Robert Duvall

Robert Duvall Headshot

Actor

Birth Date: January 5, 1931

Age: 93 years old

Birth Place: San Diego, California

Widely hailed as one of the greatest actors of his generation, Robert Duvall was something of a late bloomer in Hollywood. Making his acclaimed debut at 31 years old as Arthur "Boo" Radley in "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962), Duvall was a decade older when he played Tom Hagen, valued consigliere and adopted son of Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) in "The Godfather" (1972) and "The Godfather, Part II" (1974). While not exactly matinee idol material, he unquestionably possessed a wide range that allowed him to play bullying corporate executive Frank Hackett in "Network" (1976), self-determined surfing fanatic Col. Kilgore in "Apocalypse Now" (1979), and hard-nosed Marine officer Bull Meechum in "The Great Santini" (1979). In the following decade, he won an Oscar for his performance as a washed-up country singer in "Tender Mercies" (1983), before playing a sportswriter in "The Natural" (1984) and a veteran cop in "Colors" (1988). On television, Duvall earned awards for turns as Gus McRae in "Lonesome Dove" (CBS, 1989) and Joseph Stalin in "Stalin" (HBO, 1992), though he stepped back into supporting roles on film with "Sling Blade" (1996). He earned acclaim for directing "The Apostle" (1997), while turns in the Westerns "Open Range" (2003) and "Broken Trail" (AMC, 2006) only bolstered his reputation. Still in great demand well into his seventies, Duvall showed no signs of slowing down well into the new millennium.

Born in San Diego, CA on Jan. 5, 1931, Robert Selden Duvall was raised in Annapolis, MD. The son of a Navy admiral, Duvall served in the U.S. Army and later drew from this background for such performances as Kilgore in "Apocalypse Now" (1979) and career military man Bull Meecham in "The Great Santini" (1979). Duvall would also use his early experiences to inform a wide variety of Southern parts - an affinity perhaps owing to his father's Virginia roots - beginning with Boo Radley. During the mid-1950s, Duvall gravitated to New York City, where he appeared off-Broadway in Horton Foote's one-act play, "The Midnight Caller" (1958) - the first of his many associations with the playwright. Duvall also acted in an acclaimed off-Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's "A View from the Bridge" (1965). Duvall began acting on television in the early 1960s, racking up guest shots on series like "The Outer Limits" (ABC, 1963-65), "The Twilight Zone" (CBS, 1959-1964), "Route 66" (CBS, 1960-64) and "The Defenders" (CBS, 1961-65). Having gained a solid reputation by the late 1960s, Duvall closed out the decade with two notable performances. The first was as the unpredictable Ned Pepper in "True Grit" (1969), regarded by many as the definitive John Wayne Western. That same year, Duvall earned kudos for his performance in Francis Ford Coppola's drama, "The Rain People" (1969), marking the first of five collaborations between the actor and filmmaker.

Duvall continued to challenge himself with unusual roles through much of the 1970s. Having portrayed an astronaut in director Robert Altman's "Countdown" (1968), Duvall reunited with the director for "M*A*S*H" (1970), a cutting anti-war dramedy set in Korea. As super pious surgeon Major Frank Burns, Duvall showed off his formidable comedic chops, invoking flashes of brilliance not seen since his villainous turn in "True Grit." The following year, Duvall gave one of his most unusual performances as the title character in George Lucas' feature directing debut, "THX 1138" (1971). Though the Orwellian sci-fi thriller did poorly in its initial release, the film was later reevaluated in a more positive light. Duvall's next project was the Horton Foote-scripted "Tomorrow" (1972), regarded by many as the best film adaptation of a William Faulkner work. The story of a handyman who falls for an abandoned pregnant woman (Olga Bellin), "Tomorrow" garnered respectful reviews, but little business. Bigger things awaited the actor, however.

