John Malkovich Then and Now

By / July 2, 2024

John Malkovich Then

John Malkovich was born on December 9, 1953, in Christopher, Illinois, a small town in the southern part of the state.

His parents, Joe Anne (née Choisser) and Daniel Leon Malkovich played significant roles in shaping his early life. 

Joe Anne owned and operated the Benton Evening News (now Benton News) in nearby Benton, where the family eventually settled. 

Daniel, a conservationist, published a magazine called Outdoor Illinois. Growing up, Malkovich was raised alongside a brother and three sisters.

Notably, their next-door neighbor, Doug Collins, would go on to become an NBA All-Star and coach, highlighting the small-town environment that bred notable talents.

john malkovich young
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Despite growing up in a privileged household, Malkovich’s early years were marked by physical abuse from his father and brother. 

This difficult family dynamic influenced his formative years. 

At 16, tired of being bullied for being overweight, Malkovich embarked on a unique diet, consuming only Jell-O for several months, which resulted in a significant weight loss of almost one-third of his body weight.

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This drastic change marked a turning point in his life, boosting his self-esteem and fueling his passion for acting, which he began exploring in high school. 

Besides acting, Malkovich was also an avid baseball player, showcasing his diverse interests during his youth.

Malkovich’s academic journey saw him initially enrolling at Eastern Illinois University before transferring to Illinois State University, where he pursued a degree in theatre.

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Although he completed all the requirements for graduation, he did not receive his degree until 2005, almost three decades later. 

The delay was due to his decision to leave a test on the U.S. Constitution before finishing it. 

Frustrated by the hot and stuffy test room, Malkovich hitchhiked to Chicago to pursue his acting career, leaving the test unfinished. 

This bold move underscored his commitment to his craft and marked the beginning of his illustrious career in acting.

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Malkovich’s early life and educational experiences highlight his resilience and determination. 

Despite facing personal challenges and setbacks, he pursued his passion for acting with unwavering dedication. 

His decision to leave college and move to Chicago to start his acting career exemplifies his boldness and willingness to take risks. 

These experiences not only shaped Malkovich’s character but also laid the foundation for his future success in the entertainment industry.

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John Malkovich Acting Career

In 1976, John Malkovich joined the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, a recently established theater troupe founded by Gary Sinise and Illinois State theatre students Terry Kinney and Jeff Perry. 

Steppenwolf would become a significant force in American theater, with Malkovich playing a crucial role in its success.

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His direction of Lanford Wilson’s Balm in Gilead (1980) and his performances in Sam Shepard’s True West (1982), for which he won an Obie Award, and Wilson’s Burn This (1987) garnered him significant praise. 

Malkovich’s breakout stage debut on Broadway came in 1984 with Death of a Salesman, where he starred alongside Dustin Hoffman.

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john malkovich career movie
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Their performances were so well-received that when they reprised their roles in a 1985 television adaptation of the play, Malkovich won an Emmy Award.

Malkovich transitioned to film with his major motion-picture debut in 1984 as the blind boarder in Robert Benton’s Places in the Heart, earning him his first Academy Award nomination.

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His Hollywood prominence grew with his performance as the conspiring bachelor Vicomte de Valmont in Stephen Frears’s 1988 costume drama Dangerous Liaisons, alongside Glenn Close and Michelle Pfeiffer. 

He continued to take on significant roles in films such as The Sheltering Sky (1990) and Woody Allen’s Shadows and Fog (1991). 

In 1992, he starred as Lennie in a film adaptation of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, reuniting with his old Steppenwolf castmate Sinise.

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In 1993, Malkovich’s role as a vicious assassin in the political thriller In the Line of Fire earned him his second Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. 

Perhaps his most iconic role came in 1999 with Charlie Kaufman’s surreal comedy Being John Malkovich, where he played an excessively self-obsessed version of himself. 

This self-reflexive performance, although with the fictional middle name Horatio, showcased his ability to blend humor with a critique of celebrity culture.

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Malkovich expanded his talents into directing with his first feature-length film, The Dancer Upstairs, in 2002. 

Throughout the 2000s, he appeared in various big-budget films, including The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005), Eragon (2006), Burn After Reading (2008), Red (2010), and Secretariat (2010). 

During this time, he continued to contribute to stage productions as a producer, director, and actor.

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In 2016, Malkovich wrote an experimental film called 100 Years, directed by Robert Rodriguez, which is scheduled for release in 2115. 

This ambitious project emphasizes his innovative approach to filmmaking. 

In the 2020s, Malkovich returned to television with notable roles in the Netflix series Space Force (2020–22) and the HBO show The New Pope (2020). 

His diverse career, spanning theater, film, and television, showcases his versatility and enduring impact on the entertainment industry.

