensler (playwright); sister: Robin
Education: Fordham University (degree in drama); stage training under Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York
A STAGE VETERAN who trained at Fordham University and the Neighborhood Playhouse (under the tutelage of famed acting teacher Sanford Meisner), McDermott was 'discovered' by his stepmother, playwright Eve Ensler, who wrote a role for him in her play Believe It, See It, Survival.
McDermott's Hollywood life began with a role in the gritty Vietnam drama Hamburger Hill. Until Saving Private Ryan was released, Hamburger Hill was widely considered the most graphic war movie ever made. His performance was so affecting that he was instantly known as an actor "on the verge." Unfortunately, "on the verge" is where he remained for the next eleven years.
There have been worse hard-luck stories, of course. Despite the fact that The Blue Iguana and Twister didn't exactly rocket McDermott into the celebrity galaxy, 1989's Steel Magnolias introduced him to leading lady Julia Roberts, with whom he became involved and eventually, engaged. That's the good news. The bad news is, Roberts called off the wedding after she became involved with Keifer Sutherland, her co-star in her next film, Flatliners. All's fair in love and moviemaking, etc. etc. The Hollywood-esque twist came in 1994, when McDermott was cast opposite Sutherland in The Cowboy Way. Of course, by then, Roberts had dumped Sutherland as well, so perhaps there was some camaraderie between the two actors.
McDermott showed some savvy when he turned down a role in Showgirls, opting to work with Jodie Foster on Home for the Holidays instead. As much as it became a cult holiday film, it didn't exactly set the tabloids (or the casting directors) spinning. So McDermott had to make do with the self-consciously hip Destiny Turns on the Radio and the supremely forgettable 'Til There Was You.
Then came 1997, and with it, ABC's The Practice. As Bobby, the senior partner in a small Boston law firm, McDermott gets to be both sexy and smart. Finally, this actor was allowed to be more than just a pretty face opposite Hollywood's hottest women. The ensemble drama has received critical acclaim, as has McDermott's performance. Among other things, The Practice will now always be known as the series that made Dylan McDermott an overnight success... after eleven years.
McDermott returns to the big screen in 1999, with roles in both Playing By Heart and Three to Tango, both films which will likely benefit from his new high-profile status.
1999 Playing by Heart
1999 Three to Tango
1997 'Til There Was You
1995 Home for the Holidays
1995 Destiny Turns on the Radio
1994 Miracle on 34th Street
1994 The Cowboy Way
1993 In the Line of Fire
1992 Jersey Girl
1992 Where Sleeping Dogs Lie
1989 Steel Magnolias
1988 The Blue Iguana
1987 Hamburger Hill
1997 The Practice
1992 The Fear Inside
1991 Into the Badlands
1989 The Neon Empire
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)