In late 1971, director Francis Ford Coppola tapped Duvall for the part of Tom Hagen, the loyal Corleone family consigliere in "The Godfather" (1972). One of Duvall's best-known roles, Tom Hagen was an instrumental part of Mario Puzo's story. Masterfully underplayed, yet powerfully effective, Duvall's character would be fleshed out significantly in "The Godfather: Part II" (1974). Released just two years after, the sequel picked up where the original left off, continuing Puzo's inter-generational family saga. Interestingly, when Paramount greenlit "The Godfather: Part III" (1990) some 16 years later, Duvall was naturally expected to participate. When he and the studio were unable to come to terms over salary, however, the character of Tom Hagen was regrettably dropped from the final script. Although financial issues led Duvall to pass on appearing in the less than operatic "Part III," the actor did join former co-stars Marlon Brando and James Caan in reprising their characters vocally for the 2006 video game "The Godfather: The Game."

Professionally speaking, Duvall truly came into his own as an actor towards the late 1970s and early 1980s. Already considered one of Hollywood's top supporting actors by that point, Duvall left his indelible mark on a number of superior films. In 1979, the actor gave a tour-de-force performance as the sadistic Lt. Col. Bull Meechum in the film adaptation of Pat Conroy's "The Great Santini." Nominated for two Oscars, the film successfully re-energized Duvall's career. Later that same year, Duvall appeared as the gung-ho surfing enthusiast/battlefield warrior Colonel Kilgore in Francis Ford Coppola's epic war drama, "Apocalypse Now" (1979). Though his part was relatively small, Duvall would deliver one of modern cinema's most memorable lines: "I love the smell of napalm in the morning smells like victory." However, it was not until the Oscar-winning "Tender Mercies" (1983) that the actor's talents would formally be recognized. Delivering a career performance as faded country singer Mac Sledge, Duvall perfectly captured the pain, heartache and despair of a once beloved entertainer. One of the best films of the year, "Tender Mercies" deservedly received two Oscars, including one for Duvall for Best Actor.

While the Eighties boasted some of Duvall's finest work, the following decade was somewhat of a mixed bag for the actor, artistically speaking. Settling into an increasingly familiar role as the mentor-cum-wizened father figure, Duvall breezed through a series of high-budget movies playing broad variations of the same character. While none of these films - among them: "Days of Thunder" (1990), "The Paper" (1993), "Falling Down" (1994), "Phenomenon" (1995), "The Gingerbread Man" (1998) and "Deep Impact" (1998) - offered much in the way of challenge, they did, at least, insure the actor lifelong financial security. Par for the course, Duvall's presence actually elevated some of these films to undeserved heights. His performance as a slick corporate legal counsel in the merely adequate "A Civil Action" (1998), for example, earned the film its highest notices. One of the rare exceptions to this rule, though, was "The Apostle" (1997) - a pet project that Duvall had tried to get off the ground for over a decade. Written by, directed by and starring Duvall, "The Apostle" told the tale of a fallen preacher (Duvall) who, through a course of deceptive practices, ultimately finds unexpected redemption. Boasting fine supporting performances from Farrah Fawcett, Miranda Richardson and Billy Bob Thornton, "The Apostle" was a huge critical hit and earned Duvall yet another Best Actor Oscar nomination. As his film career peaked, Duvall returned to television periodically. Among his triumphs was his Emmy-nominated portrayal of retired Texas Ranger Captain Augustus 'Gus' McCrae in the TV miniseries adaptation of Larry McMurtry's "Lonesome Dove" (CBS, 1989).

Duvall's output remained prolific - if a bit uninspired - as he entered the new millennium. Following a lengthy hiatus, Duvall returned with a splash in "Gone In 60 Seconds" (2000) - a high budget, high-octane spectacle starring Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie. Later that year, Duvall popped up again in another lucrative, but otherwise unchallenging role as a cloning scientist in Arnold Schwarzenegger's "The 6th Day" (2000). He also added his distinctive gravitas to his role as a seasoned police negotiator in the over-earnest populist drama, "John Q" (2000), starring Denzel Washington. Duvall did, however, manage to land one of his more distinguished roles of the era as legendary Confederate general Robert E. Lee in "Gods and Generals" (2003) - the prequel to the acclaimed novel and film "Gettysburg" (1993).

