On this day in 1952, the actor Jeff Goldblum, who will become known for his roles in such movies as The Big Chill, The Fly and Jurassic Park, is born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Goldblum began performing in stage productions in New York City in the 1970s. His big-screen debut came with a tiny part in 1974’s Death Wish, which starred Charles Bronson as an architect turned vigilante. Goldblum then went on to roles in director Robert Altman’s California Split (1974) and Nashville (1975), which was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. In 1977, he had a small role in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall, which won four Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress (Diane Keaton). The following year, he appeared in the hit sci-fi movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Goldblum’s movie career heated up in the 1980s. In 1983, he played a tabloid magazine reporter in director Lawrence Kasdan’s The Big Chill, about a group of college friends from the 1960s who reunite in the 1980s following the death of a friend. The Big Chill, which featured an ensemble cast also including Glenn Close, Kevin Kline, Tom Berenger, William Hurt, Mary Kay Place, JoBeth Williams and Meg Tilly, was nominated for three Oscars, including Best Picture. In 1985, Goldblum co-starred with Michelle Pfeiffer in director John Landis’s Into the Night and teamed with Kevin Costner, Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn and Danny Glover in the Western Silverado. The following year, Goldblum starred in David Cronenberg’s The Fly as Seth Brundle, a scientist who turns into a giant bug-like creature after an experiment goes wrong. The Fly, which featured the now-famous line, “Be afraid…Be very afraid,” was a critical and commercial success, and Goldblum received strong reviews for his performance. The film, which won an Oscar for Best Makeup, co-starred Geena Davis, to whom Goldblum was married from 1987 to 1990. Goldblum and Davis also co-starred in the 1988 comedy Earth Girls Are Easy.
In 1993, Goldblum played a mathematician in Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi blockbuster Jurassic Park, about a fictional island filled with cloned dinosaurs created by scientists. Based on a Michael Crichton novel, Jurassic Park became one of the highest-grossing movies in history. The film, which co-starred Sam Neill and Laura Dern (to whom Goldblum was engaged for a time), won Oscars for Best Sound, Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Effects Editing. In 1996, Goldblum appeared with Will Smith, Bill Pullman and Mary McDonnell in another sci-fi blockbuster, Independence Day, about an alien attack on Earth. The following year, Goldblum reprised his role as Dr. Ian Malcolm in Spielberg’s Jurassic Park sequel The Lost World, also featuring Julianne Moore and Vince Vaughan.
Goldblum went on to appear in such movies as 2002’s Igby Goes Down, with Kieran Culkin and Claire Danes; director Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), co-starring Bill Murray and Owen Wilson; and director Barry Levinson’s Man of the Year (2006).