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John Malkovich Movies

john malkovich movies list
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  • Places in the Heart (1984)
  • The Killing Fields (1984)
  • Death of a Salesman (1985) (TV Movie)
  • The Glass Menagerie (1987)
  • Empire of the Sun (1987)
  • Making Mr. Right (1987)
  • Miles from Home (1988)
  • Dangerous Liaisons (1988)
  • The Accidental Tourist (1988)
  • The Sheltering Sky (1990)
  • Queens Logic (1991)
  • Shadows and Fog (1991)
  • Of Mice and Men (1992)
  • Jennifer 8 (1992)
  • Alive (1993)
  • In the Line of Fire (1993)
  • The Convent (1995)
  • Beyond the Clouds (1995)
  • Mary Reilly (1996)
  • The Portrait of a Lady (1996)
  • The Ogre (1996)
  • Con Air (1997)
  • The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)
  • Rounders (1998)
  • The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999)
  • Being John Malkovich (1999)
  • Time Regained (2000)
  • The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)
  • Shadow of the Vampire (2000)
  • The Dancer Upstairs (2002) (Director)
  • Knockaround Guys (2002)
  • Adaptation (2002)
  • Ripley’s Game (2002)
  • Johnny English (2003)
  • The Libertine (2004)
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)
  • Art School Confidential (2006)
  • Eragon (2006)
  • Klimt (2006)
  • Beowulf (2007) (Voice)
  • In Tranzit (2008)
  • Burn After Reading (2008)
  • Disgrace (2008)
  • Changeling (2008)
  • Afterwards (2008)
  • The Great Buck Howard (2008)
  • The Mutant Chronicles (2008)
  • Jonah Hex (2010)
  • Red (2010)
  • Secretariat (2010)
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
  • Red 2 (2013)
  • Warm Bodies (2013)
  • The Zero Theorem (2013)
  • Casanova Variations (2014)
  • Penguins of Madagascar (2014) (Voice)
  • Cut Bank (2014)
  • Zoolander 2 (2016)
  • Deepwater Horizon (2016)
  • Bullet Head (2017)
  • The Wilde Wedding (2017)
  • Valley of the Gods (2019)
  • Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)
  • The New Pope (2020) (TV series)
  • Ava (2020)
  • Arkansas (2020)
  • Valley of the Gods (2020)
  • The Survivalist (2021)
  • Mindcage (2022)
  • Chariot (2022)
  • Shattered (2022)
  • White Elephant (2022)
  • Savage Salvation (2022)
  • Seneca – On the Creation of Earthquakes (2023)
  • One Ranger (2023)
  • The Line (2023)
  • Fool’s Paradise (2023)
  • Mr. Blake At Your Service! (2023)
  • Cuckoo (2024)

John Malkovich’s Wife and Children

In 1982, John Malkovich married Glenne Headly, a fellow ensemble member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. 

Their marriage was a union of two talented actors deeply involved in the same theatrical community. 

However, their relationship faced turmoil and ultimately ended in divorce in 1988.

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The separation was precipitated by Malkovich’s affair with his “Dangerous Liaisons” co-star, Michelle Pfeiffer, a revelation that made headlines and underscored the challenges of balancing personal relationships within the pressures of Hollywood.

A year after his divorce from Headly, Malkovich married Nicoletta Peyran in 1989.

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The couple has a son and a daughter together, forming a family unit that navigates the complexities of Malkovich’s demanding career. 

For many years, they resided in France, enjoying a relatively private life away from the constant spotlight of the entertainment industry. 

However, in 2004, they were compelled to relocate to the United States due to tax issues that made their continued residence in France untenable.

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Malkovich’s financial stability was further shaken when he became one of the many victims of Bernie Madoff’s notorious investment fraud scheme, which collapsed in 2008. 

This scandal affected numerous high-profile individuals and organizations, resulting in significant financial losses. 

Despite these setbacks, Malkovich continued to thrive in his career and pursued his passions beyond acting.

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One such passion is menswear design. Malkovich has a keen interest in fashion and has channeled this enthusiasm into designing clothing. 

He has launched his own menswear labels, including Technobohemian and Uncle Kimono, reflecting his unique style and creativity.

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Through these ventures, Malkovich has established himself not only as a versatile actor but also as a multifaceted artist with a distinct sense of fashion. 

His work in menswear demonstrates his ability to blend his artistic sensibilities with entrepreneurial spirit, further diversifying his impressive career.

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John Malkovich Now

john malkovich now
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John Malkovich, now 70 years old, stands as a distinguished figure in American cinema and theater. 

His career, marked by a plethora of critically acclaimed performances, has earned him numerous accolades, including a Primetime Emmy Award. 

Additionally, he has received nominations for two Academy Awards, a BAFTA Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards, underscoring his versatility and talent as an actor.

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In recent years, Malkovich has continued to captivate audiences with his performances in a variety of films. 

In 2023, he appeared in “The Line,” “One Ranger,” and “Fool’s Paradise,” demonstrating his ability to seamlessly transition between different genres and characters. 

His role in the upcoming 2024 film “Cuckoo” is highly anticipated, further cementing his enduring presence in the industry.

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Beyond acting, Malkovich has expanded his repertoire to include producing, directing, and writing, showcasing his multifaceted talent and creative vision. 

His involvement in various aspects of filmmaking highlights his comprehensive understanding of the craft and his commitment to storytelling.

Despite the financial challenges he faced, including being a victim of Bernie Madoff’s investment fraud scheme, Malkovich has maintained a successful and lucrative career.

His net worth is estimated at $25 million, reflecting both his professional achievements and his resilience in overcoming personal and financial setbacks.

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Malkovich’s career is not limited to the screen; he is also deeply involved in theater. 

As a founding member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, he has significantly contributed to American theater, both as an actor and a director.

His passion for the stage is evident in his numerous acclaimed performances and directorial ventures.

In addition to his work in entertainment, Malkovich has a keen interest in fashion, having designed menswear under the labels Technobohemian and Uncle Kimono. 

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This venture into fashion illustrates his diverse talents and his ability to innovate and create beyond the realms of acting and directing.

John Malkovich’s legacy in the entertainment industry is characterized by his remarkable versatility, resilience, and continuous pursuit of artistic excellence. 

Whether on stage, on screen, or in fashion, he remains a dynamic and influential figure, constantly redefining the boundaries of his craft.

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