Continuing his efforts behind the camera, Duvall again took center stage as star, writer, producer and director of his next project, the crime drama, "Assassination Tango" (2002). Co-produced by his "Godfather" collaborator, Francis Ford Coppola, the film was notable for its clever incorporation of one of Duvall's passions - Argentinean tango dancing - into the plot. Giving another finely etched performance, Duvall played an aging, paranoid, dance-loving hit man in this offbeat film. More acting jobs followed. In 2004, Duvall teamed with Michael Caine for "Secondhand Lions," a sentimental tale of two eccentric uncles who take in their neglected young nephew (Haley Joel Osment) for a summer. Duvall subsequently called upon his estimable comedic chops to play Will Ferrell's win-at-all-costs father in "Kicking & Screaming" (2005). In "Thank You for Smoking" (2006), Jason Reitman's satirical look at the world of spin doctoring; Duvall played a millionaire owner of a tobacco company dying of lung cancer, who sends his best lobbyist (Aaron Eckhart) to convince Hollywood moguls to put more smoking back into movies.

Later in 2006, Duvall found himself back in familiar territory when he starred the Western "Broken Trail" (AMC, 2005-06), a two-part miniseries about an old cowboy (Duvall) and his nephew (Thomas Haden Church) who come across five Chinese women kidnapped from their home and sold into sexual slavery seeking to find safe haven from their captors. Duvall earned yet another Golden Globe Award nomination, this time for Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie. In 2007, Duvall returned before the cameras for a supporting role in director Curtis Hanson's poker-themed family drama, "Lucky You," giving a powerful performance as L.C. Cheever, the estranged father of Eric Bana's character, hotshot poker player Huck Cheever. When father and son face off against each other in the film's climax, it is as opponents at the world-famous World Series of Poker championship.

Meanwhile, the accolades continued for his performance in "Broken Trail." Duvall earned an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie, the first-ever win in his long, venerable career. Later in the evening, Duvall took the Emmy stage a second time to accept the award for Outstanding Miniseries on behalf of the producers.

Showing no signs of slowing down - sometimes at the expense of participating in less than stellar projects - Duvall made an appearance as the emotionally distant, excessively macho dad of Vince Vaughn in the miserable holiday comedy "Four Christmases" (2008). He redeemed himself the following year with a small but devastating turn in the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's bleak post-apocalyptic journey, "The Road" (2009). In the story of a father and son (Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee) on a desperate struggle for survival, Duvall's cameo of a 90-year-old dying man who is looking for his own son, was one of the more heart-wrenching moments of an already emotionally brutal film. That same year, Duvall delivered another quietly eloquent performance as a concerned friend trying to steer Jeff Bridges' washed-up country singer toward the path to redemption in the critically lauded "Crazy Heart" (2009). The nearly 80-year-old actor followed with a leading role in the little seen, but highly regarded independent drama, "Get Low" (2010). Alongside Sissy Spacek and Bill Murray, Duvall's portrayal of a curmudgeonly hermit in 1930s Tennessee who decides to throw himself a "funeral party" while he is still alive earned the veteran actor a Screen Actors Guild Award nod. From there, he played Russian General Petrov in "Hemingway & Gellhorn" (HBO, 2012), starring Clive Owen as Ernest Hemingway and Nicole Kidman as his third wife, Martha Gellhorn, and followed that with a supporting turn as a former U.S. Marine who operates a shooting range in the action thriller, "Jack Reacher" (2012), which featured Tom Cruise as the titular former military M.P.-turned-vigilante. Duvall next starred in the drama "A Night in Old Mexico" (2013), followed by a turn opposite Robert Downey Jr. in the title role of the legal drama "The Judge" (2014).

