Lance Henriksen Biography
Lance James Henriksen is an American actor, painter, and potter
Henriksen was born in Manhattan, New York City to a poor family. His father was a Norwegian merchant sailor and boxer nicknamed "Icewater" who spent most of his life at sea. Henriksen’s mother struggled to find work as a dance instructor, waitress, and model. His parents divorced when he was only two years old and he was raised by his mother. As he grew up, Henriksen found himself in trouble at various schools and even saw the inside of a children's home. Henriksen left home and dropped out of school at the age of twelve; he would not learn to read until he was 30, when he taught himself by studying film scripts. He spent most of his adolescence as a street urchin in New York. Riding on freight trains across the country, he would also do time in jail for petty crimes such as vagrancy. It was during this period of wayfaring that he met lifetime friends James Cameron and Bruce Kenselaar.
Henriksen's first job in the theater world was as a designer of theatrical sets; in fact, he received his first role because built the set for the production. In his early 30s, Henriksen graduated from the prestigious Actors Studio and began acting in New York City's Off-Broadway theater circuit. In film, he first appeared in It Ain't Easy in 1972. Henriksen went on to portray a variety of supporting roles in noteworthy genre films such as Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and Damien: Omen II (1978). He also portrayed astronaut Walter Schirra in The Right Stuff (1983) and actor Charles Bronson in the 1991 TV-movie Reason for Living: The Jill Ireland Story.
When James Cameron was writing the movie The Terminator (1984), he had originally envisioned Henriksen playing the title role. Cameron went so far as to paint a picture of the Terminator using Henriksen's face, and he had the actor dress up as the character and attend an Orion Pictures production meeting in character. Regardless, the famous role ultimately went to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Henriksen did appear in the film, albeit in the minor role of Detective Hal Vukovich. Henriksen is perhaps best known for portraying the android Bishop, an artificial life-form, in Aliens (1986) and Alien³ (1992). He would go on to play Charles Bishop Weyland, the man Bishop's appearance was based on, in Alien vs. Predator (2004).
Henriksen and Bill Paxton are the only actors to appear in the Alien, Predator and Terminator series. While Paxton was killed by all three titular creatures in his appearances, Henriksen was killed by the Terminator and a Predator (in AvP), and would have had the distinction of also being killed by an Alien after his character in Aliens was torn in half by the Queen. However, the android was not killed, and after making an appearance in the third Alien movie, asks Ellen Ripley to deactivate him.
In 1996, Henriksen starred in the television series Millennium, created and produced by Chris Carter, the creator of The X-Files. Henriksen played Frank Black, a former FBI agent who possessed a unique ability to see into the minds of killers. Carter created the role specifically for the actor. Henriksen's performances on Millennium earned him critical acclaim, a People's Choice Award nomination for Favorite New Male TV Star, and three consecutive Golden Globe nominations for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Series (1997-1999). The series was cancelled in 1999. Henriksen's daughter, Alcamy, appears uncredited in an episode of Millennium. He later moved to the state of Hawaii with his wife Jane Pollack and their daughter Sage Ariel.
No less than three prominent franchise roles have been written specifically for Henriksen, though he would only star in one of them. James Cameron wrote The Terminator (1984) hoping Henriksen would play the titular character. Chris Carter created Millennium (1996) specifically for Henriksen, then convinced him to become hero Frank Black. Lastly, Victor Salva wrote Jeepers Creepers (2001) with Henriksen in mind for the role of the Creeper.
On television, Henriksen most recently appeared in the ensemble of Into the West (2005), a miniseries executive-produced by Steven Spielberg. He has also recently appeared in a Brazilian soap opera, Caminhos do Coração ("Ways of the Heart") from Rede Record. It was announced in January 2009 that Henriksen would be guest-starring on an episode of NCIS playing a local sheriff.
In recent years Henriksen has also been active as a voice actor, lending his distinctive voice to a number of animated features and video game titles. In Disney's Tarzan (1999) and its direct-to-video midquel Henriksen is Kerchak, the ape who serves as Tarzan's surrogate father. He provided the voice for the alien supervillain Brainiac in Superman: Brainiac Attacks (2006). Henriksen is the voice of the character Molov in the video game Red Faction II (2002), which was developed by Volition, Inc. and published by THQ, and has also contributed to GUN (2005), Run Like Hell (2002), the canceled title Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (2004), and BioWare's role-playing game Mass Effect (2007) as Admiral Hackett of the Human Systems Alliance. Henriksen was also the voice behind PlayStation 3's internet promotional videos. In 2005, Henriksen was the voice of Andrei Rublev in Cartoon Network's IGPX. Currently, the actor is lending his voice to the animated television series Transformers: Animated as the character Lockdown.