|Season(s)||S1 - |
|Date of Birth||March 18, 1950|
|Origin||Huntington, West Virginia, USA|
Dourif was born in Huntington, West Virginia, the son of Joan Felton (née Bradford), an actress, and Jean Henri Dourif, an art collector who owned and operated a dye factory. His paternal grandparents immigrated from France, and his paternal grandfather co-founded the Standard Ultramarine and Color Company in Huntington. After Dourif's father died in 1953, his mother remarried champion golfer William C. Campbell, who helped raise Dourif and his five siblings (four sisters and one brother). From 1963 to 1965, Dourif attended the private Aiken Preparatory School in Aiken, South Carolina. There he pursued his interests in art and acting. Although he briefly considered becoming an artist, he was eventually inspired to become an actor by his mother's participation as an actress in a community theater. After Aiken Prep, he attended another private school, Fountain Valley School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, graduating in 1969. He attended Marshall University for a time, before quitting college and moving to New York City to study acting, on the advice of actress Conchata Ferrell.
Starting in school productions, he progressed to community theater, joining up with the Huntington Community Players, while attending Marshall. In New York, he worked with the Circle Repertory Company. During the early 1970s, Dourif appeared in a number of plays, off-Broadway and at Woodstock, New York, including The Ghost Sonata, The Doctor in Spite of Himself, and When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder?, in which he was spotted by director Miloš Forman who cast him in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975).
Although this film is frequently cited as his film debut, in fact, Dourif made his first appearance in a low-budget film called "Split," which was never released. His first studio film was W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings (1975) but his bit part was cut. Nevertheless, his portrayal of the vulnerable Billy Bibbit in Cuckoo's Nest was his big break, earning him a Golden Globe (Best Actor Debut) and a British Academy Award (Supporting Actor); he was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Skeptical of his instant stardom, Dourif returned to New York, where he continued in theater and taught acting and directing classes at Columbia University until 1988, when he moved to Hollywood.
In 1981, Vincent Canby listed Dourif as one of twelve actors to watch, calling Dourif "one of the most intense, most interesting young film actors of his generation".
Despite his attempts to avoid typecasting, Dourif frequently plays eccentric or disturbed characters, starting in Eyes of Laura Mars (1978), John Huston's Wise Blood (1979), Forman's Ragtime (1981) and Marc Didden's Istanbul. Dourif then teamed up with director David Lynch for Dune (1984) and Blue Velvet (1986). He also appears in the 1984 music video for Toto's single "Stranger in Town".
Dourif has appeared in a number of horror films, notably as the voice of the evil killer doll Chucky in 1988's Child's Play (Dourif also appeared onscreen as Chucky's human progenitor, serial killer Charles Lee Ray). Dourif voiced Chucky in the four Child's Play sequels. Dourif played the Gemini Killer in The Exorcist III (1990), but he has broken from the horror genre with roles in Fatal Beauty (1987), Mississippi Burning (1988), Hidden Agenda (1990), and London Kills Me (1991). He also played Gríma Wormtongue in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
On television, Dourif appeared in The X-Files The X-Files episode "Beyond the Sea" as the psychic serial killer Luther Lee Boggs. He also played Lon Suder, a murderous psychopath who eventually redeems himself, in a three-episode story arc on Star Trek: Voyager, and has guest-appeared in shows such as Babylon 5. In 1984, he played a suspected serial killer in the episode "Number Eight" of the British TV series Tales of the Unexpected.
He played a role as a bad guy by the name of Wyatt in the Miami Vice episode titled "Theresa" which aired February 13, 1987 (Season 3 - Episode 16).
He is a fan of video games and appeared as Saavedro in Myst III: Exile (2001), the third game in the popular Myst franchise, and as the sadistic preacher Reed in GUN (2005). He also voiced Piero Joplin in the 2012 stealth action adventure video game Dishonored.
Dourif was cast as The Scarecrow in Batman Forever, while Tim Burton was attached to the project. However, Joel Schumacher eventually took over the project, and instead cast Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face and Jim Carrey as The Riddler.
Other roles Dourif has played are Doc Cochran in the HBO series Deadwood, receiving a 2004 Emmy nomination for "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series". He also appeared in the film Sinner, and played Sheriff Brackett in 2007 in Rob Zombie's version of Halloween and its sequel in 2009, Halloween II.
In 2013, Dourif reprised his voice role as Chucky in the sixth installment of the Child's Play series, Curse of Chucky which has just finished filming and he is expected to voice Chucky in the upcoming remake.
Dourif guest starred in the third-season finale of Fringe.