Credits

JuneStream

Self
Movie
2023

HustleStream

Actor
Rex Merrick
Movie
2022
93%

The Pale Blue EyeStream

Actor
Jean Pepe
Movie
2022
63%

12 Mighty Orphans

Actor
Mason Hawk
Movie
2021

Fear Darb Ainm Harris

Self
Show
2020

Horton Foote: The Road to Home

Self
Movie
2020

Farrah Fawcett Forever

Self
Show
2019

WidowsStream

Actor
Tom Mulligan
Movie
2018
91%

In Dubious Battle

Actor
Bolton
Movie
2016

The Late Show With Stephen ColbertStream

Guest
Talk
2015

West Texas Investors ClubStream

Self
Docuseries
2015

Wild Horses

Actor
Scott Briggs
Movie
2015

Wild Horses

Director
Movie
2015

Wild Horses

Producer
Movie
2015

Wild Horses

Screenwriter
Movie
2015

Late Night With Seth MeyersStream

Guest
Talk
2014

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonStream

Guest
Talk
2014

The JudgeStream

Actor
Judge Joseph Palmer
Movie
2014
48%

Una noche en el viejo México

Actor
Red
Movie
2014

A Night in Old Mexico

Actor
Red
Movie
2013

A Night in Old Mexico

Producer
Movie
2013

Live! With Kelly and Michael

Guest
Talk
2012

Jack ReacherStream

Actor
Cash
Movie
2012
63%

Jayne Mansfield's CarStream

Actor
Jim Caldwell
Movie
2012
35%

Seven Days in Utopia

Actor
Johnny Crawford
Movie
2011

The Talk

Guest
Talk
2010

Merle Haggard: Learning to Live With Myself

Actor
Movie
2010

In the House With Peter Bart & Peter Guber

Guest
Show
2009

ES.TV

Guest
Show
2009

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

Guest
Talk
2009

The RoadStream

Actor
Old Man
Movie
2009
74%

Crazy HeartStream

Actor
Wayne
Movie
2009
90%

Crazy HeartStream

Producer
Movie
2009
90%

Get LowStream

Actor
Felix Bush
Movie
2009
85%

Get LowStream

Executive Producer
Movie
2009
85%

Four ChristmasesStream

Actor
Howard
Movie
2008
25%

The Graham Norton ShowStream

Guest
Talk
2007

The Better Show

Guest
Show
2007

Lucky YouStream

Actor
L.C. Cheever
Movie
2007
28%

We Own the NightStream

Actor
Bert Grusinsky
Movie
2007
57%

Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience

Voice
Movie
2007

Broken Trail

Actor
Show
2006

Broken Trail

Executive Producer
Show
2006

Broken Trail

Actor
Miniseries
2006

Broken Trail

Executive Producer
Miniseries
2006

Made in Hollywood

Guest
Series
2005

Thank You for SmokingStream

Actor
Captain
Movie
2005
86%

Kicking and ScreamingStream

Actor
Buck Weston
Movie
2005
41%

Tavis Smiley

Guest
Talk
2004

The Portrait of Billy Joe

Producer
Movie
2004

Jimmy Kimmel Live!Stream

Guest
Talk
2003

Gods and Generals

Actor
General Robert E. Lee
Movie
2003

Secondhand LionsStream

Actor
Hub McCann
Movie
2003
60%

Open RangeStream

Actor
Boss Spearman
Movie
2003
79%

The Godfather Trilogy

Actor
Show
2002

John QStream

Actor
Grimes
Movie
2002
25%

Assassination Tango

Actor
John J.
Movie
2002

Assassination Tango

Director
Movie
2002

Assassination Tango

Producer
Movie
2002

Assassination Tango

Writer
Movie
2002

Live With Regis and Kelly

Guest
Show
2001

Gone in 60 SecondsStream

Actor
Otto Halliwell
Movie
2000
25%

The 6th Day

Actor
Dr. Graham Weir
Movie
2000

A Shot at Glory

Actor
Gordon McLeod
Movie
2000

A Shot at Glory

Producer
Movie
2000

The Daily Show With Jon StewartStream

Guest
Talk
1999

Kickin' It: With Byron Allen

Guest
Show
1998

The ApostleStream

Actor
Euliss 'Sonny' Dewey-The Apostle E.F.
Movie
1998
88%

The ApostleStream

Director
Movie
1998
88%

The ApostleStream

Executive Producer
Movie
1998
88%

The ApostleStream

Writer
Movie
1998
88%

The Gingerbread Man

Actor
Dixon Doss
Movie
1998

Deep ImpactStream

Actor
Captain Spurgeon "Fish" Tanner
Movie
1998
45%

A Civil ActionStream

Actor
Jerome Facher
Movie
1998
63%

PhenomenonStream

Actor
Doc Brunder
Movie
1996
49%

The Man Who Captured Eichmann

Actor
Adolf Eichmann
Movie
1996

Sling Blade

Actor
Frank Childers
Movie
1996
97%

A Family Thing

Actor
Earl Pilcher Jr.
Movie
1996

A Family Thing

Producer
Movie
1996

The Stars Fell on Henrietta

Actor
Mr. Cox
Movie
1995

Something to Talk AboutStream

Actor
Wyly King
Movie
1995
39%

The Scarlet Letter

Actor
Roger Chillingworth
Movie
1995

The Paper

Actor
Bernie White, Editor New York Sun
Movie
1994

Late Show With David Letterman

Guest
Talk
1993

Falling Down

Actor
Prendergast
Movie
1993

Geronimo: An American Legend

Actor
Al Sieber
Movie
1993

Wrestling Ernest Hemingway

Actor
Walter
Movie
1993

Newsies

Actor
Joseph Pulitzer
Movie
1992

The Plague

Actor
Joseph Grand
Movie
1992

Stalin

Actor
Josef Stalin
Movie
1992

Charlie RoseStream

Guest
Talk
1991

Rambling RoseStream

Actor
Daddy
Movie
1991
100%

Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse

Actor
Movie
1991

Convicts

Actor
Soll Gautier
Movie
1991

The Handmaid's Tale

Actor
Commander
Movie
1990

A Show of Force

Actor
Howard
Movie
1990

Days of ThunderStream

Actor
Harry Hogge
Movie
1990
37%

Lonesome DoveStream

Actor
Augustus "Gus" McCrae
Miniseries
1989
98%

ColorsStream

Actor
Officer Bob Hodges
Movie
1988
77%

Hotel Colonial

Actor
Roberto Carrasco
Movie
1987

Let's Get HarryStream

Actor
Norman Shrike
Movie
1986

Belizaire the Cajun

Actor
The Preacher
Movie
1986

The Lightship

Actor
Calvin Caspary
Movie
1985

Le Bateau-phare

Actor
Movie
1985

The NaturalStream

Actor
Max Mercy
Movie
1984
83%

The Stone Boy

Actor
Joe Hillerman
Movie
1984

Angelo, My Love

Director
Movie
1983

The Terry Fox Story

Actor
Bill Vigars
Movie
1983

Tender MerciesStream

Actor
Mac Sledge
Movie
1983
82%

Tender MerciesStream

Producer
Movie
1983
82%

True Confessions

Actor
Tom Spellacy
Movie
1981

The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper

Actor
Gruen
Movie
1981

Ike: The War Years

Actor
General Dwight D. Eisenhower
Show
1980

Apocalypse Now Redux

Actor
Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore
Movie
1979

Apocalypse NowStream

Actor
Lt. Col. Kilgore
Movie
1979
98%

The Great SantiniStream

Actor
Lt. Col. `'Bull'` Meechum
Movie
1979
95%

The Betsy

Actor
Loren Hardeman III
Movie
1978

Ike: The War Years

Actor
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower
Movie
1978

The Godfather Saga

Actor
Tom Hagen
Show
1977

We're Not the Jet Set

Director
Movie
1977

The Greatest

Actor
Bill McDonald
Movie
1977

Sherlock Holmes attaque l'Orient-Express

Actor
Movie
1976

NetworkStream

Actor
Frank Hackett
Movie
1976
92%

The Eagle Has LandedStream

Actor
Colonel Radl
Movie
1976
67%

The Seven-Per-Cent Solution

Actor
Dr. John H. Watson/Narrator
Movie
1976

Good Morning America

Host
News
1975

Saturday Night LiveStream

Guest
Series
1975

Breakout

Actor
Jay Wagner
Movie
1975

The Killer EliteStream

Actor
George Hansen
Movie
1975
60%

El Deseo

Actor
Movie
1974

The ConversationStream

Actor
The Director
Movie
1974
97%

The Godfather Part IIStream

Actor
Tom Hagen
Movie
1974
96%

The Outfit

Actor
Earl Macklin
Movie
1974

Policía sin Licencia

Actor
Movie
1973

Lady Ice

Actor
Ford Pierce
Movie
1973

Badge 373

Actor
Eddie Ryan
Movie
1973

Madame Bijoux

Actor
Movie
1973

Canada AM

Guest
Show
1972

Joe KiddStream

Actor
Frank Harlan
Movie
1972
80%

The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid

Actor
Jesse James
Movie
1972

Tomorrow

Actor
Jackson Fentry
Movie
1972

The GodfatherStream

Actor
Tom Hagen
Movie
1972
97%

LawmanStream

Actor
Vernon Adams
Movie
1971
70%

THX 1138Stream

Actor
THX 1138
Movie
1971
86%

M*A*S*HStream

Actor
Major Frank Burns
Movie
1970
84%

The Revolutionary

Actor
Despard
Movie
1970

The Rain People

Actor
Gordon
Movie
1969

True GritStream

Actor
Ned Pepper
Movie
1969
88%

Mod Squad

Guest Star
Matt Jenkins
Series
1968

Countdown

Actor
Chiz
Movie
1968

The Detective

Actor
Nestor
Movie
1968

BullittStream

Actor
Weissberg (Sunshine Cab driver)
Movie
1968
98%

Cimarron Strip

Guest Star
Show
1967

The Felony Squad

Guest Star
Albie Froehlich
Show
1966

Shane

Guest Star
Tom Gary
Show
1966

The Chase

Actor
Edwin Stewart
Movie
1966

Fame Is the Name of the Game

Actor
Eddie Franchot
Movie
1966

Portrait of an Unknown Man

Actor
Harvey Farnsworth
Movie
1966

Aliens From Another Planet

Actor
Nimon
Movie
1966

The F.B.I.

Guest Star
Series
1965

The Wild, Wild WestStream

Guest Star
Series
1965

The FugitiveStream

Guest Star
Leslie Sessions
Series
1963

The Outer LimitsStream

Actor
Series
1963
92%

The Outer LimitsStream

Guest Star
Louis Mace
Series
1963
92%

The Lieutenant

Guest Star
Series
1963

Captain Newman, M.D.

Actor
Capt. Paul Cabot Winston
Movie
1963

Combat!

Guest Star
Series
1962

The VirginianStream

Guest Star
Johnny Keel
Series
1962

To Kill a MockingbirdStream

Actor
Arthur 'Boo' Radley
Movie
1962
93%

Cain's Hundred

Guest Star
Show
1961

Route 66Stream

Guest Star
Series
1960

The Untouchables

Guest Star
Series
1959

The Twilight ZoneStream

Actor
Charley Parkes
Series
1959
92%

Alfred Hitchcock PresentsStream

Actor
Bart Collins
Series
1955

TodayStream

Guest
News
1952